Interesting. I have never been able to walk. I prefer the term crippled to describe my inability to walk. Am I disabled? Yes. But if I was caught up in the different condescending ways people have described me, I would have never left the house.
But since I have left the house, I must confess: My father and nine siblings made me feel as though nothing wrong with me. They helped when they knew I could not do something and never felt sorry for me.
Another confession: Society tried to force me into the box marked, “Can’t do.” And I almost jumped into another box marked, “Don’t try.” But with all of the forces working against me because of the way people look at me, I laugh. For instance, I was standing on a corner leaning on my crutches wearing clean clothes, new shoes and a nice watch on my wrist. Then a security guard of the building that took up the entire block told me, “You can’t panhandle here.” I reached in my pocked and pulled out a wad of hundreds and twenty dollar bills. He apologized. But if I had a dollar for every time someone tried to give me money just by looking at me on crutches, I could afford to buy a home in the Hamptons.
80% of the people I come across who see I could use assistance, do so with genuine kindness and understanding, with no whiff of pity, which I do appreciate. But I cannot guess what is running through the mind of those who are too scared to offer those with mobility problems assistance.