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Monday, May 31, 2010

What a meanie!

We went to the mall today--as all good Americans do on patriotic holidays. I spied a woman in a powerchair and quietly pointed her out to the twins.

Kyle: "It's a power chair!"

Lauren: "It's a red power chair!"

Their voices aren't very loud. They do point, but with weak arms. But this woman was near enough to us that she heard them. And she read them the riot act. "You kids. This chair is like my car, it's how I get around. And I push this button here to get away from people like you."

I have never. been. so. speechless. I point out this role model in her power chair roaming through a public place because I want the twins to see that they won't be the only ones. And she looks down her nose at my babies, assuming these cherubic two year olds are being disrespectful? Well guess what bitch? You're the one who is stuck with a piece of shit Invacare chair while my kids' chairs are individually probably worth more than your house.

She didn't give me a chance to interject before she powered herself away. What can I say? I had three kids who were watching me for cues and me dropping an f-bomb was not an option. My eyes were glazed over and the smile was glued to my face. And then I remembered we had cookies from Paradise Bakery which are WAY better than any meaningless approval from some disabled stranger.

So now that I've settled down (can't you tell that I've settled down?), I'd like to remind everyone about karma. And assumptions. Just because my kids are gorgeous doesn't mean that they aren't severely disabled (how can you not notice this?). Also? Their chairs weigh 300+ lbs and they will run over your foot if I give them the code word. (I'm just kidding. We're not so smooth a machine yet. If they run you over, it's by accident. Unless you're a British Petroleum executive and then it's totally on purpose--after all, I raise my children to be responsible citizens.) But really, all the rest of yous--I get that many people are saddled with crappy situations and we're all fighting a battle of some sort. But there's a special place for those of you who talk down to kids and don't even let them engage you enough for you to realize that they're worth listening to.

Also, this isn't the first time this has happened. It's just the first time I've told you about it. This is at least the second time. Our elders sure can behave like ass-hats.


  1. What a perfect opportunity soured. I'm stunned, as I can't imagine anyone's not wanting to chat up with your adorable kids... particularly TWINS in chairs that must draw $ufficient attention on their own.

    It's a sad set of circumstances when we can't think past ourselves.



  2. Just to clarify, they were in high chairs at the mall food court. We don't have a way to transport their powerchairs yet (and I don't think they're adept enough to safely navigate a shopping mall on a holiday weekend, anyway), so they weren't in them. I guess they weren't "obviously" one of the wheelchair population. That lady was still a bitch for talking to them like that, though.

  3. Yowzer!!! What a miserable, cranky woman. I would want to chase her down too.

  4. 1.) that's awful. She sounds really bitter and even if you had said something to her I doubt she would have 'heard' it. Some people are just really angry on the inside and take it out on everyone else.
    2.) we are always at the mall - I think Greg even took the kids there on Monday. Let me know the next time you guys are there and we can meet up.

  5. When this comes up with families I work with, I usually say, "when you have a child with special needs, strangers will come up to you and say the most stupid things". But in this case, your darlings were simply looking wonderful and people still came over to say stupid things! Fortunately, your generous children will forgive her and continue to be their friendly, positive selves. Now, whether we can let it go...that's a bigger challenge. You are right though, their eyes were on you and you did the best thing possible. Who doesn't love Paradise Cafe cookies????

  6. Hi! I'm sorry you had a bad experience with that woman. Of course, people with disabilities can still exhibit a full range of human failings :) Personally, it's important to me to be role model, and you will eventually encounter an adult power chair user who feels that way.

    A note about Invacare wheelchairs- they are certainly crappy and low end, but the Invacare Torque SP is the only model funded at all where I live, so I have to admit that I resent your comment. That said, I've just started a blog about my attempt to raise funds for a Permobil chair.

    Anyway, I really like your blog, and appreciate your sense of humor :)