Tuesday, November 14, 2006

quick blog b/c MIL imminent.

I have been using the disabled cubicle at the pool for two years now, and today it finally happened: someone challenged me. I was coming out on my way to the pool and I heard her say something from across the room. it was along the lines of "you're not parked in a disabled spot outside." And all my rehearsed putdowns and comebacks went out the window. I lost it. I slammed my bags (carried, of course, by my good left arm) down on the ground, marched over and demanded she tell me what she'd said. She repeated it and I pretty much just saw a fog of red. I wanted to know who made her the disabled police. I pulled my bathers down and showed her my surgical wound (and the dressings over it). and said I didn't want everyone seeing that. did she apologise? no. she said "that doesn't stop you using the showers", meaning the "normal" showers which have no seats, no hooks for bags of clothes, no mirrors to check whether infection-causing water had got in under the dressings. I told her I was on medication which made me feel dizzy when showering, which is partly true. She then, bizarrely, began to talk about how people told her off when they saw her park in disabled parking bays – she looked fine to me, but then I look fine to other people. I asked what that had to do with it. I asked why, after having my breast removed and being on medications, which I listed angrily, I should have to explain myself to strangers like her. She then said “for all you know I might have too” (had breast cancer). You see where this is going. No logic to the argument whatsoever. The parking bay issue was raised again. I said I never told people off for parking in those bays, (because I never make assumptions); she more or less implied I was lying. There was no one else in the room; this may have contributed to my willingness, as she departed, to shout “fuck off. Bitch.” at the closing door. I spent the first four or five hundred metres of my swim weeping under my goggles, which is quite hard to do when you’re trying to breathe regularly and swim with just one arm.

now, I understand that she probably has issues of her own, not least because other %$#s abuse her for parking in disabled bays. and I know she is disabled in some way, what I don't know and don't care. and that I should just not take it so personally. but you know what? I've put up with a lot. I'm not the same person I was two years ago; in some ways, particularly physically, I feel diminished, circumscribed. In other ways I know I've grown. but what she did was, in the classic parlance, to add insult to injury, and it just wasn't an insult I was going to take. Mixed in there, too, is the knowledge that I’m not just imagining the dirty looks people give me when I enter and leave the disabled change room, but that if they don’t say anything to my face, I can’t respond. And probably just general anger at the world, unjustified because as we all know, Shit Happens. Oh, and a small dose of early menopausal hormonal flux.

There is no moral to this story other than the one I’ve learned in the past two years myself: don’t make assumptions about people. Be kind. They may be hurting in some way you can’t see; they may have just lost a loved one, been given a diagnosis they don’t want, they may have scars and wounds hidden under their clothing both actual and metaphorical. And mind your own f*ing business.

Wow. I felt my blood rising reading about that confrontation. I am really sorry. I wonder did it make her feel better? Defending the disabled territory and then unable to even acknowledge your terrible ordeal?

There is no logic, as you say....I guess it just re-affirms our need to be kind and never assume anything. Because it can just leave you looking like an ass.
Your last comment said it all....
Mind your own F*&^%g business!
I just came across your blog and wanted to say that I am sorry you got treated like that. I think what you said last is the most important - you really cannot look at someone and judge them.

When someone asks me -"do you have children?" I reply sadly "none living". Then they wish they hadn't asked.

Take care. (and if you ever want to meet up with any other melbourne reproductively challenged bloggers, drop by www.melbournemeet.blogspot.com )
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