28 July 2013

My Disability Is None of Your Business

To be technical, I would not consider myself a person with a disability, though I do have asthma. But lately, I have had a temporary disability, that being tendinitis. I have De Quervain's Tendintis, which is a painful, slow-recovery tendintis that runs alongside the thumb down the inside of the wrist. Basically anytime I use my thumb or wrist, it hurts.

It's from over-use; typing too much at work. It hurts when I type, open a door, lift something, wash a dish, when someone squeezes my hand, when I clap, when I brush my hair - it hurts. Anti-inflammatories and a big black ugly brace help me.

I've been getting sick of strangers approaching me. Friends, I don't mind. They know me. But strangers? That's just...rude. I swallowed it and politely told everyone for the first month and a half...but then I started to snap.

A security guard in the airport came up to me as I was reading a book, waiting for my parents to arrive. "What happened to your hand?"

"I don't think that's really your business. Do you ask people in wheelchairs why they are in wheelchairs? Do you say, 'What's wrong with your legs?'"

He awkwardly backed away, muttering something. I was seething.

Why do people need to know? My friends might be curious and concerned, but strangers - that's not their business. They're not a part of my life.

My mother told me I should say something rather xxx rated, which would have been a little shocking even for me to say. But as my mother and I recently were purchasing things at Lord & Taylor, the cashier felt the need to inquire, "What happened?" Not - "Are you okay?" "Do you have pain holding that - should I rearrange this?" - but "I'm nosy and want to know what's going on." Probably she sees it as she's trying to make polite conversation.

"Oh," I said breezily, watching her layer tissue paper around the delicate lacy pastel green bra. "I punched someone in the face."

She seemed a little shocked. "Uh..."

I meant to say, "I'm kidding," but somehow didn't.

"Oh, he was a jerk, he deserved it."

My mom and I walked out of the store, giggling. Oh, but if they just kept to themselves...I really don't want to explain multiple times what is wrong with me, what I am doing about it, what the prognosis is. If there isn't a reason for asking, don't.

1 comment:

Erminia Cavins@Parmele Law Firm said...

That was witty, Cherie, though surprisingly unexpected. I think it's not the cashier's fault that she asked at a time when you're already getting full of the topic, as she didn't know. But people, in general, should learn how to tone down curiosity, or at least know when it is okay to ask. Consideration and sensitivity should be a two-way thing, after all.