Sunday, April 14, 2013

Privilege Guilt

So first off, I never, ever manage to spell privilege correctly on the first try. I get it wrong, and the little spell check line pops up, and I never ever get it right. Let that be the background for tonight's entertainment.

I took the last allergy pill yesterday. Not the last in the whole world, just the last one in my apartment. So, of course, I don't go down to the store to purchase more until tonight about three hours after my usual dose so it is dark and scary (though not actually all that scary). I get a different brand than usual because the stuff I was taking wasn't working all that well. The stuff I do get is pink and the size of my thumb. Seriously, this shit better work, because I will be swallowing a thumb every day for a month and that is not my idea of a good time. Also I get some more toothpaste, because I totally would have run out pretty soon.

So I am walking back home, in the dark, along the sidewalk. I cross a driveway as a car is coming out, so I pick up the pace a little. There is a man in front of me with a pretty hefty cane and two prosthetic feet. Possibly more than just feet, but he is wearing those shorts that cut off halfway up the shin, so I can't really tell. Anyway, with the cane and the prosthesis he isn't walking very fast and I have always been a fast walker, so I walk around him on the sidewalk and carry on about my business.

At which point I think to my self, oh shit, did I just do something insensitive and offensive without realizing it? Was passing him on the sidewalk another slap in the face, another taunt of why you going so slow, cripple? Have I just made his evening substantially worse?

But what should I have done? Should I have slowed down and followed like a creeper? Gone real slow and hope he didn't notice? But wouldn't that be treating him differently, drawing attention to his disability? Or should I call it a condition?

Or I could walk up and talk to him, enriching both our lives and providing an excuse to match his pace. NO. SOCIAL INTERACTION IS UNACCEPTABLE.

And then I thought, wait, shouldn't I be blind to this sort of thing? Am I a bad person for worrying about it, because I have defined this fellow in my head, a guy who could be all sorts of things like a painter or a brain surgeon or what have you, by his disability/condition/differently-abledness? Or should I be worried about how I react to it, because there is something I should be doing in this situation but I am not and somehow the only thing I can be certain of is that I am racist, but for crippled people (also regular racist, and sexist, and religionist, and probably directly responsible for slavery, genocide, and the cancelling of Firefly).

Then I thought to myself; That guy probably has problems in his life. I also have problems in my life, though probably I have fewer problems. I am going to worry about my problems, and not worry about the problems I don't have, and instead be happy I don't have problems. Then I am going to watch some Dr. Who, because apparently (another word I never spell correctly) the season started two weeks ago and no one told me.

Way to let me down, internet.

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