I was out yesterday with my sister, mother and nephew in Walmart. They walked away for a moment and while I was alone looking at something on a shelf , a woman pushing a large cart came toward me sideways. Instead of asking me to move, she banged the cart into the side of my wheelchair.
I've seen this type of rude and boorish behavior before. I was in her way and she is - well - able bodied. Never mind that there were half a dozen other people - also able bodied- who could have moved out of her way. She saw the wheelchair and I was the one in her way.
I asked her to wait a moment since I was looking at something. She didn't look at me or answer me, but banged my chair again.
A primitive approach, I thought. But since I am forced by our so called health care system to pay for my own repairs, I turned and began to move on. I just can't swing expensive repairs to my wheelchair.
The able bodied bystanders watched, holding items in their hands, continuing to shop (lucky them!) saying nothing until I was out of *her* way. None of them were asked or expected to move by her. I saw and heard no sign that anyone really cared that I was literally pushed around the store by another customer.
Without a word, she was able to get her privileged little way. It was easy for her. I had to choose between principle and the very real fact that I need my wheelchair intact. And those standing by made their choice too not to say or do anything.
So I have my wheelchair intact. My sister ran over and asked if I was okay. I went back and looked at the item I needed. And some would say this was just a minor inconvenience for me, I suppose, and that it isn't such a big deal. Or that it's not a big deal that when I'm out with able bodied people, I don't get pushed around as much.
Buying into that philosophy, of course, means things don't change and privilege continues.