I’ll just be a minute….

Picture this…

You’re disabled, badly. In Queensland you qualify for a disabled parking sticker,  but in New South Wales you’re told, as that useless leg is still attached, you won’t get it. If you were enormously fat, says the doctor, acknowledging how bloody unfair it is, no problem. It’s a pity, he adds, that you’re such a fit cripple, and haven’t let yourself go, or eaten yourself into diabetes.

Women with children get close parking. You don’t. Okay, so you cope. You walk despite being crippled. You pull up outside the chemist, on your way in for your heavy duty painkillers and nerve blockers. Someone parks beside you, so close you can’t get out. Even an able  bodied person couldn’t slide out. You wind your window down.

Mate, you say, you’re too close, you’re blocking me in the car. I won’t be a minute, says the man, dashing past you. So naturally, you back out, re-park a few spaces away, and get out. You limp back to the car that was blocking you in. With your good leg, you kick the door in. Then you limp away.

****

You’re about to use the self-serve checkout at the supermarket. It’s evening, when you shop because there are less crowds, as it’s easier for you to deal with a trolley, something you find very hard with your bad leg. You can also get parking close by, which as you don’t qualify for a disability sticker, makes a huge difference.

A woman and her partner are blocking three self-serve checkouts. One with their two trolleys of soft drink, frozen food, and chips, then the one they’re using, and another with their giant pram.

Excuse me, you say politely, would you mind moving the pram so i can use the checkout? We’ll just be a minute, says the woman.  Five minutes later, they’re still feeding different cards into the reader, trying to find one that’s not maxed out. Your pain levels are rising, you don’t do standing well.

Rather than offering to kill them if they don’t get out of the bloody way making a scene, you go to the one manned checkout and queue for a while. You see the couple at the self service checkouts are now getting the staff to remove items from their bill, then going through the rigmarole of feeding through their twenty cards again. You notice there’s no baby food in their two overflowing trolleys. No nappies either. (Diapers.)

As you leave, fifteen minutes later, they’re still there, still looking for a card that works, apparently too stupid to walk twenty metres (about that in yards) to the nearest cash machine, and find out which, if any, of the cards has any money on it at all. You’re poor, you have sympathy for those in the same boat, but there are limits. You hope they choke on their bloody chips.

****

Up in Queensland, when you did have a disabled permit, you’re pulling into the bank parking area, when someone in a large 4WD cuts you up, and parks across two disabled parking spaces. Oi, you say. I won’t be a minute, says the man, hurrying to get into the bank.

So you stop right there, get out of your car, and even with your leg brace on,  something in your eyes warns the man,  he doesn’t pass you, and runs back to his car, which he moves into a non-disabled space.

****

You’re walking with a severely disabled friend. She’s had a stroke, only one side of her body moves. She can move at a shuffle thanks to her braces and cane. People keep barging into her, to the point where you are hyper-alert, watching ahead, behind, and to each side, ready to say oi!

There’s plenty of space around you, no need for people to come so close, but they don’t look, intent on their own lives, and insist on pushing past, in so much of a hurry that a two-step detour is impossible. You’re not in some central city area, this is at a quiet suburban shopping centre. It isn’t some once-off freakery, it happens every time she goes out.

****

You’re at the shops with your disabled friend. He’s walking with a stick, slowly. It’s Christmas time, heavy crowds.  Even so, as the woman nearly knocks him flying, and hits him (on his bad knee, which stands out, it being held together with a large metal leg brace) with her shopping, several people around see, and join in with your “Oi! Look out!”

The woman looks back,  and you shout angrily (over the noise of xmas carols) that she nearly knocked him over. She humphs, and says she’s in a hurry, like that’s a good enough reason to knock over a disabled person – or anyone.

The other people giving sympathy and offering help are very much appreciated, and make you both feel better, but you feel like chasing the woman down and cracking her on the knee with a shopping bag full of electrical appliances, just to see how she likes it.

****

You’re having a bad day. Along with the leg brace, you’re using your walking stick. You see some people walking towards you. They are spread out over the 4 metres of open space (12+ feet) that’s the walkway next to the shops, completely blocking it to anyone else. You stop, next to a shop window, close to it, waiting for the people to both see you, and move to one side.

