I was having a particularly bad episode of whatever this stupid thing is that I live with. I don’t know if it’s depression or anxiety or both or something else entirely anymore and frankly, I don’t give a crap unless knowing the right “label” for it would bring me some healing that I have yet to find. In any case, I decided to go for a ride with my sister and my kids to get dinner and was waiting in the car while she picked up her order when I encountered a self-appointed member of the morality police.
As she got out of her enormous SUV that was parked next to my 20 year old Corolla in her speedo shorts and tank top she bent herself in half to look INSIDE my car (which had all the windows down) to STARE directly at me. I looked over and faked a smile then looked away. She walked toward the same restaurant my sister was in and continued looking back and starring. She was inside for a bit and then came back out and continued staring. I mean going OUT OF HER WAY to STARE at ME. directly at ME. So about the third staring marathon, I finally looked at her and said “WHAT?” “What are you starring at?” She said “You’re parked in a handicapped space.” I said “yep, that’d be because I’m actually handicapped thanks.” I looked and realized that I didn’t have the placard up on the rearview ~GASP~ Then … I heard her mutter under her breath.. “I don’t think I believe THAT”. I got (admittedly) irrationally pissed off at this incredibly rude and nosey (not to mention WRONG) assumption and said: “You know what sweetheart here ya go.. here it is SEE HAS MY NAME RIGHT ON THERE PROVING THAT I AM INDEED HANDICAPPED.” (while holding the placard as close to her window as I could reach from across the car.
She refused to look up from the seat of her enormous SUV so I LAID on my horn until she did and shoved it in the window again and said.. “Here ya go sweetheart, do you feel better, do I have your personal approval to park here now?” I hung it on the review mirror and she said: “You should have it hanging up” and I said.. “Your right I ABSOLUTELY SHOULD FORGIVE ME FOR ANNOYING YOU AND FORGETING TO HANG MY HANDICAPPED PERMISSION SLIP UP. DO YOU FEEL BETTER NOW?” To which she said the comment that makes me the most irrationally angry THAT ANY comment can: “You should be glad someone cares!”
Ok, aside from the patronizing, nosey, insulting tone she took on from moment one, let me take a moment to explain why this type of comment pisses me off.
- NO ONE has the right to tell me or anyone else how to feel in ANY situation.
- Having a disability does NOT mean that I need someone else to speak or do anything else to ‘protect’ me unless I ask for it.
- Having a disability also does NOT mean that I am REQUIRED to feel ANY way about ANY behavior of anyone regarding my disability or anyone else’s.
- I don’t have to be constantly happy or sad or thankful for anything. I have a right to MY OWN PERSONAL FEELINGS IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE
- People with handicaps are NOT (contrary to popular sentiment) on the earth to prove to others how the only disability is a ‘bad attitude’. That is bullshit. Disabilities are REAL. They are OFTEN painful. They are OFTEN annoying and create regular disappointments and can also VERY OFTEN lead to depression and anxiety and other issues that are all legitimate reactions to being in a body that doesn’t look, feel or act like you or others want or expect it to. I DON’T need special permission to be angry or sad or any other ‘negative’ emotions; and it doesn’t mean I should turn in my “happy handicapped motivational prop card” (which by the way, I never asked for nor do I want). In fact, if it is something that can be returned, consider THIS post my resignation from that RIDICULOUS STEREOTYPED position that other people put “us’ in so that they can USE us to motivate themselves by remembering.. “Hey, don’t get too depressed about your life! Remember, it could always be worse, you could be THEM and besides, look how happy the little “gimps’ are! If they can do it then I can!”
- I am not required to be thankful for anyone sticking their busybody nose into my personal business or anyone else’s for that matter.
Ok, now that I’ve explained that: My response to her was “Well, surprisingly I’m NOT thankful and would prefer you minding your own f***ing business actually, thanks for asking!” To which she responded: “You’re a class act.” I thanked her of course. lol
Now, I will be the first to admit that this was indeed an overreaction and most certainly not the classiest way it could have been handled. I will say however, that it was an honest reaction. It was a real reaction and it was actually a restrained reaction. If I’d had my way I would have gone through this entire list with Ms. Busy Body and asked her if she had obtained permission from her eco conscience friends to drive that gas guzzling beast of a status symbol she was smugly sitting in while waiting on some underpaid employee to make her over-packaged food. I also would have asked her who appointed her the morality police. Or, for that matter, the “class” police because I would say that sticking your nose in a total strangers business and assuming the worst about them is pretty classless.
I discovered when my sister came out that this gem of a human being had also verbally accosted her in the store. To which my sister had politely replied, that she was driving a placard holding disabled person who may or may not decide to come in the store, thank you very much. The woman was so bent on correcting us she STILL came out and ‘confronted’ ME and I’m the “class act” in this situation. Really?
Most people who know me know that I am generally a very happy person. Glass half full, sunny side up, bright side finding, sun shining out of my ass kind of person. This is just who I prefer to be. It makes life easier and more fun. However, there are times where I am legitimately sad, angry, depressed or annoyed and I am allowed to have those feelings as well. You know why? I am a PERSON with a disability. NOT JUST a disability or a prop for others to be motivated by. I love you people. It’s why I share this stuff. Especially the not so pretty stuff. I really think down in the foxhole (so to speak) is where you find out who people really are. You learn the lessons that make you a better person and your life and your world a better place.
Thanks for meeting me in the foxhole. I’ll see ya when the bombing ends and it’s safer for me to come out.