Monday, June 21, 2010

Getting It

I was at the Market the other day, getting myself some red leaf lettuce, leaves crinkled into tight waves of deepest green and darkest red, put a yellow pepper next to it, watching the colors spark off each other. Waiting to cash out, I made funny faces for a little boy in a stroller, not paying much attention to his mother who was similarly laden down with produce. Susanna cashed me out while we chatted amiably - I go there all the time and by now, it is about more than just an exchange of goods for money - and as I start backing up to leave, the mother of the little boy in the stroller said something to me.


"I never knew how inaccessible the city is until this," she said, nodding to the stroller, "I get it now."


It was one of those small moments, of connection, of reality, of two people truly seeing each other. Not always the case when you use a wheelchair - it tends to convey a sort of second skin over you, causing people to see only stereotype, their eyes sliding away from yours. And because she had become a mother, this woman had had the click, the moment when she realized that she shared the experience of a small minority group and so, that mask that is so often put upon me melted away and we were just two people.


And more than that, more than that moment of grace, of shared humanity, this woman will, because she had become a mother, be more aware of barriers and who knows where that may lead. Will she talk about her experience in a way that makes others experience the click, as well? Will she be in a decision-making position where she can make a difference in the design of a business or building, making it more inclusive? Will she raise that little boy just a little differently so he sees just people from the start?


Babies are one of our best allies. More than anything, they help people get it.



p.s. Thanks to the people who said I inspired them in Friday's post. Never expected it. Really. The blushing was rather furious - had no idea a human being could turn that many shades of red.





3 comments:

AlisonH said...

Moments like those make the whole world whole. Thank you, Lene--and to that unknown mom out there.

Diana Troldahl said...

You do inspire us, and many others who may never comment.
The moment of sharing you describe is inspiring me to get off my duff and out of the house again. It is too easy for me to hibernate. 
Chair is charged, I just need to hope I have enough energy left after my shower today.
I am also inspired by my great aunt Ruth, who crafted and wrote despite her RA.

Anonymous said...

It is so true that I didn't really understand access difficulties until first, kids, then, RIck's grand mom, and then, a student who uses a walker; walking places with all of them really brought home to me how hard it can be to get places sometimes when everyone assumes you can get places on two feet and no more.