Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It's hard to get lost in a crowd when you're in a wheelchair in a small city. Being visible helps my cause and most often I love meeting new people in unusual places and being pulled into new situations. But sometimes you just want to be private. Sometimes you just want to be unnoticed. It was a little shocking to me when I discovered a few years ago that bus drivers gossiped about where they saw me and who they saw me with. Not that there was anything scandalous about what I was doing, but it seemed strange. They see hundreds of people every day, faces they will never remember, yet I stood out. Sometimes you just want to simply ride a bus, get from one place to another. I've had a number of issues with some bus drivers years ago most of whom are wonderful lovely people. And I'm friends with some of them as I try to be civil and respectful to all.  But I also remember a couple of situations when they would take it very personally that I would board their bus at a particular time and not in a good way. Apparently some routes were allowed to shorten their routes on the last run if they had no passengers. Sometimes I would get the attitude and I would be singled out  because I would just happen to be on it. It was not personal to me, I was just using the service. But because they knew me they felt we had some form of personal  relationship and owed them some higher form of courtesy. And all I was trying to do is get home. I didn't care who happens to be driving the bus at that time.
A lot of times people remember me from somewhere. They either met me and we had a conversation on the bus in the passing, they saw me somewhere or they heard of me through a friend. "We were on a bus and you were very funny" is what I get a lot. The sad part is that they are more likely to remember me then I am them. I see dozens new faces every day and I like meeting new people. I take the bus almost every day. There aren't as many foreigners in wheelchairs. And the expectation is if they remember me I should remember them. Now I'm all for making new friends and many people making a lasting impression but most are just brief encounters. At the same time people get on and off a bus, pass through Starbucks every day, never noticed, never bothered. Again,  it's not that being approached bothers me- most of the time I love it when people come up. But sometimes I just wish that boarding a bus or taking a ride in my friend's car wasn't such a big production that always attracts attention.

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