Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Idiots - I Knows Dem

wheelchair sign under a fresh coat of paint
Photo credit: man pikin
I've just discovered the Idiot of the Week blog hop and my brain temporarily broke trying to think of which specific idiot to write about. Sadly, as is all too common, I know too many idiots who are just not funny. But eventually one came to mind.

I used to travel a lot for work, which meant spending far more time with my co-workers than was strictly healthy. Sometimes this even meant going to the same city week after week.

Once, the monotony was broken by the arrival of a wheelchair tennis tournament at the hotel we were staying at. Mind you, the actual tennis happened offsite and very few of the rooms were wheelchair accessible, so I don't know how any of this worked.


But that week, the hotel was full of people there to hang out and socialize (when they weren't playing tennis). Since the hotel was usually full of business travelers, or tourists who kept to themselves, the joint was not usually jumping. Hell, I usually had the tiny gym to myself.

But not this week. The wheelchair tennis tournament crowd was there to talk to strangers. 
They had that vibe that college freshman have - we're in a big happy group and you should join us so you can be happy too. I started chatting to one guy and ended up hanging out with a bunch of people much closer to my age than my co-workers in the hotel bar one or two evenings. I was less miserable than usual. It was nice.

This was pre-social media, so instead of becoming FB friends or Twitter buddies with my new pals, I never saw them again.

The next week, as we were flying back down to the same exact place, I said to one of my co-workers, "I hope there's another tournament or conference at the hotel the week. People at those things are so friendly."

And she replied, "Oh, yeah, I saw you had a good time last week. But it made me so sad to look at their shriveled legs."

So apparently, she thought I'd just said that people in wheelchairs were friendlier than the able-bodied. Which, just, what? Is that a stereotype that exists out in the universe? Or just in her brain?

Also, if the brace hadn't worked, my limbs wouldn't be perfectly formed either. So would looking at me make her sad too?

So extreme was her discomfort around the disabled that her hearing shut down and she decided that I'd just said that wheelchair bound people are especially friendly. I bet if I'd called her on it at the time, she would've had a whole explanation, like maybe they're friendly because they have to be because they have to ask for help all the time.

Which, just. Sigh.

5 comments:

  1. Isn't it shocking what comes out of people's mouths sometimes? I am just imagining a long awkward silence following her comment in which you stare at her in disbelief. Thanks for joining, I am excited to hear about more of your idiots!

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  2. Ha! Yeah, those poor people in wheelchairs...who are so disabled they play tennis.

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  3. It amazes me when I hear things like this. What's worse is that they see nothing wrong with it.
    I actually work with a woman who, during a discussion on bi-racial couples, said "I don't mind mixed couples as long as they don't plan to have children" I KID YOU NOT! In the next breath said how nice it was that her generation was so open and accepting, unlike those "old people" before us.....
    People never cease to amaze me.....

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  4. Sometimes I wonder how people can be so ignorant to things. It's like anything beyond "normal" (in their mind) is a bad thing or something they should take pity on. Sheesh. Stopping over via the Weekend Wander Blog Hop.

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  5. I loved the "my brain temporarily broke" line. Much more than your coworker's inane remark.

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