bio_dave_hingsburgerShe was having a bit of a difficult time. Her walker, a bright red one, was brand new, and she kept bumping into things as she tried to get around. She took it in all good spirits and, in fact, was singing quietly along to the ‘I’m Just a Teenager in Love’ era of music playing in the breakfast hall. I was sitting just inside the door waiting for room to get in.
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Two women were waiting for toast and watching the older woman, with her new walker, as she got around. They noticed her happy demeanour and her her quietly singing along with the music as she gathered her breakfast. In an almost angry voice, one said, “I sure don’t know what she’s got to be happy about?” Her friend responded, in full out anger, “And she sure has nothing to sing about.”

They were angry.

Their response to seeing a woman, happily going about her day, happily getting used to a walker, was anger. Think about it. Anger.

Were they angry because she was upsetting their stereotype that she should be all depressed and ready to call for the euthanasia bus because she needed to use a mobility devise?

Were they angry because she dared to be happy, to sing, to have chosen a bright red walker, when disability needs to be approached with somber tones, dark furrowed brows and DNRs?

Think about it again. They were angry.

What the hell in that picture is there to be angry about. She never bumped them with her walker and her inexperience. She took up a little more space because of that inexperience but there was space to be had. I was waiting, not because of her, but because others don’t know how to handle space when someone in it uses a mobility devise.

Finally, I got in, I rolled by her, stopped and said, “Love that colour of red.” She smiled broadly, it was a smile that looked like it had been given a million times in a million different circumstances throughout her life. “It’s jaunty, isn’t it?” she said. I laughed and said, “Very.”

She’s lived a happy life. It came so easily to her to simply continue to be happy, even on wheels.

The others seeing me and her chatting and laughing, it must have been too much because they simply grabbed their toast and fled to their table.

I’d rather, any day of the week, have a little song, and a big smile be part of my breakfast rather than sit down into anger to begin my day.

They were angry!!

Angry.