Just Sayin'

Dear Throng of Able-Bodied People Emerging from the Elevator like a Herd of Sardines Escaping from a Tightly Packed Barrel,

I have no problems with you using the elevators, really I don't. Especially parents of children in strollers, but the rest of you who feel compelled to use an elevator despite the close proximity of an escalator are certainly within your rights to use this miracle of modern conveyances. I'm not sure it's quite a human right (yet), but it certainly is a fantastic invention.

I even don't have a problem - well, much of a problem, anyway - with being packed into such an elevator along a bunch of you with my face in butt height, having to lean over one armrest to make sure I don't make actual physical contact with your derrière while exchanging commiserating glances with the toddler in the stroller next to me. We are all equal in this world and there's room for all of us. Most of the time, anyway and I try not to gnash my teeth too loudly when the herd of people who’ve waited in front of me squeeze themselves into the metal box leaving no room for as much as a feather between them and I bare my teeth smile and say "it's all right, I'll take the next one." After all, we do live in a society that operates on a first-come, first-served basis and as this is the way I operate myself in terms of e.g., arranging my social calendar, I can't very well quibble when on the receiving end of the consequences of this policy. I've been known to occasionally send a glance which I hope says much in the direction of aforementioned escalators or perhaps the stairs immediately next to a bank of elevators – y’know, the stairs that I can't use, but you can - but really. Beyond this mild passive aggressiveness, I suck it up.

However, thing I have some degree of trouble with, dear TABPEEHSETPB, is when I and I alone sit right in front of the doors of the one elevator in a busy downtown mall designated to transport people with disabilities to the various levels in this mall - the blue sign with the grey outline of a wheelchair means it's accessible, just in case you're new to this planet - and watch this group of you spilling out of the small elevator while politely waiting until you are all out until I try to enter and have the doors close in my face. I realize that you're all terribly busy getting to the next shop, but would it kill you to hold the elevator doors open for the cripple? I mean, I'm right there. In front of you. Waiting to use the elevator. That is my only choice for traveling between floors.

I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound like a Grinch, but despite my unwavering devotion to this particular season as my favourite time of all the holidays, my heart remains incapable of growing three sizes in the face of eight ambulatory people rushing past each other - and me - with no attempt whatsoever at keeping the door open for the person waiting. It's simply rude in general - in this kind of situation, it is generally considered good etiquette to take 2 seconds to make sure that the people waiting, be they chaired or not, can enter the doors you just used. However, maybe it's me with my silly sense of apparent entitlement, but if you can walk and I can't, it seems to me that it would behoove a person just that little bit more to extend a helping hand.

Us cripples are like that. Demanding and bitchy. I know I set a bad example and I promise I'll work on being more accepting of your foibles.




Crafty Cripple said…
Yeah I love it when I actually feel fit enough to walk from the taxi to a shop and then back to the taxi rank, and I get a door slammed in my face because I have a bag in one hand and my WALKING STICK in the other.
Colleen Humphreys said…
I always use my crutch to hold doors (regular and elevator) for people.   It freaks people out (because they think that just because i'm on crutches, I can't actually *use* those crutches), but it works.   Crutches work *better* for door holding, because I can stand out of the way, and still reach to keep the door open!
AlisonH said…
The more people there are in a tight spot trying to avoid interacting with strangers, the more they avoid interacting with strangers. It is too rare a gift that someone will take the time simply to notice and do, putting aside the temptation not to. I'm hoping your post will help. (I'm sitting here wishing for your local media to read what you wrote. Get the word out!)
Kitten said…
Seriously?  What schmucks don't hold the doors open for people, disabled or no?
Gaina said…
I used to get this at Uni, mainly with younger students.  My solution? "You, you and YOU - out!".

Never got any tutors giving me greif about it either :P