Using a wheelchair has its benefits, and downfalls. Throughout my twenty-five years, I have learned some things about myself and living life with a wheelchair. One of the many things I have become keenly aware of is the different behavior of people who are able to walk, when they are in my presence.
How many times have you been out, maybe at a wedding, where the tables are long and the chairs are tight together? When people walk past you, especially elderly, they bump your wheels with a leg and you hit a person next to you. Or they put their hands on your shoulder to balance themselves? How often do they really apologize?
Or how about in large groups, where people are tightly crowded standing tall around you. I recently went to an outdoor concert and with a friend was standing in line to get a t-shirt before the show. Three lines were t-shirts, three were for drinks, and three were for food. I had people extremely tight standing around me, and there were so many of them, I couldn't see, except for the people to my front, back, and sides. At one point, there was a girl and two men somewhere over to my right who had gotten into a fight. Screaming ensued, and drinks ended up being thrown. The people who were standing could see it, and knew where the commotion came from. Once the drinks were thrown, this giant crowd of people backed up, right into me. One man even fell onto my lap. I ended up letting my friend get her shirt, and I went to my seat to avoid having an anxiety attack.
How about those sporting events? Last year I bought tickets to go to a Lakers game with my dad, and you know there are only certain reserved spots for people whom use wheelchairs. Well, there was an inebriated man in front of me with his girlfriend whom was quite annoyed. Every time the Lakers missed a shot or something happened that this man did not like, he would stand up and shout and nearly go tumbling down on top of the people below him. Well, from a sitting point of view, this was quite the annoyance and not to mention, rude.
What sorts of situations have you been thrust into that have made you angry, upset, uncomfortable? How did you handle them?
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.