Back in November I wrote a post about how I saw myself not as “disabled”, but “differently abled”. While I still believe that, the reality of my situation comes up and bites me once in awhile.
My hands are getting more and more crippled up with arthritis and FM flares do not help the situation. I am finding my fine motor skills are not what they used to be. Plus, my right ankle keeps “giving out” every once in awhile and though I don’t always fall, I feel like I will and it is hard to regain my balance.
Yesterday I took my neighbour’s 10 year old daughter, Emma, to see “Minions”. We were both very excited about this and I had to cancel out on Friday because I had not slept much the night before, so nothing was going to stop me on Saturday. I pre-purchased the tickets online and we made sure we were getting there a little early. We were just going to the regular show, not 3D. After purchasing our popcorn and drinks we headed to the theatre.
The main level row of seats, which is designated for people with needs, was full with families. On observing my cane, the first woman said I could take the one seat on the end that was reserved for handicapped people. I said I had someone with me and that the whole row is designated if needed. Then I saw some seats near the other end but the man said those were for his wife and daughter. I said that I needed a seat in this row, but he still refused. We saw that the last two seats were empty so I headed for those, but tripped on the man’s foot, with my popcorn and drink flying everywhere. I did not fall, but by this point was very flustered. I can not honestly say if the trip was on purpose or just an accident, but I said, frustrated and humiliated “that’s it, we are out of here”. A guy from an upper row said “Come on, lady, chill out”. Clearly these people have never walked a foot in the shoes of a disabled person.
We went to the entrance and I told someone they needed to do a clean-up or people would be tripping on it in the dark and asked to see the manager. She was so kind. I am usually not one to complain about situations but I actually asked if we could be upgraded to the 3D movie because I didn’t want to let Emma down. The woman apologized for what happened and said most certainly. Plus, she got me new snacks (up-sizing them without me asking), carried it for me down to a bench near the new theatre, got one of the staff to reserve seats for us when the previous movie ended and having him take us there.
Now one thing I need to add (and I told her this), that I was not proud of is when the guy called out from above, I swore at him. This is not normal for me, but I was just humiliated and frustrated. And really, it just made me look more like I was mad because I didn’t get my own way. I also realize that it may have looked like I had thrown my stuff down after I tripped and spilled the popcorn, but the flimsy tray they gave me just collapsed in my unsteady fingertips.
I am writing this not to complain or do a “woe is me”. On the contrary, I am quite amazed at myself that I was able to go talk to the manager and do good by Emma, who was very upset about how I was treated. I also find myself enlightened into the world of disability and want to see what I can do to educate people. I am constantly reminded how God let’s things happen for a reason and I do believe this was a teaching moment for me.
I am no stranger to “invisible illness” with bipolar and chronic pain; however, I always have had positive reactions to my cane. People go out of their way to help me even when it isn’t necessary. This is the first time that it meant nothing to these people. And I don’t blame any of them. That row is perfect for families with young children who can’t see elsewhere or move around a lot. And they are totally allowed to sit there, they just need to make room if necessary. Plus, there should have been a staff member around, but there wasn’t.
Oh, and we absolutely loved the movie! The 3D, which I don’t usually care for, made it all the better.