They keep walking, looking everywhere but dead ahead, until one of them actually barges straight into you. It doesn’t knock you over, you were ready for it. They get stroppy with you and complain that you’ve hurt them when they bounced off your titanium leg brace. (Stroppy is angry.)

You point out they had plenty of space to walk through, they could see you clearly, you weren’t hiding, and point to your leg brace and stick. Some of us, you say, can’t get out of the way easily.  I’ve been standing here since you were over there, you say, and point some fifteen metres away (45+ feet) They seem surprised, both at where you appeared from (you being such a sprightly and fast-moving person), and that you didn’t get out their way if you saw them.

****

You’re waiting for a taxi you phoned for. You’re outside the shops, leaning on your walker. You have many problems, including being unable to walk unaided. The taxi driver pulls up behind you, and starts calling to you.

He gets out of his car and comes up, shouting and yelling. “What are you, deaf?” You hear him, finally. There are people all standing staring. “Yes,” you say, mortified, fighting back tears, “yes, I am. My hearing aid broke this morning.” The taxi driver looks embarrassed, mumbles something that might be an apology, and helps you into the car, folding your walker to go in the boot.

You want to tell him to sod off, but instead you decide getting home is more important. Your small revenge will be not tipping, and complaining to the taxi company. When you get home, with the door shut, then you let yourself cry.

****

What is it with humans? Can’t you put yourself in the other person’s shoes? Or in their orthotic brace? Have a bloody care – when something happens to you, and you’re not able to move as fast, or as surely, is that the only time you realise, gee, it’s a bit rough trying to get around with the other humans who think their needs take precedence over everyone else’s?

Can you imagine how fucking frustrating it is, when your body doesn’t do things as quickly or as well as you want it to?

I suppose not. However, you might want to remember, not all of us are crippled so badly that we can’t push you back when you shove us. Some of us studied martial arts, and can do things to you with our walking sticks you won’t believe.

So don’t mind me, and don’t be surprised when your car door gets dented if you park so i can’t get out of my car, and then expect me to wait while you go off and do your shopping.

This militant cripple has had enough.

NB – i don’t look crippled. Like most disabled people, i do my damnedest to hide how hard it is for me to look normal.
The above examples are all ones i witnessed or were related to me by the disabled people involved.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

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About stinginthetail

Australian. Female. On Twitter as @stinginthetail. I write as Polo Shawcross. 1960 vintage. Quite strange. Free sample of my top-rated book The Birthday Dragon at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63286 View all posts by stinginthetail

19 responses to “I’ll just be a minute….

  • Susan Oakes

    I agree with you and I did not know how different it is in NSW. Your post I do not think is a rant but a wake up call.

  • detaildevils

    Great post. Having spent time in UK with disable mum and wheelchair recently, I can relate to what you are saying.

  • goonerjamie

    I personally think you should batter the brains out of every one of those mo fos. My daughter gets in trouble for not getting out of peoples way, but she’s 5, think maybe these people have an even lower IQ.

  • Twitter Fail

    I’ve seen, and experienced this myself, too many times to laugh. People often get angry at the disabled person in their path for not getting out of their way. They act as if able-bodied people have a greater right to the sidewalk than the disabled.

    The other day, I witnessed a woman knock down a gentleman on crutches when she caught one crutch with her cart. She gave him a disgusted look and said that he could have been more considerate and not blocked traffic. I was too shocked to say something at the time. I wish now that I had grabbed something to put in her path so she would see what it felt like to be him.

    • stinginthetail

      i feel like a granny again – am shaking my head and wondering what happened to common courtesy. I didn’t mention it, but i also see the above happening to the elderly. The thing is, it’s not necessarily the young who are doing it, society as a whole seems quite happy to trample the children, elderly, or disabled on the way to the lifeboats. If we were on the Titanic we’d be going down on the ship.

  • ozziemedes

    I feel your pain… I’ve been suffering chronic pain in my left knee most of the year, and even though I don’t have a disabled permit, I’m walking with a cane at the moment. Because I feel that pain, I’m usually the one who takes great pains to get out of the way of the disabled scooter or give a person on crutches some extra room, however I seem to be in a depressingly small minority.

