Sunday, October 28, 2018

the issue

A few days ago I had to go down to Service Ontario to renew my driver's licence and my health card. When I got there the line up was out the door. I had made time for this and though I was tempted to just come back later, later usually turns into "Oh my gosh, my licence has expired." So I got in line.

Shortly after I took my place a woman comes flying out of the door and headed straight for me. "I've told them that you are here and they are going to come and get you so you don't have to wait."

What?

I told her that I was in the line up and I wasn't going to jump the line. "They don't mind," she said, indicating the staff inside. I said, "Well, they all do!" indicating people in the line up. And, of course, everyone turns and says that they don't mind if I go ahead. Shit. Why does disability turn people into liars? Of course they would mind, people who jump lines are loathed in the moment, it's a natural phenomenon. The first moment cave dwellers put up ropes so the people could line up to see the 'wall art' the distaste for line jumpers was born.

I said again that I would wait my turn. She said, not hearing me, "They will come and get you soon."

Now, I have everyone's attention. I'm a problem. I'm not the cripple they want me to be. I stay in my chair wondering why the hell she thought she needed to intervene.

Then, they do come for me and tell me that I could come next. There are still lots of folks in front of me. I explain that I will stay where I am, wait my turn, I don't want any special treatment, I don't need any extra care. "Your choice," the clerk said, and I said, "Yes, it is."

I'm surrounded by tension.

Again, against my will, I'm the issue.

I want to stop being the issue and just be an individual.

Is that really so much to ask?

2 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

I DO need the extra attention - with CFS, just being out of the house starts the timer where I will completely run out of energy.

If they see us as individuals, I'll get what I need - and so will you. If not, the treatment of disabled individuals in that place will be affected by what one does.

You have to take a lot of garbage for being disabled; it's nice to get the opposite, but only if you need it.

Here I can make an appointment that takes into account any special needs I have, and I will make full use of it - because energy used doesn't come back, and I may need to brush my teeth that night, too.

The problem is also that other, competing needs may play a part: if a healthy person in line needs to use the restroom, it's usually convenient and fast and easy, whereas you've documented how not true that can be for us.

Still, if I can, I wait. I did that just today.

whimspot said...

I understand what you are saying but did you ever think that many people in line might have friends or relatives with disabilities, and understand that even though they hate waiting in line, they understand how much longer it took you to get to that line today ? While I am typing this I am also realizing that you don't want to be singled out, because you are no different than anyone else. It's an absolute pain in the ass to go to the motor vehicle no matter who you may be. You are sick of being the person who is the example of " it is better to give than to recieve".....the person that helps them feel they did a good deed that day....