When on my own, in my new chair, I can go much quicker than a walking pace. Because of the construction of the chair, I do this without breaking a sweat. I enjoy the speed of the chair and the power of my arms. It’s so freeing.
I was pushing towards a vendor in a relatively deserted hall. Between me and my path a woman with a walker pulled up to a seat. I saw her. I was enough distance away for her to decide to step either right or left to get to the seat she had chosen. She chose to step in such a way that I would have to make a minor adjustment in direction to avoid being near enough to collide or near enough to scare her as I whizzed by.
I didn’t run into her.
I didn’t scare her.
I doubt she much noticed me.
But someone did.
I continued on and then saw a woman waving me down. I slowed the chair and angled over to her. She said, with much disapproval, “You’ve got to be careful with that thing, it’s not a toy.”
And I am so sorry, dear readers, I didn’t take the opportunity to educate.
She had entered willfully into my day. She had pulled me over to admonish me. Like disabled people need parents at every moment of every day. I was stunned.
And, again, dear readers, I didn’t take the time to explain to her that I was careful, that I had seen the woman with the walker and that I made sure she was safe at all times.
Whether or not a chair can be or should be a toy is not up to her or to anyone but me. It’s my chair, it’s my time, it operates at my will. I do not need people to tut tut about me using the chair in any way that I want as long as I am always in full control.
Finally, dear readers, I didn’t dig down into my bag of compassion and understanding for the deep need that non-disabled people have for commentary and intrusion into the lives of those who consider disability permission to interfere and interrupt.
I said, “I didn’t fucking run into her did I” … “Well? Did I?”
And I rolled off.
Dear readers, I desperately do not feel the need to apologize for what I said and how I said it.
Sorry for not being sorry.
I sometimes am simply and completely human.
(And frankly, sometimes I enjoy that.)