View From a Wheelchair: To the Man Who Yelled at Me

Watch Where You Are Going

Michigan Avenue. Ugh!

Maneuvering down the crowded sidewalk and dodging people, I call out, “To your left.”

Tourists and Chicagoans alike ignore my warning.  To them, I am just another obstacle in their quest. They continue to cut in front of me. Many don’t even notice me in my big, looming wheelchair.  Because my chair is controlled by a joystick, it has no brakes and rolls to a stop.  If someone were to cut in front of me too quickly or stop too suddenly, there is a high risk of me running into them.  I know that most people do not think about the mechanics of wheelchair driving.  Thus, I try to warn them to watch where they are going; that I am here.  I exist.

I know the dangers.  Seriously, someone could get hurt.  So, as I cruise along in my 355-pound, roll-over-your-foot, knock-you-over, sidewalk-legal, personal-mobility tank, I call out, “To your left.”

Suddenly, a 60-something-year-old man starts to veer to his left, cutting close to my right side. Fearing that I will run into him any second, I call out louder, “Be careful. I’m right here to your left.”

By this time, we are in the middle of the street, and he turns sharply to look at me. “Watch out yourself,” he growls and continues his collision path.

Now, he is dangerously close to being hit.  To ward off an accident, I swerve to my left, narrowingly avoiding a car that had crossed the white line before stopping for the red light.  As I do so, I say, “I have no brakes. It would be terrible if I were to hit you.”

He quickens his pace and yells over his shoulder, “That’s your problem. You need to watch where you’re going!”


 

Just like the crowd on Michigan Avenue, we see others as obstacles to our quest. We look neither to the left, nor the right. Caught up in the day-to-day routines and demands, we put our heads down and forge ahead.

Of course, sir, you are right.  I do need to watch where I am going. In fact, we all do.

 

 

Published by

Rose Wolfe (Living Free with disAbilities)

Let's get to the elephant first: I have myotonic dystrophy which defines my physical limitations, but it does not define me. Without the distraction of physical activities, I have found my passions: (1) Encouraging others to live more fully with fun, faith, and hope; (2) finding freedom in oil painting; (3) writing about my experiences; and (4) encouraging others to live more passionately. It is my belief that every person lives with at least one disability - for impairments are not limited to those with chronic illnesses. Many neurotypical people are psychological architects who have constructed enclosures in which they trap themselves. Mindsets, attitudes, and perceptions are fluid realities. Many of us have forgotten that it is possible how to live beyond our disabilities. Life may have challenges but faith and hope are within reach. I have made my choice: I am LivingFreeWithdisAbilities.

2 thoughts on “View From a Wheelchair: To the Man Who Yelled at Me”

  1. I’m astounded that a person could be so callous, and not because you use a wheelchair, but in general be so egocentric. I write that and in the next turn think to myself, “why are you astounded by bad behavior?” Because I want to be! I want to see it as the exception rather than any kind of norm. When people behave badly like this man did, I think it must be really hard to be that unhappy or un-whatever. Choose happy, choose kind.

    Liked by 1 person

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