Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pay Attention!

I'm probably mostly preaching to the converted in this post.

Pay attention. My vehicle was ticketed today. The officer failed to make any note of the disability placard or the scooter lift, both completely and easily visible from the outside of the car. I never take down my placard since I can't reach to replace it, so there can be no question about who failed to pay attention.

Pay attention. A friend pulled out a chair for me at lunch and left me momentarily; as I tried to position myself at a table, a woman immediately pushed the chair back to the table, in my way, and never looked back.

Pay attention. At an ice cream place last week, two teenagers came in, one with an assistance dog, one with a white pole. On the assistance dog's large square harness was a sign with huge letters asking people not to pet him, that he was working. At one point, noticing people's open stares at these individuals, I said, "disablism" under my breath to my daughter; she just nodded. She later pointed out something I couldn't notice when the teenagers sat down. Another teenager came up to the dog and petted him.

Pay attention. People with physical disabilities are not physical objects and they are not just too lazy to walk. I get tired of being treated as a physical object; people do not slow down with their carts or pay attention to what they are doing. I am not a grocery cart! As one of my friends, a gentle soul, says, "No wonder I see so many older people get so aggressive and snarly with their scooters in the stores." I don't recommend that since there are a lot of people, even young people, walking around with invisible disabilities (like me, only recently) who can be harmed by an accident. Pay attention if you're driving a scooter or using mobility equipment. Don't make assumptions about others' abilities.

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