A few months ago I wrote about my realisation about how the disabled were treated after my stroke in February. It wasn’t a nice realisation that although the overwhelming majority of people were great or fine, a small core of people just couldn’t care less veering to the contemptuous of people’s disability.
In the last week I’ve been nearly knocked to my feet three times by prams, once by a pensioner who decided that pushing past me at the grocers was something fun to do and I’ve nearly been knocked over by a car reversing without looking where it was going, though that last one did see me telling the driver they were a prick with the agreement of a couple of passers-by. Then there was yet again the bus journeys where people were more obsessed with staring at their phones than offering me a seat. One journey someone did point out there was a seat at the back, but with only one fully functioning limb at the moment I don’t want to struggle down a crowded bus to then struggle to sit on a raised seat. I’ve even had someone at work barge past me not to mention I’ve had an argument with a manager because having a hoodie on my desk breeched a ridiculously overblown clean desk policy. That one went to me telling them if they have an issue we’ll take it off the floor and I’d explain to them why they were being a bastard in detail.
Look, I’m not crying out from a sense of entitlement. I didn’t ask to have a stroke or have cancer. It happened and I’m dealing with it with as much humour as I can when you’ve nearly died a couple of times in a few months. What I am saying (again) is to when you see someone like myself with a walking stick and you don’t see any obvious infirmities it’s not a case I’m ‘feckless’, it’s because my right leg doesn’t work like it did four months ago.
As I’ve said previously, much of this attitude is because successive UK governments have hammered on the disabled as it’s easy as after all, they’re almost invisible to these sort of people. The last Labour government (let’s not forget it was Yvette Cooper that introduced ATOS to screen diabled people) and this current Tory government have demonised and attacked the disabled helping to create an atmosphere where people can look at the disabled not with compassion, but apathy or contempt.
Now I don’t consider myself disabled, but effectively I am until I recover, assuming I ever do get a full recovery as I’m only just over three months out of have a stroke and a month out of having major surgery. I have to face up to the fact I may never get back to where I was, but in the overall scheme of things I’m alive and 80% of people are fine. There’s 20% who are, frankly, cunts. I can only imagine what people in worse states than me face, but I now have an idea and it’s not nice.
So, if you’re reading this and you’ve avoided getting up to offer someone hobbling around with a stick a seat because you’ve muttered under your breath ‘they look alright’ (hey kids, I can lip read) or just looked away because Candy Crush Saga is more important to you, then perhaps for the sake of your own humanity you get up and offer the person struggling to just live their life as normally as possible a little bit of comfort for even a short journey. Imagine what you’d like people to do if you were in that situation and what you’d like to make things better, and stop being a self-obsessed inhuman prick.
And breathe out……