We were doing some last minute shopping for parcels that need to head west on Monday and the place was packed. This makes pushing my chair arduous because I have to be hyper-alert for the walkees who legs seem to simply not know which way they are going next, like the brain whose pilot is on a break and who detached the legs on the way out. Then there’s the one’s who see me and freak, the dart on this side and then that side, panic in their eyes, trying to be a good person but simply not able to make up their minds which side they should walk on to keep themselves safe and to give me room. All the dashing back and forth is dizzying to watch and nearly impossible to navigate. Sometimes I just stop and say “Please go ahead” and wait until they and their panic have passed before beginning again.
But what I wanted to write about was what I saw happen, and when I intervened, at one of the areas of the mall where people who don’t have chairs are given some, they willingly adapt the environment for walkees, so they can rest. I saw a woman with an intellectual disability with her staff. There were two possible places for them to sit. Conveniently the two seats were facing each other. The staff was desperate to give the choice of the two seats to the individual being supported. Now that’s cool. But the desperation and eagerness can simply make people slightly wacky.
The staff was in front of the woman with a disability saying, do you want me to sit here, or here; here or here’ here or here. Each time she offered she moved her body slightly to indicate which chair her butt would sit in on the simplest command from the woman with the disability. Every time she moved the woman with a disability made an attempt to take a seat but was then blocked by the staff going back and forth and offering a choice in chair.
I couldn’t take it.
I have been often blocked by people trying to help me and it’s funny. At first.
I stuck my head in, uninvited I know, and said to the staff, “Just offer the choice and then stand still.” The staff looked at me, affronted for a second and then, realizing, started to giggle. She offered a choice the woman with a disability sat down, looked at her staff and said, “That was exhausting.”
We all laughed.
Yep, sometimes our desire to be helpful makes it impossible to see how very unhelpful we have now become.