    We seem to be rapidly becoming a society of self-obsessed morons who can’t acknowledge that anyone else might be having a worse day than us. I moved back home to Adelaide after 6 years in Sydney because I hated that self-obsession and self-aggrandizement, but it’s starting to take root here as well.

    On the upside, I’m a big blocky bloke, and when half a dozen teenagers happen to be walking alongside each other taking up 3-4 metres of footpath/mall-space I tend to just walk at them, and either pause for them to flow around me or if I’m feeling particularly angsty I’ll just plow on braced for impact then shrug at them pointedly when they complain. If they get rapped in the shins by my cane on the way through then that’s just bonus points. For the record, the worst offenders in my case seem to be female [redacted] foreign student types who seem to be of the opinion that all the world thinks they’re special princesses.

    I know that’s a little hypocritical, given that I’m joining your complaint against such selfish behaviour, but I’m as sick of it as you and any sense of malicious joy in such havoc is something I don’t feel too ashamed of as long as the morons concerned are a little more aware of their surroundings next time.

    • stinginthetail

      oh, i wrote a lovely long reply and lost it! Excuse the redaction, you were a bit heated in your comment there 🙂

      Mr enjoys bouncing people of all ages off his titanium knee-brace or his rather solid hickory walking stick. It makes up for all the times he’s been walked right into. We have no foreign students here to blame, but people are still pigs. Not all of them, but enough that every time we go out we’re on guard against someone knocking us over. When one has a fragile spine, being knocked down in a shopping centre isn’t just a bit of ‘oops’. It could mean a wheelchair, or even death. So i tend to make sure idiots remember the lesson to watch where they’re going.

      the selfishness extends everywhere – i have people walking through my house yard, who when told to get out, argue that they’re just cutting through. They don’t understand double syllable words like trespass. They do understand, if i keep repeating it, get the fk out of my yard. This isn’t just kids – we get whole bloody families, and people over 50 too.

      i was sure i’d never be one of those people saying wtf happened to manners, lol.

      • ozziemedes

        *grin* No offense at the redaction. International students from the area of the world I mentioned are probably over-represented in Adelaide, so my reaction could simply be a matter of critical mass. However, they do seem to be more oblivious than most, and there seems to be an atttitude of “We’re spending lots of money to come to this city, so the least you can do is get the hell out of our way when we want to walk six abreast and block foot traffic coming the other way.”

        I think the biggest issue is the sense of entitlement people have these days. Where’s the humility? Where’s the sense of duty to your fellow man and of obligation to offer consideration in the social contract? Perhaps its a reflection of the user pays society… since we’re all paying through the nose for everything, perhaps we feel like we’re entitled to more…?!

  • Rich McKay

    Hear Hear!

    I was disguested on a recent shopping trip with my brother (who has suffered a stroke and has sever trouble walking) to notice the local westfield had 7 times as many (7 TIMES) “Pram parking” spaces then disabled. And most of the pram parks were closer to the centre then the disabled.

    It’s a total atrociety.

    • stinginthetail

      yes, local Lakehaven Shopping centre is the same – some of the disabled spots are small too, not enough room to get a wheelchair out of the car, so useless. Able people seem to get so angry at this ‘special’ treatment of the ‘lazy’ disabled – yet a person whose only disability is children seems to get a ticket to be as ‘lazy’ as they like. 🙂

      in an update, Mr Whatsit has a Disability Parking Permit now – he was actually chased through a carpark recently, by some young man parked in a Disability spot that Mr dared to say “Where’s your Disabled permit?” to. The young man chased Mr’s car, then tried to attack him physically. The young man may think twice about two things – parking in a Disabled spot, and the notion that cripples are easy targets.
      See note above, re: some of us have done martial arts.

  • Sandra

    So true. My friend’s daughter is in a wheel chair, she has a van with the electric lift into the back. The amount of times she has had to wait for people to return to their cars so she can open the tail gate because they have squeezed illegally into the back of the disabled spot she is parked in is ridiculous! Don’t know what people are thinking … Most likely they simply are not!

    • stinginthetail

      Agreed, and it’s getting worse – and the abuse disabled people are copping is bad. It’s ok for those of us who can still be militant, but so many can’t fight back.

      By the way, disabled are allowed to park in those huge Parents With Prams spots – tell your friend’s daughter.

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