That’s what I am, and did I get a lecture about it too. Apparently my disability doesn’t conform to a standard and therefore I’m rolling around in a chair to get good parking and all those benefits that come from being a wheelchair user.
It happened yesterday but started several weeks ago. Joe is having increasing problems with his shoulder. He has an appointment for this to be looked into, but for now, while waiting we’re careful. We’ve agreed that for this trip, I will lift and load the luggage like he typically does. I was a little concerned because he’s really good at it and often scoffs at porters at hotels who ‘don’t know their way around a piece of luggage’ and Joe often says scornfully. He sets a high standard.
So we arrived at the hotel and after rushing in to pee, that’s part of being our age, and then registering, we came back out to the car. Joe was getting things from inside the car, some shopping that we’d picked up and our coats. I rolled the chair up to the trunk, opened the footrests and got up. I had the cart set right behind the car so I could lift and pull and load in a kind on single movement. I can do this without walking much, and it only depends on my keeping balance, which was helped by my placing my hip against the car.
So, the luggage was neatly loaded. I got back into my chair. I was puffed out a bit because thought I’m doing exercises to be stronger they sometimes don’t seem to be exercising the muscles needed for day to day stuff. I notice a couple, then while seating, who were in the parking lot and staring at me with real judgement in their faces. I thought they should see a disabled man doing all that he could with what he had. They didn’t see that. I would soon find out what they saw and what they thought about it. We disabled people often get the benefit of people sharing with us.
I pushed back into the hotel, which was up a long slope, a gentle rise, and then a steeper ramp that lead to the entrance of the building. I was in. Joe was in and pushing the cart. He took the first elevator, I waited for the second, and that’s when they struck. The both castigated me for perpetrating a fraud to get better parking and misuse a parking permit. I was clearly not disabled and the wheelchair must be for show. I sat and looked at them. I was tired from the trip.
When they were done I asked if either were doctors or had medical training about disabilities. They said no. I then told them that they were fraudulently representing themselves as people who could make any kind of sound judgement about disability or disabled people. And, as they’d already used the word, they could fuck off.
I rode up the elevator thinking about how nice it was that we had a phrase in our language that communicated with clarity what we feel in certain situations. It had felt so good I said it again, “Fuck off, just plain, fuck right off.”