Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Flying Chihuahua!

Doing grocery shopping can be a real adventure sometimes. Tonight was a prime example. I did not have to fight for a parking space, which was pleasant enough. But a couple things happened that are worth noting.

I had Wix with me in the car. This is unusual, as she’s now retired and rarely gets to go out anymore. But she really loves taking a drive, even if it’s only to the supermarket. I wind down the back window a bit so she can have a sniff at all the wondrous smells that aren’t like "home". Tonight, I parked and left the window down a bit, so she’d have fresh air while I went to the store. I hadn’t brought her vest and wasn’t going to be very long.

So, I get the wheelchair out of the car, get myself in the chair, shut the door, aim for the store’s door. From the corner of my eye I had noticed a woman crossing the parking lot, aiming to walk between my car and the one parked next to it. No worries. Except that it wasn’t "no worries"…

As the woman walked right next to my car, Wix started barking like mad, a deep, scary bark, sticking part of her face through the opening in the window. The woman yelled! Loudly. I turned my head in time to see something leave the woman’s arms, yelp, and fly up in the air. I identified the "object" as being a small chihuahua…

I’m glad the woman managed to catch the beast before it landed on the ground.

Wix doesn’t usualy go mad like that. I wonder if that woman’s chihuahua usualy has that effect on other "real" dog (no offense to small dog owners intended here, yes @miraz, small dogs do have rights!)

Anyway, the incident over, I went in and did my shopping. Not too many people in the store, which made it quite quick. I lined up for the self check-out stations. While I was waiting, a guy comes and plants himself right in front of me. The following is a very close, if not word-for-word, retelling of the conversation we had.

Me: Excuse me?!?
Him: Oh! Are you in line?
Me: Yes.
Him: Oh… I didn’t think you were in line.
Me: I’m waiting right on the line on the floor, with groceries in a basket on my lap, why would you think I wasn’t in line?
Him: Well…
Him: You’re in a wheelchair…

I must admit, that left me completely baffled. I had no response, no comeback. This guy, who was neither old enough to excuse certain prejudices, nor young enough to excuse idiocy, thought that because I was in a wheelchair, I was waiting for someone to come and help me.

Where has this guy been living, under a rock? Geesh. At least, he wasn’t parked in a disability parking space. I guess we should be thankful for small mercies, and for flying chihuahuas that give us a good laugh.

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