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    Originally posted by offroaderswife View Post
    It's also annoying when strangers approach you and tell you about their "best friend" who is in a wheelchair. They never know the SPECIFICS of ther "best friends" injury or daily activities but they feel the need to relate to me by letting me know that they been around people like me. Blah, blah, blah! I have life experience beside being in a chair. Can we just find some other common ground besides you being a hero for knowing another "exotic rare species of a wheelchair person in life? Annoying!
    Could there be another take on this? For instance, it's not as though any of us is handed a manual on knowing the precise "right" thing to say to people we meet for the first time. Perhaps the person you're describing is trying in his/her best humanese to extend a welcoming hand, doesn't see the wheelchair as threatening and is using it as means of creating an first step toward intimacy. Most people really do want to be bonded to other people. For some, I'm sure, not acknowledging the wheelchair might violate their personal ethic. Granted this is exchange is awkward and clumsy and from our perspective annoying especially after being on the receiving end of this greeting countless times before. But I wouldn't rush to conclude that it's necessarily patronizing. I suspect there's more nuance and psychology taking place. We can meet it with resistance and resentment (not to suggest that that's easily done) or put on our psychologist's hat and figure out the deeper dynamics of what's going on (not that that will make us any more welcoming, but maybe).
    stephen@bike-on.com

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      Originally posted by IsMaisin View Post

      This last weekend I had a little kid, maybe 5 years old, say "I hope you get better soon." From a kid, that's sweet. I would have been totally pissed if an adult said it.
      Last Summer after I had checked out at the grocery store the clerk said something close to that.. "I hope you feel better"

      And the old lady saying "I just wanted to say that it's so great to see you out" has been thrown my way.

      Two years ago I was sponsored by a local triathlon shop through a group that was pretty much all amputees. We got discounts at the store and free gear. After I did the paperwork process I went back to get my free pair of shoes. I was sitting there looking and trying to narrow down based on the colors I liked. Saleswoman comes over and I told her I was with the group and here to get my free pair of shoes but couldn't decide on color. Her response was, "well let's start back at the basics, what type of runner are you? Do you pronate?" I just laughed and said my running is sub par these days... I'll take the yellow ones.

      Comment


        Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
        Could there be another take on this? For instance, it's not as though any of us is handed a manual on knowing the precise "right" thing to say to people we meet for the first time. Perhaps the person you're describing is trying in his/her best humanese to extend a welcoming hand, doesn't see the wheelchair as threatening and is using it as means of creating an first step toward intimacy. Most people really do want to be bonded to other people. For some, I'm sure, not acknowledging the wheelchair might violate their personal ethic. Granted this is exchange is awkward and clumsy and from our perspective annoying especially after being on the receiving end of this greeting countless times before. But I wouldn't rush to conclude that it's necessarily patronizing. I suspect there's more nuance and psychology taking place. We can meet it with resistance and resentment (not to suggest that that's easily done) or put on our psychologist's hat and figure out the deeper dynamics of what's going on (not that that will make us any more welcoming, but maybe).
        or, just smile say "wow that's interesting" and change the topic to something like the latest news, or a special at th grocery store. typically these ppl often find me when i cant reach something so i ask them to grab x, they tell me their life story, i listen, say ty i soo needed x for a recipe and BAM we talk about food. no psychologist's hat needed.
        "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
        http://www.elportavoz.com/

        Comment


          Don't forget the classic "I was in a wheelchair for a month a few years ago". Even better when they add :it sucked".

          Oh, gee. Thanks for the huge compliment.
          Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

          Comment


            Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
            Could there be another take on this? For instance, it's not as though any of us is handed a manual on knowing the precise "right" thing to say to people we meet for the first time. Perhaps the person you're describing is trying in his/her best humanese to extend a welcoming hand, doesn't see the wheelchair as threatening and is using it as means of creating an first step toward intimacy. Most people really do want to be bonded to other people. For some, I'm sure, not acknowledging the wheelchair might violate their personal ethic. Granted this is exchange is awkward and clumsy and from our perspective annoying especially after being on the receiving end of this greeting countless times before. But I wouldn't rush to conclude that it's necessarily patronizing. I suspect there's more nuance and psychology taking place. We can meet it with resistance and resentment (not to suggest that that's easily done) or put on our psychologist's hat and figure out the deeper dynamics of what's going on (not that that will make us any more welcoming, but maybe).
            More often than not, I find that people are simply attempting to relate, on some 'common' level, and the wheelchair becomes the obvious, most readily available means toward establishing that (no matter how awkward, weird, annoying, intrusive or patronizing to the w/c user).

