Let’s talk about something awkward, shall we?
You know when you’re walking through a crowd, or squeezing through a tight space, or trying to get around a slow mall-walker (this isn’t the botanical gardens, lady– pick up the pace!) so you offer a polite “Pardon me…” to get by? Just a little phrase to let strangers know you need to squeeze through?
You should try that with a wheelchair.
Because people are crazy.
And it’s hilarious.
I don’t know what it is (just kidding, I know exactly what it is– people in wheelchairs bite) but folks get real agitated, jumpy even, when we ask to pass. They begin calmly enough but the moment their eyes alight on those wheels they’re diving away from the chair like startled house cats, apologizing as if they just ran over our cherished family pet, and giving Sim “space” like he’s the gosh darn Queen of Sheba. Sometimes they even grab other strangers–the ones who haven’t seen us yet–and start yanking them out of our way in a violent attempt to clear a path. I half expect people to start ringing church bells, shouting “Make way! Make way! His Royal Highness approaches!”
At first I thought maybe it was me. I’m a frazzled mom. Perhaps I look damsel-in-distressy, perhaps my face says “get out of my way!” but– nope. The same thing happens when I’m out with adults who use chairs or other folks with wheeling kids. It would be super awkward if it wasn’t so funny.
Since I’m sure y’all have missed my poorly executed doodles, let me illustrate the situation for you.
Scenario One: Observe this normal human interaction…
Now I know how hot lava feels (if hot lava needed to get to the children’s section at the library or to the zoo’s gorilla exhibit).
So, my friends, consider this a PSA. If a person using a wheelchair asks to pass, try to behave like that chilled out stranger in scenario one. Don’t be anxious. Don’t sweat it. Don’t start spewing stress lightning. Just step to the side and smile. I promise not to let Sim bite you.