Some things just annoy the bejeebers out of me. Actually, many things annoy me… now that I give it a second of thought. Other things trouble me and I’m about to share this with you. But, here’s my problem, I want it both ways! Eh, that’s not quite right either… maybe I just want things my way.
People know how it hurts me to see people stare at Ryan. What happened the other day doesn’t change this, but showed there is a fine line of proper behavior.
Let me begin with this… I blame the parents. Make no mistake about that.
Ryan and I were leaving work late in the afternoon. It’s a complicated process of maneuvering his wheel chair to get him through the exterior doors. It’s two sets of double doors. One door is stuck shut. Another doesn’t swing fully open. You see the challenge?
Anyhow, as I approach these doors I see a boy, probably middle-school age, sitting in the breezeway between the sets of doors. He sees me, but thankfully doesn’t stare. I immediately appreciate this… for just a few seconds.
He’s not staring because he just doesn’t have any interest.
I suppose it was too much to hope that he would pop up and hold the door open. He didn’t. Instead locked-in on his smartphone. apparently he was looking at the most interesting thing in the world.
No problem. I push the door open. I get Ryan halfway through before his wheel hangs up on the door as it closes. I look over at him and see he watching, but faking that he is looking at his phone. I’m immediately pissed. Not because I struggling with Ryan either. It is entirely because this boy has no sense of community. I have no doubt where he didn’t learn this.
After lifting and shifting Ryan’s chair I have the door (mostly) behind him — propped on his push bar — and I squeeze through to open the next door. This is where it gets tricky because I must hold the previously opened door, open the next door, and guide Ryan through it as I stand to the side of him. It takes a fair amount of strength. It takes a ton of coordination.
This boy doesn’t budge. He is actually in my way now. For the hell of it I turn to him suddenly and catch him watching me. He quickly shifts his gaze back to his phone.
I get Ryan through the door and set his wheelchair brake. His mother (who is quite the hotty) had joined him at some time when I was executing the tricky door-to-door transfer. I stepped back into the breezeway, square-up to them in a non-threatening way, and said nothing. I just wait for them to acknowledge me. And waited. And waited some more. If nothing else, I’m willing to bide my time. I can feel their unease growing (and I kind of enjoy it). It was a least a minute before the mother did look up. I locked her (strikingly sexy) eyes with mine. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Is that your boy?
Mother: Yes, Why?
Me: Well, it seems — from my limited experience with him — he needs some guidance on helping a fellow human.
Me: I’ll assume you didn’t grasp what just happened, but that worries me for your boy’s sake.
Mother: *** dumbstruck***
Me: It’s clear you need some guidance first, otherwise it’s no better than the blind leading the blind. The two of you should discuss how you can better fit into society.
Mother: I don’t appreciate what you saying.
Me: That’s okay. You’re appreciation is of no concern to me, but thank you for sharing your feelings. As his parent you are compelled to develop him emotionally and as a good citizen. All I ask is that you two think of how you might handle similar situations in the future. Good day.
I heard her curse me — as a jerk — under her breath. I get that a lot from women and let it roll off.
Hey, I get it. I was being completely judgmental. I’ve become intolerant of parental failure (as I see it through my own eyes, mind you)… and with damned good reason. I’m calling them out and will take the risk that I’m completely off-base. I can live with being wrong in how I discern this.
Then I took Ryan down the ramp toward his van only to see the mail carrier backing his truck in the handicap space next to ours. Are you flippin’ kidding me! Wrong!It’s already riled me up enough that they’re talking about stopping all weekend delivery, so it doesn’t take much to get my dander up. I’ll never understand why an organization that is not meeting customer expectations thinks it wise to offer even less. Crazy! But parking in a handicap spot, well, this just got personal. It blocked me from lowering the ramp to get Ryan in. I pointed at him (imagine sticking out your index finger in an overly distinct gesture, closing one eye, and looking down your your arm and finger like your aiming it). We he immediately acknowledge me I give him the thumb hitch-motion to get his ass out of there. I felt like a cop directing traffic. He pops his head out:
Postman: Oh, do you need this space?
Me (sarcastically): My question is, do you need this space?
Postman: I can move.
Me (sarcastically): Wow! You would do that? You would sacrifice your convenience for a person entitled to that space? You’re quite the gem.
I planted myself firmly in front of his open vehicle door. It took just a few seconds of some scathing words about being a good citizen, that sounded eerily like my echo from the doorway just a moment ago, and he was finding another spot.
I hate that I’m turning into a big jerk. Actually, my wife will probably tell you I’ve always been one and she’s never wrong! I’m just taking it to a whole other level.