many moons ago, my mum cut out a cartoon from the paper that showed a woman holding an iron under the tree on christmas day and the caption said, "i know its the thought that counts. what the hell were you thinking?" this memory popped up today, because there are times when i wonder if it really is the thought that counts.
many, many, many times in my meanderings as a wheelchair pusher, i have come up against people who, in trying to be nice to my clients are actually being totally ignorant. the latest example was this:
anne and i were on the bus. anne loves to ride the bus. she always gets a little worked up when we first get on, but settles down after a few minutes and some stern words from myself. anyway, so she was going through her usual routine of giggling and rocking and carrying on, and i got her settled down and this woman says, "she should have brought a stuffed animal with her." all friendly-like. in this obnoxious "i have the perfect solution to your problem, good thing i was here" type of tone. (sidebar. there IS no problem, thats why this kind of behaviour is so irritating. anne getting SLIGHTLY wound up on the bus is no big deal. its not a problem for her, its not a problem for me, and if it bothers other people, then thats THEIR problem.) so i said, "i dont think that would do anything" (her having a stuffed animal. anne doesnt really like toys, if youre interested. she likes photographs and packing and unpacking bags. thats her idea of a toy. a bag full of photos). and instead of dropping it, this woman says, "really? you dont think so?" and i said, real calm-like, "she isnt a child."
if that isnt the same as saying just shut the fuck up, i dont know what is, but this woman still had to have the last word, "well im not a child, and i still like them"
by this point, i was fuming, and as ever, feeling conflicted. which brings me to my point. although i realise that people are usually just trying to be nice when they talk to us like this, they are really just showing how ignorant they are. it infuriates me beyond belief when people condescend to my clients and even more so when people pity them. but its so hard to set people straight when theyre just trying to be nice.
the only conclusion i have been able to come to on this is that i maintain that ill take people with special needs over the general population any day of the week.