I think I must have one of those faces. You know the kind: friends confide their deepest secrets, fellow passengers want to start deep and meaningful conversations, complete strangers confide their innermost worries and fears. Not that I’m complaining, I kind of like it. But it does come at a price.
This face that elicits feelings of trust and confidence also seems to have an invisible sign. It sits on my forehead, and only the truly batshit crazy can see it. Not being completely batshit crazy myself (although I have come close on numerous occasions) it isn’t visible to me, but I think these words must be ingrained onto my flesh:
Hello do you have something completely random and probably disconcerting to say? Stop me and tell me all about it.
Yep, my forehead is pretty large. Either that or the font is really small.
How does this sign on my forehead affect me? Let’s put it this way; in a crowd of hundreds I would be the one chosen by a person wearing a purple mohican, grass skirt and making chicken noises as the perfect companion for a four hour train journey. ( True story).
My life has been filled with conversations about the attributes of cooking oil, our alien overlords, the tiny people who live in our laptops, how to check my home for bugs (of the listening kind), which washing powder is laced with arsenic and how to talk to pigs.
And you know what? Although these conversations can sometimes be draining, I really don’t mind. These people certainly have problems, maybe it’s helps to have someone listen to them.
Nope, the completely batshit crazy I can deal with. The slightly unhinged who feel that being so gives them the right to set free their nastiness onto the world at large I can’t.
Take Yesterday For Instance
There I was minding my own business standing in a supermarket queue. “Busy today isn’t it?” said the lady behind me.
“Yes,” I said smiling. “You would think they’re giving food away.”
Scary lady (obviously not her real name, this is what I christened her for reasons which will become obvious) smiled. “Maybe what we need is a good, old fashioned cull.”
Now call me daft, but I honestly thought that I had misunderstood. She could not possibly have meant what I thought she meant, could she? She soon shattered my confusion.
“If I were in charge I’d start with the disabled. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t contribute to society then you have no right to live in it.”
It was at this point that my brain froze. I could think of absolutely nothing to say, so just stood there open-mouthed. Taking my silence as encouragement she continued.
“We’d need to start with enforced abortion of course. Testing would be mandatory, your baby falls short of perfection it’s gone.” Now is it me, or does that sound familiar?
“Er, this really isn’t a conversation I wish to continue,” I said. “You obviously have very strong, very discriminatory views.”
“Me!” she said somewhat aghast. “I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”
So not only did this woman have the most appalling views, she also didn’t have the greatest grasp of the English language. “So it’s only disabled people you hate then?” I said.
“Oh I don’t hate them, I simply feel they shouldn’t exist.”
Jeez, well that’s OK then. “So you feel that I shouldn’t exist?” I said.
“You, there’s nothing wrong with you!” she snorted.
“Well, technically, epilepsy is a disability. Being disabled is, in your eyes, some kind of a crime. So therefore I shouldn’t exist. I shall be sure to tell my employees, my tenants, my business partners and my readers that I’m ever so sorry to have taken up their time. I am clearly not worthy enough to breathe the same air as them, or you!!”
“Your missing my point,” said scary lady. “You don’t LOOK disabled, if you were missing your arms that would be different!”
My jaw almost hit the floor. In my own mind I am a pretty understanding person. I try to see the good in everyone, and I truly believe that we all have the right to our own opinions. But seriously??!! I am still seething.
I then pointed out that her dress was tucked into her knickers and joined another queue. It wasn’t, but I couldn’t resist a parting jibe.
Before I go and take some deep, calming breaths I would like to point out that I don’t see myself as having a disability. Although my epilepsy does sometimes intrude on my determination to live a ‘normal’ life, I see it as something I live with – not suffer from. I also understand that some sufferers simply have no choice other than to accept the help that they absolutely NEED – I used to be one of them.
Labels don’t bother me. Just don’t look through me, or dismiss me as ‘worthless’ because I have a ‘disability’. Unless you’re batshit crazy, then go ahead and look through me all you want! 😉