            There are some who do seem to want a deeper, more intimate connectedness, even if briefly in passing, which the wheelchair and the perceived vulnerability of the person in it seems to allow, or at least make seemingly more accessible. In these instances, I've found the people wanting to share something of themselves with me, such as an experience of some struggle or pain, which they may feel I might be able to empathize with (given the chair and whatever brought me to be in it). And, it really isn't about me or the wheelchair. They just want to be heard and acknowledged, and the perceived pain and struggle associated with the wheelchair may make it easier to share their own.

            Being in a wheelchair doesn't come with some duty or obligation to listen to and put up with whatever anyone says, but what's a moment of your time to just give someone your attention, to hear them and to acknowledge, at least for that moment.

            Comment


              we should ride around on white elephants. Id much rather talk about elephants anyway.

              Comment


                Originally posted by chick View Post
                More often than not, I find that people are simply attempting to relate, on some 'common' level, and the wheelchair becomes the obvious, most readily available means toward establishing that (no matter how awkward, weird, annoying, intrusive or patronizing to the w/c user).

                There are some who do seem to want a deeper, more intimate connectedness, even if briefly in passing, which the wheelchair and the perceived vulnerability of the person in it seems to allow, or at least make seemingly more accessible. In these instances, I've found the people wanting to share something of themselves with me, such as an experience of some struggle or pain, which they may feel I might be able to empathize with (given the chair and whatever brought me to be in it). And, it really isn't about me or the wheelchair. They just want to be heard and acknowledged, and the perceived pain and struggle associated with the wheelchair may make it easier to share their own.

                Being in a wheelchair doesn't come with some duty or obligation to listen to and put up with whatever anyone says, but what's a moment of your time to just give someone your attention, to hear them and to acknowledge, at least for that moment.
                Exactly.
                stephen@bike-on.com

                Comment


                  Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
                  Could there be another take on this? For instance, it's not as though any of us is handed a manual on knowing the precise "right" thing to say to people we meet for the first time. Perhaps the person you're describing is trying in his/her best humanese to extend a welcoming hand, doesn't see the wheelchair as threatening and is using it as means of creating an first step toward intimacy. Most people really do want to be bonded to other people. For some, I'm sure, not acknowledging the wheelchair might violate their personal ethic. Granted this is exchange is awkward and clumsy and from our perspective annoying especially after being on the receiving end of this greeting countless times before. But I wouldn't rush to conclude that it's necessarily patronizing. I suspect there's more nuance and psychology taking place. We can meet it with resistance and resentment (not to suggest that that's easily done) or put on our psychologist's hat and figure out the deeper dynamics of what's going on (not that that will make us any more welcoming, but maybe).
                  Nah....Too deep to analyze each persons intentions or why they feel the need to relate in that way. I honestly don't think about it too much when it happens. It's annoying but I always respond kindly and represent our community well. How I respond to it is more important to me than their intentions or how they are trying to do their human duty to acknowledge me AND MY CHAIR. We all prefer different approaches and I love to be treated like anyone else in the room. After 19 years of using a chair it's just not that big of a deal anymore. I prefer that no one else see it as a big deal either. Approach me and treat me like any other person in the room and then I'll get deep and put my psychologist hat on.
                  My openly gay male friend who is 48 years old and very comfortable with himself (just like me) seems to experience the same thing with people. They always approach his openly gay life with comments like "oh yes, my 2nd cousin is gay", "my close friend from HS is gay". He feels the same way I do in those moments. We were hired on the same day for a major bank and have been friends since then. We always laugh that they hired us for our "diversity" so we could meet their quota (we don't really think that but we do giggle about it often).
                  DFW TEXAS- T-10 since March 20th, 1994

