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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rude People Never Get It

It has been raining off and on for days. I have been too lazy to go out as I don't feel like getting drenched. Today I had no choice. I was out of beer and school town taxes are due. I waited until the end of the day hoping the skies would clear. No such luck. Off I go to the post office, bank, and supermarket in the rain. Woe is me.

Amazingly there is a handicapped parking spot open at the strip mall. I snag the spot and quickly realize waiting for the rain to let up is a waste of time. As I am getting out of the car putting my wheelchair together I see a guy in a big SUV staring at me through the driver window. By staring I mean a bold face stare. I am clearly fascinating. I am rushing in large part because I do not want to get drenched. Off I go to the post office and supermarket. Taxes are on their way and I have beer to go with my dinner. What more could a man want? As I am getting back into the car the same man in the SUV is staring at me. Again, a bold face stare. Now I am annoyed. I stare back, glare actually. He does not get it. And yes it is still raining hard. The man rolls down his window and the following exchange takes place:

Me: The show is over, stop staring.

Man: Wow, it is amazing how you get that wheelchair in and out of the car.

Me: Stop staring, you are being rude.

Man: I am a nice guy. You are amazing.

Me: You are not being nice, you are being rude.

Man: Why are you mad? You are amazing. I am nice.

Me: No, you are being rude. I do not want to be stared at. I do not like it. Stop staring.

Man: It is cool the way you put the wheelchair together. I like to watch.

Me. The show is over. Stop staring you are being a jerk.

Man: Why are you people always so bitter? I am just being nice.

Me: You are not nice. You are point blank rude. Stop staring.

Exasperated, the man shakes his head like he is dealing with a difficult child. As the window goes up he says: "Some people you just can't be nice to" and suddenly yells "you ass hole".

Ah just another day in paradise. I am so glad that 20 years ago the ADA mandated that I have equal rights. I am not sure this memo is understand by more than a tiny fraction of Americans. The above exchange was hardly unusual--it happens to me on a regular basis. Call me crazy--or a bitter asshole--but I find getting my wheelchair in and out of the car as exciting as watching a bipedal person get in and out of his car. This is not "amazing" stuff and I was very clear I did not want to be stared at. To me, that is not much to ask. What is amazing to me is how rude and oblivious people can be. Is this man vaguely aware of how rude he was? Not a chance. The problem in his estimation is "you bitter people"--yes I was reduced to "you bitter people" and labeled an ass hole. Is it any wonder there are days I do not want to leave my home? Social assaults are commonplace, accepted and on rainy days like this do think they will ever stop.


Eric Fischer said...

He was nice, he left calling you an asshole until the end.
I would have thought you would respond, "this time it's free, next time you pay to watch."

I suppose what really bothers is the nature of the stare, since there are those that would look out of curiosity since it is a kind of engineering marvel for a biped. It's amazing how limited the experience of some is.
Nothing like sitting all soggy in the driver's seat. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,
I would have kept a towel in the car to prevent the seat from getting all soggy. I often have people staring at me, & while it's for different reasons, once I threaten to charge them for staring, they look away. You might try that. Obviously, some ridiculous Neanderthals don't respond to reason, no doubt due to the pathetic brain development of Neanderthals. You are a brilliant & amazing man- perhaps these Neanderthals have never seen one before.

Chandrika Shubham said...

I like Eric answer.
I would have thought you would respond, "this time it's free, next time you pay to watch."

Sometimes starring hurts when we doesn't want to be starred.

Best wishes for your book and blog. :)

Phil Dzialo said...

Everybody stares at "our side show"! Why is it that that no one ever says :is there anything that I can do to help you get out of the pouring rain?

I have a large van with a hydraulic lift for my kid and a huge sign on the door which says do not park within 8 feet (because I can't get the effin' lift ground level. Many people leave a foot at it acceptable to "key" peoples' cars oif they don't see you?

william Peace said...

Eric, Yes, he could have started by calling me an ass hole. What is really going on without this person's knowledge is a power play--he is the superior all powerful biped. Me, a lowly cripple.
Cait, There are a lot of Neanderthals out there. Most impervious to learning.
Cjandrika, My mind does not work fast enough to think up a great come back line.
Phil, I had a big chevy van in college with a wheelchair lift. I got rid of it because every time I got in and out of the van I stopped traffic.I got stares by the bushel. Another primary reason I gave up the van was getting blocked in all the time. In handicap parking people always park or leave carts in the hash marks.

Ironsides said...

This post really hit-the-spot, man! I'm living in a long-term care unit of a hospital, for COPD patients.

I was born with Arthrogryposis, and until I got hit with COPD, I didn't really need the medical-system, except a few emergencies from GI-hemorrhaeges.

Since 2000, I've had to live in long-term to get help with basic survival needs, because home-care workers were unreliable.

Most people would expect that hospital care-givers doing the job of home-care workers, to have a certain level of understanding.

Some of them are so afraid that I might contaminate them, that they put a mask on before they even know what I need.

I told the head-nurse that I can understand if they are changing diapers of somebody, helping people wash up, etc.--But a few of them wear a mask and gloves to pick something up or throw it out, etc., and I'm the only healthy person living here. I'm not in isolation, and it's all about social-status.

One night I asked one of the care-givers why they started this trip. When we got to the point that I'm the only person here who is healthy, and not isolated, not on medication, the FACTS came out of her own mouth:

I asked her if my disability is a disease.--And she said, "yes". This was during a period when nobody but me was in this room, because the other patients have all died.

