Friday, January 11, 2008

Mirror, mirror

I did what I sneered at in the past. I committed a disabled person no-no.

We were standing in line at the local buy in bulk store. I was chatting with my Mom when I noticed the guy waiting in line after us. It wasn't that he was cute (horrors! I missed that!) because what attracted me was the brace on his leg. I couldn't stop staring at it. He was wearing the kind of brace that my doctors are suggesting I use after my tendon release. By the way, girls, it is fugly. No way around it. Instead of my little black velcro crap, the brace is knee high and covered in velcro straps. It is a velcro monster. We all know how much I love velcro!!

So, I wheeled up to him and said (with my cheerleader pom poms waving metaphorically in the air), "Did you have a foot release? Is that the brace they gave you after surgery?" Can you see me CRINGING as I write this down? I didn't even say, "hello, excuse me, pardon me for being an ignorant bitch..." and then I made it worse. He kindly said that,"...the brace was to help him walk. He had suffered a bad infection and his leg wouldn't last." I, ever chirpily, replied, "oh, good for you!" He looked at me like I had eaten a bowl of shit (which I really did this time) and said to me, "No, they're cutting it off" as he gestured with a slicing motion to below his knee. Again. I. did. not. get. it. I replied, "Oh, me too! Mine is coming off also!!" I practically sang it out for anyone in line to hear. I sounded excited. This guy was not amused. I swear, I thought my face was on fire it was so hot. I'm not one to embarrass easily, but when I do it to myself, what can I say? I smiled and told him good luck, he just turned away. If I could have slinked away, I would have slunked as low as I could...because that's the way I felt.

I forget that other people facing amputation might not be as adapted to the idea as I have become. Sometimes I get so high up on my soapbox about all the inconsiderate people I run into, I forget that one clumsy misstep and there I fall. I fell fast and hard. I deserved it. I forgot, in my excitement, that perhaps he, like me, didn't want to be reminded by a total stranger about his own disability.

Mister - if you're out there, I'm sorry. I opened my mouth and swallowed my left foot - it's bigger so I figured that's the one I should insert. Nothing like a big bitch slap of humility to take me down a notch. Sigh.


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