Friday, May 1, 2009

Lucky

Today is blogging against disablism day 2009 which I find ironic considering what happened to me today. On Fridays I attend the local TAFE. It is a very small place so I know most of the teachers and students fairly well. At break time the art teacher came up to me and said (as she has many times before)“ You’re so lucky to have that chair, I wish I had one” I asked why she thought I was so lucky and she said “You don’t have to deal with crowds, you don’t have to walk around and you get to sit down all day”.

I wasn’t sure what to say and sort of sat there with my mouth hanging open for a second. I then said. “ it sounds like you must be having a bad day but think about some of the stuff I have to deal with because of the chair. I need help doing simple things like opening doors and I have to deal with people staring and treating me like I cannot talk or do anything because I am in a chair. Take a ride in my wheels for a week then tell me I’m lucky. And by the way you have a sore rear end when you sit on it all day without really moving”. She very quickly left the room and I’ll bet she thinks twice before deciding people are lucky to have wheelchairs from now on. I feel a bit bad now and that I sort of overreacted but it isn’t the first time she has said something and I just had enough.

8 comments:

seahorse said...

Spreading the word about this kind of comment is what today's all about. And you were totally right to challenge her remark. Though Goldfish has some very deep observations on communicating having a disability which are worth reading.

The Morningstar said...

I don't think you over reacted at all, to be honest I thought you let her off lightly.

I tend to be quite vitriolic under similar circumstances.

narrator said...

I constantly received similar comments 10 years ago as an undergrad. I had a laptop in class before anyone else did, running my reading and writing software. People constantly told me how "lucky" I was. Funny, I didn't feel lucky.

http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2009/04/suicidal-ideation.html

Ira Socol

Léa said...

You didn't over reacted! That's about the stupidest thing to say to a person in a wheelchair... And at least you saved all the other wheelies she'll ever meet from that stupid remark.

ImagineMDD said...

Just when you think you've heard everything... These people, I guess are uneducated and can not be thinking when they say such things. Congratulations for responding and doing it so articulately. It becomes our job to educate people, too.

You fight for accommodations at work and some are envious & see them as special privileges. They're leaving out a big part of the situation.

Never That Easy said...

A thoughtless remark that I've encountered myself. Unfortunately I wasn't nearly as good at answering back as you were in this situation: good for you!

The Farm House Kids said...

What a beautiful way to tell her and make her think.: good for you, and it was good 'food for thought'.

~Drag - Vox~ said...

Oh boy, I don't know really what to say. Don't think you two got on the same side of the road.
I am so sorry to hear about that.
Is not good at all... (sigh)