My girlfriend invited me to her companies Christmas party. It just happened to be 23 days after Christmas. It was at the local bowling alley, and even though I could not bowl, I decided to go because I’m new to this state, again.
The small group of friends I had before I left to the state of Washington and now gone. I needed to get out of the house to meet some people and do something. I was having fun talking to all of her employees, but I left with a sour taste in my mouth.
After an hour or so I was talking to my girlfriend again ending the conversation by saying, “I’ll be right back, I’m going to the bathroom.” I’m in the bathroom doing my own thing when some other guy comes into the bathroom. “How ya doin’ fella” was what he said to me.
I was not thinking too much about it until I was exiting the bathroom. I replied back to him saying, “I’m good man, I’m good.” I go back to hang out with my girlfriend for another 15 minutes or so, at this point in the night I had a few beers; so that means I had to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.
Before I go to the bathroom I gave her my car keys, expecting her to warm up the car before I get there, she said to me, “I’ll be waiting outside.” As I’m coming out of the bathroom I think to myself that there is a door not too far from me and it would be easier to get outside from that door.
I’m going towards that door as a congregation of people were trying to exit the same door. This guy holds the door for me, which is nice, but then he says “are you alright buddy.” I’m looking to my left and right noticing that both of these doors did not have a ramp to the parking lot. As I’m turning around saying “I can’t go out any of these doors,”
I can tell that his girlfriend was scared shitless that I was going to run into her. Before I say that I hear them saying, “it’s okay buddy” and afterwards they said “we can help you down buddy.” I said “it’s okay man” and then he wanted to make sure I didn’t change my mind be saying, “are you sure buddy.” Feeling rather annoyed by now I said “yea man I’m good” he then says “okay buddy.”
My whole point of this story is that we in wheelchairs know how to control our wheelchair better then you think we do, we have a better idea of where it is in space because it has become an extension of our body.
Do not call us ‘buddy’ or ‘fella’ it makes us, me, feel mentally challenged. The guy in the bathroom didn’t think I could go to the bathroom much less sit back down in my wheelchair.
Maybe he was just drunk and liked calling people fella. I’m sure you think I’m over reacting.
When you are aware of how people look at you in a wheelchair and then they address you by these names, you start to feel like everyone is a judgmental asshole.
The other guy called me buddy 5 or 6 times in a 15 second period, I was expecting him to pat me on the top of the head and say “good job.” I can open doors asshole, I can turn around in a 180 degree circle, I can talk, and I can tell that you must think I’m mentally incompetent.
Just because you see someone in a wheelchair does not mean they are not firing on all cylinders. This happens less in highly populated cities, you guys are more used to the whole people in wheelchair thing.
If you live in Nebraska, “holy shit dude, he is in a wheelchair he must be mentally challenged.” If you don’t believe me go to a place where no one knows you, you must be in a building that is highly populated; sit in a wheelchair and see how people treat you, it’s not fun.