I wish I could put everyone in a scooter for a day. Then send them into all the expensive clothing stores, jewelry stores, restaurants. Then send them into target and Walmart. I wish everyone could see what it feels like to need to use a scooter. As you can see in the first picture, if you go to a party where everyone is standing then your neck will be craned all night looking up, but hey at least you have your own chair. As you can see though, I am at the perfect level for hands. I am at the level of a 5 year old and so I am often pat and touched as if I were one. Most of the time it is a gentle and kind gesture. But more than once have I been pat on the shoulder or the head while strolling through the mall as if I were a dog. Nice stores like Ann Taylor have their employees glare in hopes you won’t be contagious or contaminating their merchandise. Nice restaurants want to stick your scooter in the back so it isn’t in the way AKA so it looks nice when other patrons come in. Target and Walmart are another story. No one will move when you are coming down the isle. People just look at me and won’t even scoot over so I can get by. They side eye me as an inconvenience that they will not be bothered by. I mean really people, step to the fucking side, it’s not like I’m asking you to actually help me!!!! The funny thing is, when I am in my scooter, I don’t even realize or think about my differences. People often remind me though. I am just rollin along on my merry way minding my own business and trying to just be normal. The second picture was taken shortly after I was diagnosed with the muscle disease. Being pat got old really quickly so then the sign was brought into the picture. I added “or my scooter ” because people also like to lounge and lean on my scooter as if it were a wall they can brace themselves on. It is an extension of myself so it is invasive and unsafe actually to have anyone leaning on my scooter.
I won’t even delve into the process of opening doors, going into dirty bathrooms, or not being able to reach anything! It is an experience that in 11 years I am now completely used to and un phased by all remarks, comments, or discrimination. BUT that is only because I have finally found my voice. In the beginning days I felt very small and very insignificant and as if I needed to conform to other’s ideas of how I needed to be. That was the abused part of me that had no voice. Fortunately that part is gone and I have no problem standing up for myself so I nolonger need the sign. But just incase you didn’t know, if you do see a person in a scooter, don’t pat them. We really don’t like that at all.