So today when I was with my sister at Whole Foods, there were absolutely no parking spaces left in the lot. We ended up parking all the way around the block. Needless to say, in my current health condition (tingling flareups, woohoo), I couldn’t carry my groceries all the way back to the car. And I certainly wasn’t going to impose on my sister to carry all of it. So, we decided that she would drive up to the Whole Foods entrance where I would wait with our bags, and I would load them into the car there. As we were carrying out this plan, there were a few drivers behind my sister’s car in the one lane that goes around the (still full) parking lot. Then, out of nowhere, some random lady comes up to me and says, “You’re blocking traffic.” Well no shit, Sherlock. In my anger and frustration at the reappearance of my health issue symptoms, any politeness check or filter that I normally put on myself and any semblance of shyness went out the window. I immediately turned, looked her straight in the eye, and very tersely said, “I have a physical disability. You are being extremely rude.” She walked away with nary an apology uttered, giving me a look that said “Oh, suuuuuure you are.” So I gave her the finger. Which I don’t often do. But she deserved it. To my surprise, however, another lady who was nearby had heard and seen the whole exchange, and it nearly brought me to tears with what she said in the next moment: “Don’t worry about her, honey. You just do what you’ve got to do.” It’s amazing how you can meet such polar opposite people in the span of less than a minute.
So here’s your moral lesson regarding ableism for the day: Just because someone looks healthy, don’t assume they are. And don’t ever fault them for doing something that helps to ease the burden of their illness. On the outside, I look relatively fine. But on the inside, I am tingly, nauseous, fatigued, in pain, and constantly depressed from all that this mystery illness has put me through.