These are just 10 of my top pet peeves of the able-bodied towards the disabled from my past experiences. There are dozens more but this is a top 10 list.
People using my wheels as leg rests
This used to happen with classmates in school but it also happens in movie theaters or wherever there’s an auditorium. I used to just drive in reverse to hit the person’s feet.
People using the back of my wheelchair to ride on
Some kids in school used to stand on the back of my wheelchair on the tipping bars. This really annoyed me. I would just suddenly stop and throw it in reverse. The person would be flung forward into my handle bars which would either hit them in their stomach or, if taller, in their crotch area. If they stayed on, a nice wall would get them to jump off.
People talking to others about me while I’m there
This usually happens when I’m out with my mother. It’s usually done by elderly people. They just start discussing my disability or talking about my school. “Oh, how is he?…How does he like school?…Oh, it’s so nice for him to be able to get out.” Hello, yoohoo, talk to me, I’m over here! My mom either answers them or asks, “Oh, you better ask him yourself.” The person either shuts up or looks totally flabbergasted that I can actually talk!
This doesn’t just happen with the elderly. It happens less frequently with people in their 30s or 40s. It even happened with a realtor trying to sell me a house! Once it happened with a physical therapist intern.
And it happened with others with me, besides my mother. It happens with aides and nurses aides too. They usually tell the person to ask me too.
People who ignore that I’m there
This is similar to my last point but differs in that some people just totally ignore my existence in the room. They’ll talk to my friends as if I’m not there at all, like I’m invisible. How rude is that? I usually speak out and cause a scene to liven things up. You’d be surprised how yelling “HELP!! RAPE!!” can get you noticed.
People thinking I’m mentally challenged just because I use a wheelchair
Why do they think this? It confounds me. There are always some people who take one look at my chair and start talking down to me with simple words and a slow voice. I should do it back to them or act like they’re mentally challenged which I’ve done a few times.
Now, you’d think that this reaction would be done only by less-educated people but it’s not. In fact, most less-educated people look and talk up to me as their equal or superior. Most who talk down to me are supposedly “educated” people like teachers, doctors, nurses, realtors, etc.
The oddest person to do this was my high school senior year Government teacher. He was about 6’3″ and looked like an oversized Edward G. Robinson (kind of built like George Kennedy or Brian Dennehy). Anyway, I had classes along with two disabled girls. We wrote slower due to our disabilities and would go to the office for our aides to take dictation for our tests and exams. He thought we couldn’t write because he thought we were mentally challenged! It all changed when we all decided to take exams on our on in class and especially after I received a 97 on my final grade and could skip the finals!
People thinking I should be sweet & optimistic
Another annoying reaction. This is caused by people seeing a few cherubic disabled people who are genuinely sweet & optimistic or some with Down’s Syndrome. But we’re all different, like other humans! I usually surprise people who expect me to be sweet, innocent and happy to be disabled. Dude, why the heck would I be happy? Here, let me break your legs and see how you like it. See how happy you are!
I’m not sweet & optimistic. I’m usually rude, sarcastic and pessimistic as most of my friends know. That’s just me. If you don’t like it, Sayonara! If it turns you on and you’re female, contact me!
These are people who have a sexual fetish for the disabled. Yes, they get aroused by wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, amputees. It’s quiet disturbing, especially since most seem to be gay men that try to hit on me.
Some devotees aren’t too bad, the honest ones. But some lie and pretend to be disabled; they feel “sexy” sort of like cross-dressing. One guy kept asking me for pictures of wheelchairs and to sit in my chair! Now that’s just creepy!
Some devotees are totally crazy and go as far as to have a limb actually amputated! They need help!
I’ve only met two females who were devotees. This one woman seemed okay at first. She was about 35, an elementary school teacher. Wheelchairs and amputees made her “hot”. She proceeded to ask me the strangest questions. I felt it was safe and would probably be hilarious. How do I feel to be disabled? I said just peachy; I save money on shoes. Our chat lasted about twenty minutes. I never heard from the loon again. Apparently I was too outspoken and not sic enough to attract her. I suppose if I was an amputee or on my deathbed, she’d of been all over me and need clean panties!
People thinking I should know about ALL disabilities
Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an expert on all things disabled! I do not share a symbiotic or telepathic mind meld union with disabled people. I really only know a lot about my own disability. I know bit and pieces about a dozen or so disabilities but there are hundreds. If you want to know about a disability, here’s a novel idea – LOOK IT UP! Either that or pay me $200 and I’ll do it!
People who think I’m desperate for them
I’ve run into strangers (women) and after five minutes of chatting, they’re like “But we can only be friends”, dropping me hints or emphasizing that they’re taken or taking a break from men. Dudettes, get over yourselves! First, we just met, why would I want you? That takes weeks if it’s going to happen at all and certainly not after you rudely shot me down without cause! Second, you probably already have or will annoy the hell out of me! Third, I’m not that desperate to jump the bones of the first airhead that I meet. Yes, if you shoot me down before I even hinted at hitting on you, I consider you an airhead!
People who tell me how modern technology is a miracle for the disabled
I don’t consider modern technology that aids in the accessibility of the disabled to be a miracle although some does greatly benefit us. Here’s an example of what I mean. Back in college I used public transit lift vans to commute to and from school. A good service but with awful timeliness and support. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have to wait two hours after my scheduled pickup time for the van to arrive. On this one particular day, I had been waiting over an hour and a half and tired of boredom when my “Science & Religion” professor and minister (it was required) stopped beside me. In his Kermit the Frog voice, he told me that the van service was a wondrous miracle and gift from God. I was nice and then he left. I wanted to yell at him, “Yea, it’s so wonderful. Why don’t you sit here for two hours after six hours of classes and tell me how miraculous it is?! If Jesus were here, he’d be annoyed too! If you were beneath the parted Red Sea, he’d probably close it over your head!”