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by offroaderswife View Post
                    Nah....Too deep to analyze each persons intentions or why they feel the need to relate in that way. I honestly don't think about it too much when it happens. It's annoying but I always respond kindly and represent our community well. How I respond to it is more important to me than their intentions or how they are trying to do their human duty to acknowledge me AND MY CHAIR. We all prefer different approaches and I love to be treated like anyone else in the room. After 19 years of using a chair it's just not that big of a deal anymore. I prefer that no one else see it as a big deal either. Approach me and treat me like any other person in the room and then I'll get deep and put my psychologist hat on.
                    My openly gay male friend who is 48 years old and very comfortable with himself (just like me) seems to experience the same thing with people. They always approach his openly gay life with comments like "oh yes, my 2nd cousin is gay", "my close friend from HS is gay". He feels the same way I do in those moments. We were hired on the same day for a major bank and have been friends since then. We always laugh that they hired us for our "diversity" so we could meet their quota (we don't really think that but we do giggle about it often).
                    Nowhere was I suggesting to analyze each person's intentions. Rather, I was making a generalization and suggesting that we put into context that for many people, however inartful, they will bring your disability/wheelchair into a conversation, often as an ice-breaker, out of the human need to make a connection. Whether you/I/we like it or put up with it wasn't the point I was making it. Appreciating that the intention behind it is more often than not quite benign.
                    stephen@bike-on.com

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
                      Nowhere was I suggesting to analyze each person's intentions. Rather, I was making a generalization and suggesting that we put into context that for many people, however inartful, they will bring your disability/wheelchair into a conversation, often as an ice-breaker, out of the human need to make a connection. Whether you/I/we like it or put up with it wasn't the point I was making it. Appreciating that the intention behind it is more often than not quite benign.

                      I feel you. I wasn't doggin on you for your opinion or debating it. Just stating mine and my preferences about being approached about my chair rather than something else that can be precieved on an even more human level such as ME as a person rather than me as WHEELCHAIR person. That's why I've enjoyed this thread so much. It's a great light hearted thread to say the things we can't to those that appear to have a more shallow approach than others (my opinion of course). I don't make bones with them about it in public. I always respond kindly and it doesn't take a lot of effort to do so. The reaction to those less than favorable approachs is much more important in my opinion. I tend to make better long term connections with other approaches besides the ones involving my chair. For all the other approaches I just smile, respond kindly and keep on movin.
                      DFW TEXAS- T-10 since March 20th, 1994

                      Comment


                        Hi everyone, i fine for the most part strangers are kind they try to be helpfull i have this pink walker and most everyone comments on it i guess it takes there mind off of me and gives them something to say. its a closer circle of people like someonei rode horses with or someone i worked with when i see them they say well you are the strong person if any can go through this its you. wait a minute i cryed every day for over a year trying to figure out how to live this life. i was just like you before i got Tm.

                        Comment


                          You got a pink one? I want a pink one.

                          Comment


                            "That which does not kill you makes you stronger."

                            Not. That which has not killed me has mainly just fucking sucked. That's me being positive LOL.
                            Blog:
                            Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by crypticgimp View Post
                              or, just smile say "wow that's interesting" and change the topic to something like the latest news, or a special at th grocery store. typically these ppl often find me when i cant reach something so i ask them to grab x, they tell me their life story, i listen, say ty i soo needed x for a recipe and BAM we talk about food. no psychologist's hat needed.
                              Stephen is so smart, but you're right too. These threads that pop up from time to time have me more mindful of how I'm treated. I have to say that its rare where I feel like I'm being patronized. I love to talk and when I meet someone and we start to talk, rarely will my disability come up even though it's obvious. Women usually want to talk about how I get my hair so straight and shiny or about my shoes or clothes. Of course I like to talk bout girly stuff so its a fun conversation for both. Men usually ask me where's my husband or bf, they're usually more flirty, but I'm pretty good at talking with men about sports or current events. Last week I was an hour and half early for my class and so was my male classmate, he sat next to me in the hall and we talked a good hour about his previous work, my previous work and why we chose going into teaching. These are what most of my encounters are like and if my wheelchair does come up I explain what happened. For me, I enjoy the interaction however it comes.
                              A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo! - borrowed from Honey boo boo child

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by wtf View Post
                                Stephen is so smart, but you're right too. These threads that pop up from time to time have me more mindful of how I'm treated. I have to say that its rare where I feel like I'm being patronized. I love to talk and when I meet someone and we start to talk, rarely will my disability come up even though it's obvious. Women usually want to talk about how I get my hair so straight and shiny or about my shoes or clothes. Of course I like to talk bout girly stuff so its a fun conversation for both. Men usually ask me where's my husband or bf, they're usually more flirty, but I'm pretty good at talking with men about sports or current events. Last week I was an hour and half early for my class and so was my male classmate, he sat next to me in the hall and we talked a good hour about his previous work, my previous work and why we chose going into teaching. These are what most of my encounters are like and if my wheelchair does come up I explain what happened. For me, I enjoy the interaction however it comes.
                                So how do you get your hair so straight and shiny?
                                Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know that, so it goes on flying anyways--Mary Kay Ash

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