Saturday, May 24, 2008

Connect the Dots

After years of trying to figure out what exactly is it about my disability that other people (especially my classmates) don't get, I think I've stumbled onto an epiphany. They don't connect the dots!

Let me explain further. Yesterday I was meeting with my group for my English project (which was hell in and of itself, I had to traipse around a very hilly park while we shot ten minutes of footage for a project I've started to hate). There was an incident in which we all went to the bathroom to wash war paint made of lipstick off our faces (don't ask), and the other, oh, five or six members of my group were about a mile ahead of me. After finally realizing that one of the group (namely, ME) was struggling to keep up, they slowed down a little bit. I said: "It's ok, I'm kind of used to being left in the dust." Which is true. It's something I barely notice anymore. They got all apologetic and were like "Oh, we're sorry, we didn't mean to." This is what irks me about people. They think it's something THEY did. It's not. I was just stating a fact.

Another example: Later in the group project get-together I was trying to get up from a sitting position. This is not exceedingly hard for me, although I do prefer it if there's some stable piece of furniture near that I can hang onto to get myself up. I can get myself up without holding onto anything fairly well though. But in this particular instance, it was on a hill, and I was having a little bit of trouble. I got about halfway up before I fell on my butt. My whole group was like "Are you OK?" I was like "Yeah, this happens to me all the time, you can ask my friends." Then came the very uncomfortable "Oh" from my group members. You know. The type when you explain something about your disability and they really have absolutely no idea what to say.

Now, I had my crutch with me this whole time, and since they're in my classes, they know that I'm disabled and use a crutch, that I type on an Alpha-Smart and that I leave five minutes early from class. The thing is, I don't think they connect the dots. They know I use a crutch, but they don't connect that with walking slow, or balance problems or any of that stuff. You know, I would expect people not to pick up on the upper body problems I have, because those aren't ask obvious, but I never thought that people don't pick up on the lower body stuff. At the very least, I thought they'd realize I walk slow. Guess not. Connect the dots, people, it's not that hard.