I almost forgot to write this story. Last week, I was shopping in Target, and having lots of success. I was going along with a cart and having a lot of trouble walking – my cane was in my cart. It was a painful day.
*Relevant sidebar – Have you ever been walking along and felt someone behind you getting WAY too close to your back? Well, that’s how I felt. So I stopped and turned to see who was behind me.
What I saw made me stop and freeze – a 20-something guy and his two gal friends were walking behind me, laughing. He was imitating me limping along!!! He dragged his foot and pushed the cart with exaggerated difficulty. When I turned and caught him, he stood up immediately. I said, “Because that’s funny?” and his response was “Well, it should be,” dripping with sarcasm and carelessness. They walked away laughing and I said, “Well, not if you live with it.”
I stood there not knowing what to do. If I had been feeling my best, I might have had a snappy comeback ready. But I was vulnerable and in a lot of pain. I’ve not felt so small in a long, long time. It was an ugly moment.
So rather than risk running into them again, I went to the check-out and paid for my things. Then I left. It made me so sad. Are we really having this kind of discussion in 2009?
Since my disability began, I have had more young kids be kind and helpful than not. Adults are another matter. People kick the cane out from under me rather than say “excuse me;” they walk close behind me pressuring me to speed up, rather than walking around me calmly.
What has become of people? I was in the supermarket today. As I was checking out, the man in front of me was talking non-stop on his cell phone. The cashier was trying to ask him something. He didn’t hear her, of course. Then he proceeded to ask her the very question she had asked of him. He was loud and rude. Well, the cashier began a rant about manners. I completely agreed with her. Manners are a rare commodity.
We see children behaving as they should and adults doing the opposite. Adults imitating the disabled. Adults shouting on our cells and ignoring the folks around us. Adults running up people’s backs and not saying excuse me. Ugh.