That’s me last year at New Frontiers Grocery Store in Flagstaff, Arizona, on a motorized shopping car. Before I got sick last year, I never dreamed that I would be one of Those People. You know, those people who use the electric carts when they are out shopping. The ones that “regular” people look at and sort of roll their eyes discreetly or get that look on their face that says “You aren’t disabled, why are you on that cart?” Before I got sick and had to use them, I never knew that “regular” people could be so rude and thoughtless.
No, I do NOT look like I am disabled when you see me out in public. I am NOT missing a limb. I am not nor do I look like I am 95 years old. I do not have any indication that there is a problem with my body that does not allow me to walk more than about fifty feet without having to sit down.
Yet, I AM that person on that electric cart. I DO have a disability that keeps me from being able to walk through the entire grocery store or through Wal-Mart, or the mall. I am in pain twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and if I exert myself today enough to walk through the grocery store, I will not be able to get out of my recliner tomorrow. It is just a fact of MY life. A fact that I do not want, nor am I ready for. So, I do not understand the people who think that I am just too lazy or too fat, or too whatever, to get off that cart and walk.
I do not understand the people who just stand there in your way, who do not offer to move out of the way, if you come up on the cart and all you want to do is get by to finish your shopping so you can go home. I have become someone who hates to go out in public because I hate the way people look at me when I am riding on a cart. Why is it that if you do what you have to do to survive in what has become your world, people think less of you.
It is so apparent in the looks and on the faces of people out there in public that they think that all of us who have been afflicted in some way are just faking it. Do you REALLY think I get on that cart for the fun of it? If you are one of those regular people who thinks this way, you should try an experiment.
Go to your favorite store, just once, and get on one of those carts. Go on a Friday or a Saturday for best results in the experiment. Drive that cart through the entire store, just going about your daily business, trying to buy your groceries or whatever you are there for. See how many times people will just step in your way. See how many times people will look at you and get a “look” on their face. See how many times you become invisible to the world, in plain sight of others. It is not fun to ride that ride.
Vent over. You may continue with your life now.