Daily Life

What Happened To You?

Hello….it’s me….

That was my best Adele voice.

It’s been a really long time. My bad. I also forgot to post this even though I wrote it in December…ish. My bad. School has kept me super busy. But I have a couple minutes to post this now. Yay!

It was just another weekday back in the fall. I was coming home from school. I exited the subway, climbed up the steps holding the railing in my right hand and my crutches in my left hand (the station near where I live is not accessible –– shocker) when a boy who looked about seventeen started talking to me.

Whoever’s reading this might not know this about me, but I’m pretty introverted. If I can get to point A to point B without interacting with anyone, I consider that journey a success. I like to keep to myself and mind my own business most of the time. So imagine my surprise and slight discomfort when this person started talking out of thin air.

“What happened to you?”

Here we go again! I found myself wishing I could predict when people were going to ask me questions like that. What happened to you? What’s wrong with your legs? Why do you walk like that? You know, so I could ignore them. Just breeze right by, crutches and all, and mind my own business. My preferred state. Or so I could think of a good reply. Really, you’d think that I have my responses perfectly curated by now, since I have so much experience and all. Like I have them saved in a special little box and can pull them out whenever I want. Well, I don’t. Surprised? Yes? I know. It’s because 1) I’m not psychic and 2) I’m baffled that others still think it’s acceptable to ask me questions like what happened to you?.

Newsflash: it’s not acceptable. It’s rude. Intrusive. I can’t believe I have to explain why, but I guess if I don’t, there’d be no blog post. Rude and intrusive questions are never welcome. They just make me mad and I cringe. For crying out loud, I was just trying to get home. Guess a peaceful walk down the block was not in the cards for me that day. Also, I had to wonder why this stranger wanted to know anything about me. I just walk with crutches. And maybe it’s because I’m so used to them… but honestly it’s not like crutches are particularly noteworthy or interesting. They’re just assistive devices. They help me walk. That’s all.

“Nothing.” I responded in the smallest way possible to shut this stranger down. What was I going to do, tell him my life story on the street corner in front of the pharmacy? No thanks.

“Did you hurt yourself or something?”

Ugh. He kept talking! Was my one-word response not enough before? Guess not. I shut him down again. “No.”

I moved past him, as quickly as I could without risking a fall. Because that would’ve been the last thing I needed to happen: falling flat on my face and embarrassing myself in front of him. I carefully crossed the street and successfully made it to my block.

You might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Isolated incidents are not, I guess. But when stuff like that happens repeatedly, like every other day, it gets really irritating. I mean, what am I, on display because I walk differently? Why do some people think they have free license to ask me whatever they want? Answers: I’m not and they don’t.

Children are different. I make an exception for them. They’re naturally curious and don’t know any better. But this guy? Even if he wasn’t seventeen and was actually younger, he looked old enough to know about, oh I don’t know…. manners. Come on, dude.

This post probably sounds really defensive. These encounters just get really old after a while. Actually, if you go ahead and look up “annoying” in the dictionary, you’d see this scenario.

It has happened my entire life, like when I was about six and some nosy fellow six year old girl with wiry glasses asked what’s wrong with you? when I was just trying to play on the jungle gym. In fact, I think I answered the same way all those years ago. Nothing! although, as you can tell by the exclamation point, I had more attitude back then. I cared much less in those days, about what people thought and everything. Still, her question left a bad taste in my mouth. Guess some things never change.

I’ve talked about this topic a lot. Probably because it keeps happening. If you’re fed up with reading about it, maybe you can make some kind of announcement and tell people like your friends, strangers, whatever, to leave disabled people the heck alone. We don’t owe you information. Or, you know, if you’re fed up you could just….stop reading. That’s ok too. I might be a little sad because I like having readers, but I’ll understand. I try to just write about stuff that sticks out to me.

Ok. End scene. I’m going to go back into law school hibernation. For those that stuck through this, thanks for reading. I appreciate you. Bye!