Throughout our visit to the duck, there was a constant thrumming annoyance. To understand this understand that I’m a 64 year old man who, with a little help, is a good decision maker and has input into every decision that’s made regarding everything. I’m lucky, I know. So here’s the thing, throughout the whole trip people kept parenting me. Like I was not only a child but their responsibility as a reasonable adult in the presence of a child in need of instruction.
“Do you have sunblock on?” they would ask me, with Ruby and Sadie, two actual kids, standing right beside me.
“You need to have a hat on the sun is strong,” which I agreed with but I forgot my hat because we left in a rush, not because I can’t make a good decision about a hat.
“Careful now, you are too close to the edge,” said to me while I was trying to get a picture of Joe and the girls close up to the duck, which I never managed to.
“Do you need me to find someone for you?” said when I was looking for Joe and the girls when briefly separated.
I know, I know, the impulse is to help.
But does that make it right?
If seeing a woman doing accounts at a desk and I said, “Do you want me to help you with that hard math?” I think it would be seen a sexist and inappropriate.
Would my defense that I’m just being nice be acceptable?
I don’t think so.
So why is niceness a reason to discount the possibility of ableism or disphobia?
I got a lot of ‘nice’ on our trip to the duck. I’m not sure that I like it better than those who are openly hostile, it’s easier to respond to hostility than it is to ‘oppression by nice.’