Friday, September 11, 2020

Suddenly Karen

 It was like I was suddenly Karen.

We had gone to a patio to have an iced tea. We'd spotted a table and I rushed towards it, Joe didn't follow because I didn't need him to. He went to get the tea. A table was set up in the corner and I pulled out one of the chairs and pulled my knees under the table. Seconds later the door that was beside me slammed open smashing my wheelchair and startling the hell out of me. I said, "You smashed my chair." In these situations, I worry first about my chair and then about everything else.

She started saying that the doorway couldn't be blocked. Now several things. In the days of COVID there are lots and lots of closed and locked doors. The table was set up by the staff and before I moved the chair it was directly in front of the door. Finally, I'm highly visible and it was a completely glass door. She apologized profusely, way too much, saying she didn't mean to bother me. She didn't help me to move the table, move the chairs and create space in front of the door that she had slid out of.

I kept saying, because she kept talking, "I'm not bothered, I was started and, you smashed my chair."

Then the man at the next table turned and said with huge hostility, "Well, you were sitting in front of a door, what the fuck did you expect?"

Who is this man, why is he in the conversation, and what's up with the hostility?

I said, knowing he had seen me arrive, "The table was set up in front of the door, I just moved a chair to get in."

He told me that I was being fucking rude.

I hadn't sworn, I hadn't gotten angry, and I hadn't yelled at her except the first time when my chair was struck, with force, by the door. Now other people were weighing in. I'd sat in front of the door. If my wheelchair had been broken it would have been my fault. I felt all this weight of their anger and I couldn't understand why this had gotten out of control

All during this, she kept apologizing to me. I wanted her to just stop, it was overkill. I told her it was okay, but she wouldn't stop.

I don't think I was a person then, I was simply someone, not quite human, where they could dump their frustrations. I think difference is a magnet for socially inappropriate behaviour. I think that's why things could get dangerous for us out there.

Then, Joe arrives with iced tea. He looks around at all the players and his presence seems to silence them. Joe looked at me and said, "I'm guessing you are glad to be blogging again soon huh?

1 comment:

clairesmum said...

I felt such a wave of happiness reading this piece.
To 'hear' your voice again, to imagine the scene when Joe arrived with the tea, chuckling silently as his comment...the way that partners who have loved together a long time speak in sentences that may be obscure to others...

and then I realized with a shock that part of my happiness was that there was a place in the world where folks did ordinary things, such as going out in public spaces and sitting at a table having iced tea.
I remember doing such things. In the before time.

Glad you are back, Dave (and Joe).