Yeah, I can be kind of a jerk when I’m fed up.
Sometimes on Sundays, I enjoy going to estate sales. It’s really the hunt for cool antiques and old technology that I go for. I use an old rotary phone for business and do my writing on an old solid metal tanker desk. This past Sunday, I shlepped my wife and daughter out to a local estate sale. Fun. At least it was until I entered the home and a man who worked for the estate sale company had to chime in. Here were the magic words: “Watch your step.” Now, to others, this may seem like a kindness. I, however, see it as patronizing. Why? Because I was standing with my crutches about to go down one half step. Yes, a four-inch step.
For those who don’t know, I usually use a wheelchair to get around. For short distances, I can use my walker, but it is cumbersome and doesn’t allow me into small spaces. In those cases, such as an estate sale, I will use my crutches to take a few steps and have my wheelchair nearby at the ready for when I need to sit. I was having a good time and then this guy had to open his mouth. Here’s how it went.
Him: Watch your step.
Me: I always do.
Him: Just want to make sure you stay safe.
Me: Okay. Use your turn signals when you drive home.
Me: Just want to make sure you stay safe. You see, sir, I am a grown man. I know so because my mommy tells me so. Therefore, I don’t need to be told by you to watch my step.
At this point, my ten-year-old daughter puts her earbuds in and tries desperately to lose herself in her music and pretend that this isn’t happening. My wife makes a quick b-line for another room. I watch as he holds his mouth agape and I carry on.
Did I overreact? Perhaps. But I am sick and tired of able bodied people thinking they can talk to the disabled like we are children.