How To Deal with Walkies and Their Strange Ideas About “Wheelchair Humor”
A couple of weeks ago I took a roll down to my favorite rib joint (I like their fish), to get a take out order. I had almost made it home, I was in the parking lot actually, when a truck stopped behind me, and the guy inside stuck his head out the window and yelled “Hey man, you wanna race?”
I looked in the bed of the truck to see if he had a wheelchair. No wheelchair. This was a walkie I was dealing with here!
Now, ever since I started this blog and started reading what other people in wheelchairs have had to say about the weird, uncomfortable comments they get from people, I had been looking forward to a situation like this, so I could come up with something great to say back.
But I had nothing. I just said “Uh…no” and laughed and rolled away. I spent the night angry with myself. I brood over stuff like that.
I thought what I should have said is “No, I don’t have an engine.” You know. Point out the obvious advantage he had and how pointless it would be to race. Fake an absence of a sense of humor. Today I rolled down to that same rib joint to get myself another fish sandwich and in that same parking lot on the way home, another guy stopped his truck, stuck his head out his window and said “Wanna race?!”
Keeping in mind the obvious advantage he had over me in a race, I thought, let’s see if we can’t even the playing field here a bit. I stopped and turned and said “You wanna arm-wrestle?”
He rolled up his window and drove away.
Now, the important thing to remember, is, I think anyway, that nobody does this with the goal of being a jerk. They just don’t know that a lot of us in chairs think it’s a little embarrassing, and some feel it’s flat out offensive. But it’s important that we let them know.