Thursday, 3 May 2007

A new low

Picture this:

I'm sat in my powerchair at a t junction waiting to cross one of the roads. There are streams of traffic on both roads and so I'm waiting a fair few minutes. I'm also beginning to wonder if anyone is ever going to hang fire long enough that I can sneak across and continue on home.

So I'm sat there listening to my iPod waiting to cross the road. And this little old lady comes up to me.

"Are you ok love? Can you manage to cross the road or shall I help you?"

Well, that certainly never happened before. And lets hope it doesn't again. People can tell me that "there's a first time for everything." all they want, but well, be that as it may, that's an "everything" I could do without.

If the old joke about helping an old lady cross the road has been replaced by one about the old lady helping the woman in the wheelchair across the road I'm making a formal complaint. To the world.

And as if that wasn't bad enough to have me sitting there going "my life has hit a new low point" another little old lady on a bike stopped to let me passed a bit further on. And she stopped in some stinging nettles *ouch* (personally I thought from previous experience there was space for us both which is why I didn't stop) so obviously I smiled and thanked her.

She told me "that's ok love." and reached out and stroked my arm.

Yup my life definitely has hit a new low point!


Jacqui said...

I'm developing a distinct dislike for the able bodied which is starting to do my head in (given what my label is).

Jacqui's Mum in Aus said...

I am sorry, but I could so very easily have been one of these ladies, not too old yet but rapidly getting there. If I see somone who I think may need help, then I will approach them and ask. It is not meant to be anything other than that and definitely not a put down. It would be far wourse if you had actually been in trouble and no one bothered at all.....

Jacq said...

I too would much rather offer unneeded help than ignore someone who does need it. I would never stroke someones arm though! I'm not out for pity or whatever. I have seen people in wheelchairs and not able to get where they were going without a push - where I work is a good example because of a bad ramp.

Perhaps where I live is different. Most people here are generally helpful no matter what your ability. I noticed in big cities it doesn't seem to be that way. I guess in some areas being treated as an average person would be to be treated badly.

Kathryn said...

Emma, It is always hard when you are frustrated and life is not helping. But, do I detect a little "ageism" on your part? Ok - the arm stroking is just wrong. I read a great post about the infantilzation of the disabled especially if you are in a wheelchair on May 1. And I think that falls in that category. I also hate being called "honey" myself - which I got a lot before I hit my mid thirties and did not sleep for the last four years, because people always thought i was so much younger. So I am not sure if the "luv" lable falls into that category too. But I also think that better to get asked for help than have no one help. And you were sitting there for awhile.

Too bad that plain old help and pity have to come in the same package. I totally get you being not happy with the Pity part. I hate that as well.

So I am torn - were they genuine or were they ignorant able bodied?

Either way, it sucks that no one stopped in the cars to let you go.


Funky Mango said...

A friend of mine, a wheelchair user, was sitting at the side of the road (I think she was waiting to meet someone, can't remember) when a total stranger said "Don't worry love, I'll help you", walked into the middle off the road and stopped the traffic for her to cross!

Personally, I'm not that bothered by "Let me know if you need any help", though we're all different of course. It's the ones who having been told "Thank you but I'm OK" go on and help anyway that irritate me!

Actually, I didn't object too much to the arm-stroking bit when I met Brian May (yes, the guitarist from Queen) and he patted me on the shoulder ;-)


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