When more patients moved in, this same worker has different times fed a patient across from me, changed his diaper and everything else, and didn't wear a mask.

One time he even spit food all over her, and she didn't mind. She wasn't afraid of contamination, because he is a staffer's family member.

I informed the Patient-Committee representative, that I want it on next month's agenda.

Your title on your post is spot-on!

Take care!

william Peace said...

Ironsides: I am delighted my post hit home. Your reply should be required reading for every politician who fails to grasp the difference between care in an institution and home care. When the care worker stated they equated disability with disease it made me very sad but not surprised. You highlighted that the medical model of disability is still dominates all discourse about disability. You have my utmost support and respect. Living in a long term facility is hard on your spirit. Have you ever read the work of Erving Goffman? He wrote about what he called total institutions. It would shed light on what you are experiencing. I would be happy to send you a copy of his book.

Ironsides said...

I appreciate your offer, William, but I just live my life regardless of what people here think.

Until the past year-and-a-half, I was on a roll with what I work on. After the last KILL-BILL by a Quebec MP was flushed down the toilet, I have had a rough time with breathing.

My wife died here from Cystid-Fibrosis in 2006. Three months later, I had a lung-function decline after my first injection of a gnupagen drug to generate white-cells.

I had a relapse of Hepatitis C, and on my second week, my doctor noticed my white-cells were dangerously low.

If the new kitchen-manager had not cut the food-supply in 1/2, I would not have landed in that position, but she wanted cash-flow.

So, my Hep C doctor prescribed 2 injections per week of a drug called Filgrastim. Between the lack of food, and Filgrastim, I fell back into bed and had to grab oxygen nasal-prongs.

For the next three years I was a slave to oxygen 24/7. The past 2 years, I've been recovering to where I can be off oxygen most of the day now.

I had to cut my treatment after 2 months that year, and after 4 months of complaints to the Head-Nurses about the kitchen-manager, they finally got a revelation. LOL! There was something wrong with the kitchen.

After terminating my Hep C treatment, it was back in remission. When 2 more months rolled by, and I literally had to fight to breathe day-and-night, one day I rolled out of bed to dig-up dirt on the drug manufacturer.

It turned out that Filgrastim was attached to a death-toll of several types. When I told my doctor, he nearly fell out of his chair.

He is not the guy to blame, because doctors are over-loaded with treating patients, that they have no recourse to check research findings.

The manufacturers are to blame for their lying marketeer practices, of deleting negative information from market reports which affect sales.

Anyway, until I started to recover, until 2008 I ended up in bed most of the time. A new kitchen-manager fixed the food problem, and I was able to regain weight.

As I was getting better, I would get up and fight with the Death Without Dignity Cult. I really like Alex Schadenberg, and did what I could to help CRUSH every KILL-BILL Francine Lalonde put on the table.

Somewhere on one of my blogs, there is a copy of my letter to every MP in every Riding of of the 10 provinces and 3 Territories.

I really appreciate the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.--Because the last Bill went down the biggest defeat the Duty-to-Die movement has suffered in Canada.

Since then, I have been having a hard time to get reorganized. Sometimes I need to sleep more, and when I have enough energy to do anything, I pound away on Facebook in political activist groups.

Concerning the medical-model of disability, the Patient-Committee with the MUHC (McGill University Health Center)is trying to work on those issues in long-term.

Thankyou for the feedback, William.--And take care of yourself!

Unknown said...

People's own estimation of their niceness is usually completely misguided.

I have some really aggressive, mean men contact me for dates and they always make sure to tell me what nice guys they are. They are deluded.

william Peace said...

Ruth, Good point r.e. our perception of how nice we are. I for one prefer to be nice and not talk about it. Yikes, mean men asking you for a date. A sure fire way not to get a date!

Ironsides said...

There is no shortage of people who tell others what to think, how to think, and when to think-it! LOL!

I worked in an organization for 20 years, and we lived communally. It was called the Children of God.

We specialized in theology, eschatology and politics. To expand into the whole world, we needed to develop and train new members to become leaders.

The biggest problem was typical politics, a psychology of self-promotion at the expense of dehumanizing others.

Inside, we held elections, and in Auckland in 1976, I won the unanimous election. Due to the shock of the entire leadership structure, the vote was rejected.

Leadership ordered another election, to elect their "obedient puppet".

It was in similar events in different countries, and especially when leaders noticed that I was reporting corrupt leadership behavioural practices to their overseers, that power-drunk people always tell you how nice they are. LOL!

From several abusive relationships I witnessed of co-workers, the girl was always wanting the best charmer.--And it didn't take long for that charm, to end in spousal-abuse.

Rich said...

On the reverse side of the coin, I wonder if there is any voluntary staring behavior (targeted at people ) that is associated with a psychological disorder?

A new tenant moved into the building where my best friend and I live. Every time we go to the community room to play cards this woman sits accross the room from us and just stares on and on. I figured she was acting like a 2 year old so I might as well treat her like one.

When she left the room I turned the chair around she was sitting on to face away from us. When she came back from where-ever she threw a temper tantrum and reported me and my friend to the security guard.

Such a crazy world where the lunatic can be allowed to make things difficult for a sane person. I'd appreciate your feedback.

william Peace said...

Rich, Very interesting comment. I do not know if there is a psychological disorder associated with staring. Your question made me think of the great normative pressure people feel to act "normal". While the stigma I encounter is significant at times it makes me wonder about people with invisible psychological disorders and the strain they feel to pass for normal.