Hookers’N’Dogs

Political Correctness and the Rude Handicapped

This has been bothering me for years. The backstory: While shopping at Maurices (one of two clothing stores in the Copper Country Mall) a clerk was incredibly rude to me and very slow. As she mistakenly rang up my order wrong, she proceeded to blame me with words that actually made me blush and also made my ears ring. It’s true my temper is not a difficult one to induce, but she had no right to treat me like that.

After she was through giving me the total, she held up her hand.  Only it wasn’t the hand we are used to, it was terribly misshapen and had three small and odd-shaped fingers. Upon seeing the hand, I immediately felt sorry about the curse words running through my head and the scowls I threw at my husband (at the time, he was my boyfriend). The rude clerk gave me my bag and my change, and we exited the store.

Safely out of ear shot, Hubs (aka Alan) and I launched into this dialogue:

Me: Now I feel bad. Did you see her hand?

Alan: Why? She was rude to you.

Me: So what, she probably has people staring at her hand all the time.

Alan: That gives her no right to be rude to you. She was rude long before you saw her hand.

Me: That’s true, I don’t even care about her hand. It was her personality that was mean to me.

That day has lingered in my mind for the past four years, and I was reminded of it again this weekend while shopping for (ironically) a golf glove. Alan was with me again, and we were at Target. He was ahead of me, rushing to get to a checkout line. He seemed to be having some weird reaction to florescent lights and the other customers swirling around the store, because normally we are not people that rush to get in line. We are patient and kind shoppers, unlike the next person in my story.

Most people are familiar with the whirring sound of an electric wheelchair or scooter- so imagine the sound getting closer, closer, closer….until your toe is literally an inch away from the wheels running by and there is NOT a small person riding on it. She was on the heavier side, not obese, but big enough to make the possible toe-crunching that much more excruciating.

So yes, I almost got my toes crushed by a woman riding an electric scooter. She wasn’t a regular woman by any means. She was eccentric, and breathing like a dragon. The straw on her head was like porcupine needles, and they jutted out of a black visor with blurred red lettering. Her eyes were frantic and wide, and a little on the bloodshot side. Her clothes were all black, and she barked orders about the merchandise in her scooter basket to a man I assumed was her husband. She was not only rude to me by nearly running over my foot, she was inches from crashing her scooter into Alan’s back and also rude to her husband.

And here come the questions. What is the proper way to deal with these situations? Yes, it is sad the girl at Maurices was born with a defect, and it is unfortunate the woman in Target has to rely on an electric scooter to get around, but why should I be pushed around by these people? If I ever decided to stand up for myself, I would be seen as someone who picks fights with handicapped people.  It’s not their handicaps I am against. It’s their attitudes. And although I am not someone that would ever speak up and point out when someone is being rude, it would still be nice to know how to not be the bad guy in situations like these.

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May 12, 2008 Posted by | by lacecomplex | , , , , , , | 2 Comments