I find it annoying when other people are with me in public. Let me explain so that you can see things from my point of view. It is not because I do not want to spend time with people because I absolutely do. My perfectly perplexing problem is that I quickly become invisible with others around. I have found that if I do not speak first, I get ignored like last year’s Christmas toys. Here are a few examples of stories so that you can understand my daunting dilemma.
My dad happened to be with me at the bank as I was trying to authenticate and then close a loan account. Right away it started with the banker ignoring me and talking directly to my dad. This attitude was after he explained that this was my account and he was merely transportation. I wanted to nip this in the bud before we got too far into the conversation. I quickly spoke up and said “why don’t you talk directly to ME about MY account? I live alone and handle my bills on my own like a big boy.” I tried to stay polite, but I had a slightly sardonic sound. I got a glance of surprise as well as a cross between a smile and a look of sympathy. However, I think that she finally got it.
At the inception of the house building process for my new home both my parents at different times drove me to the builder’s offices. I still had not said yes, and there were unanswered and unasked questions. Somehow the saleswoman had gotten my mom’s phone number and left a message with her voicemail. The sales rep was calling with some issues that were mine to answer. My mom did not return the call and simply made me aware of this perplexing problem.
I called the saleswoman back and recommended that she look at the application. I politely encouraged her to notice that neither of my parents had their names on the form. I made her aware that it was only my name on the paperwork stating that all questions should go to me. I explained that I would be living alone repeating that neither parent will be living with me. Then as respectfully as I could, I said: “again from now on please direct all queries to me.” I tried to hold it back, but sadly I had a slightly snide sound.
My dad had driven me around all morning, so I offered him lunch. We pulled into the Chipotle parking lot, and we went in and got in line. They were not extremely busy, so we did not have to wait long. I was buying so I went first. As I got to the cashier, she kept looking at my dad. I said that ours were together and handed her my debit card. She rang everything up and then started to give my debit card to my dad. I said loud enough that she was sure to hear “that is MY card that I just handed to you. You can hand it back to ME since I gave it to you.” My annoyance and frustration came out in an extremely embitter tone.
I could stand on my soapbox and tell hundreds of stories like these, but I would start to sound like I was whining. The truth is that when in public the guy or gal in the wheelchair typically gets ignored. If I do not speak first, I tend to get talked “about” but not spoken “to.” Society is getting a little better at accepting the disabled in everyday life. Sadly, we still have a long way to go as individually people have a plethora of unnecessary concerns.
Treat everyone including the disabled with the same respect as the CEO.