Image discription: the word privilege

Joe and I were waiting for Marissa and the kids to catch up to where we were. We had just finished seeing an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. As we waiting I noticed a man going by in a very cool looking scooter. He caught me looking, stopped and rolled over to me. I told him that I was admiring his scooter. He laughed and said that a lot of disabled people notice it.

As he told me about it, how it could be broken down so that it could fit into a car, three young teenagers, who were somehow attached to him, stood behind and waited, comfortably while he talked with me. He was a big man, but he carried his weight differently than I do, so his weight made him look imposing, mine simply makes me look fat.

He then, out loud, started talking about the model of the scooter was the companies bariatric model and was made to carry a significant weight. He said ‘bariatric’ like it was simply a word, not a horrible judgement. I’d never heard the word ever used in conversation, in public. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it said out loud before. Even when talking to the people who I buy my wheelchair cushions from, they whisper ‘bariatric’ as if it’s an incantation  or a curse.

He gave me info on the scooter, drive medical’s phoenix HD4, so that I could look it up and consider it. I had told him that my wheelchair had broken down and that I would need something new. The chat over, he said goodbye and wished me well, the teenagers nodded, and they headed off.

One of the things about having a disability is that I get to meet some of the most unutterably cool, dignified and proud people rolling on this earth. What a privilege. The right kind of privilege.

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