The Daughter Chronicles

Monday, May 02, 2005

And What Are YOU Looking At???

Since we now have the van, I have had the opportunity to take Mia out in public in her wheelchair. It is sort of an interesting social experiment for several reasons.

First of all, I've noticed a lot of staring. Mia doesn't "look disabled", so we were able to pretty much be ignored while she was in her stroller. Now, I notice people just staring as if they are trying to figure out what is "wrong" with her. If I meet their gaze, they will usually look away guiltily. I'll admit to an occasional stare, myself. As an example, Several weeks ago I saw a man in a wheelchair getting off the elevator as we were waiting to get on. The stare worthy part was that he had only half a body (from the waist up)--seriously, he was just a torso. It was wrong to stare, but he was strangely fascinating from a "medical miracle" point of view.

If I am in a conversation with someone, I generally don't mind if someone asks politely how Mia came to be in a wheelchair, but I detest those nosy, well-meaning souls who run over to her, and then talk like she isn't capable of understanding what they say. "Ohhhh. What is wrong with the little girl?" I get the idea that these people are the types that spy on their neighbors because they just have to know what is going on. I'm hoping it doesn't happen when she's older, and IS able to understand. I figure I'll get sick of it and start telling them "Nothing is wrong with her. What is wrong with you?"

The second thing I've noticed is that people are a heck of a lot nicer to you when you are hauling around a disabled child. I had sales clerks fawning over her and giving her cookies today. Of course as the prettiest little girl in the world, she should have people fawning over her, so that is OK.

All in all, it has been a positive experience. I think Mia enjoys having a higher vantage point both in the van, and in her wheelchair. I also feel safer in the van. Until the accident, I believed that us driving safely and a carefully researched, $130.00 car seat was enough to keep her safe. Now, I realize that the one thing we can't control is all the idiots on the road who are not paying attention, speeding, and/or weaving around everyone else. I can't help but feel that Mia would not have been injured if we'd had a larger vehicle. This article reminded me of that.


  • if anything is in the least different in appearance from what most people are accustomed to seeing, there will be staring. always and forevermore.

    it bugs me, frankly --- i'm not, thank god, confined to a wheelchair, and i don't understand why everyone on a bus needs to watch every detail of the wheelchair guy getting on. all i can think is "such stupid sheep..."

    By Blogger N, at 3/5/05 7:09 PM  

  • Good point. I suppose it's the "accident" phenomenon - something different, as you said, so we need to stare. I haven't been out with Mia and the chair yet, so I'll have to see what reaction we get.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3/5/05 9:16 PM  

  • Hey!
    Wow thanks for replying to my blog! I'm glad I give you hope for our future :) Don't worry, though there are few, there are some more like me out there. :)

    Anyway- Isnt that weird that people our nicer when someone is disabled or handicapped in some way. ...Why don't we just treat everyone just as nice? The world would be a much better place. However, that won't ever happen.

    Well, I'm glad you got that van and a car-seat for her. Keeping her safe is defentially one of the most important things :)

    Hopefully you won't run into as many people that have a stareing problem when you go into town next time.

    I will link you also once my dad teaches me how :)

    By Blogger }|{ Butterfly }|{, at 4/5/05 8:29 PM  

  • Thanks Shannon--I still need to figure out the sidebar links, too. I'll link to you, too. I always enjoy your posts.

    By Blogger Krys, at 6/5/05 9:41 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/11/10 7:20 PM  

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