Hands up everyone who has received the huge compliment "you don't look disabled." Yep. Most of you – thought so! I usually respond with a big smile and say "Thank You!" to the patronising, narrow-minded, blind-sighted git who made the remark.
Other idiots take it one step further: "you're not disabled." This has been said to me MANY times; respond with the exclamation: "I'M CURED!" and throw your arms around them in a huge embrace and they will be CONVINCED that there's something wrong with you – possibly in the head.
After a weekend in Manchester with the boyfriend to see the mighty Green Day I received an array of these unwelcome comments. While I'm pleased that I don't look like I've got a chronic debilitating disease, I also find it INFURIATING that people assume that a disability can be discovered with the aid of a quick onceover with their beady eyes. Seriously, what do they think we have doctors for when every Tom, Dick and Sally think they are qualified to make these judgements?
The worst I encountered was a stupid whore waitress, whom when asked "could you tell me where the disabled loos are please?" Responded by slowly looking me up and down, narrowing her eyes and remarking "for you?!" My temper wanted to exclaim – "No you stupid bitch. For my imaginary crippled friend lolling behind me in a wheelchair with no legs and one eye, which would clearly satisfy your idea of what it is to be disabled." I actually responded by calmly narrowing my eyes back at her and simply stating "Yes, for me." To this, she turned away and sniggered. She
actually sniggered!! Needless to say, we did NOT eat in San Carlos, Manchester.
To say I was enraged is to put it lightly. I actually wanted to smack the disgraceful bint.
It seems that anyone who hasn't come face to face with someone who has a disability assumes there has to be signs, indicators that we are worthy of using a toilet we can actually get up from unaided.
Other than my splint, which although I wear all the time I keep covered with arm warmers, there are no outward indicators of what's wrong with me. I'm too stubborn to use a wheelchair. I would rather drive and park close to where I'm going, or if I want a drink, pay for cabs several times a night. And I can't use walking sticks or crutches as my hands are so damn crap. I hold onto my boyfriends arm instead.
I think some people would like to see the Nazi idea reintroduced. Only instead of forcing Jews to wear stars all the time, they would like to see disabled folk brandished with big blue badges stating: "I AM GIMP".
I'd rather continue to have arguments every time I need a pee in a restaurant.
Next time someone gives me that kind of grief again, I plan to look them squarely in the eyes and say: "No, I'm lucky I don't look disabled. It must be so unfortunate for you that you do."