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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Friday, September 29, 2006

ISN’T HE CUTE?

I have done well for yesterday’s presentation. Perhaps I should rewrite that last sentence. As usual, I prepared what I had to say. As my luck would have it, I could tell them of a fresh experience that had happened to me just that same day to show them how my physical difference may bring out reactions in people I hardly knew. Yes, disability is a daily job!

My tale follows … (spooky music advised)

As I was being pushed by one of my friends, a lady stopped her and asked where a certain person’s office was located. Obviously, I would not be the one to be asked this information. Why you rightfully ask…
Apparently, disabled people are usually expected to be seen and not heard (especially when accompanied by someone else). But in any case, neither my friend nor myself knew where the person was stationed let alone that she even existed. At that point, I was sighted!

I could tell that she looked at me as she proceeded to tap me on my shoulder … and asked me in a motherly fashion… “Are you alright lovely?” I was caught unaware and must have given her a puzzled expression. It happens that to me sometimes when I’m lost for words. Later on, when my friend and me were at a safe distance from this lady, I burst out laughing.

Now back to the lecture room.

When I was describing how awkward this felt to my audience of students. Being called ‘lovely’ by a lady I barely knew I could hear someone exclaimed from the back, “he’s so cute!” She was obviously referring to moi, which makes me really wonder whether I actually got the message across!

My intention was obviously to highlight the fact that if I were a non-disabled 24 year old, this behavior in my regard would have been uncalled for or downright insulting. However, as I appeared to be ‘vulnerable’, perhaps tired, and thus docile, as I sat on my wheelchair people think that it’s something that I would appreciate. Not that I don’t like to be complemented, but I prefer it when it’s a sincere and honest remark.

I still can’t make out what to think of such a reaction by one of the students. But hopefully some of them got my point, but I suspect others still looked at me as if I was some curious mannequin. And despite the fact that I may appear ‘cute’, I
think what I am goes much deeper and beyond that.

Now off for another conference ...

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