Saturday, August 28, 2010

 

Immobilized


There is a lot of good about this broken ankle and all that comes with it. For one thing, I am forced to deal with the everyday frustrations that people with disabilities deal with all the time. In a life that has and will bring me into contact with friends and loved ones who fall into that category, the empathy which comes with this experience is a very good thing.

Empathy can be hard-earned, though.

This week I had orientation for my new job over on the main St. Thomas campus in St. Paul. The new professors met in a room on the third floor of a large building. On Wednesday, it was announced that we would be doing computer training in the library, and would walk over. Sure enough, everyone headed down the three flights of stairs to the lower exit, leaving me alone in the upper room. I managed to get to the elevator (which on the lower level was hidden away near the kitchen prep area), but finding the library was more difficult. I then had to climb some steps to get to the library entrance, and then searched for the elevator in that building. Someone said to go to the third floor. The elevator, inexplicably, had buttons for floor 3F, 3R, and 3.5 (I'm not making this up). I guessed 3.5, which was apparently wrong, because I then hobbled around that floor not finding anything for a while. Finally, having traversed stairs a few more times, I found the right room and came in twenty minutes late.

When it was time to go, the same thing happened-- everyone walked down the stairs, and I was left once again searching for elevators that were hidden away in a retrofitted building. They took me down to level ".5," which had only an emergency exit, so I made my way up one more level before falling on the stairs out of the building.

At this point I gave up and went to my office in Minneapolis to get some pain meds.

It would have been easy for just one person to have realized that I couldn't walk up and down stairs and offer to go with me from one place to the other to show me the way, but no one did.

If nothing else, what I will take from this is the willingness in the future to be that person, and a certain sense of shame in the fact that in the past I have only rarely been the one who did what was right.

Comments:
Solution: get a gun. I bet if you carried around a gun and shot it off a lot people would pay a lot more attention to you.
 
Does that work for you? In Detroit, it would just make you blend in...
 
So weird that the person teaching the class or directing it, or wahtever would not have said something to you privately or something about... you know a different way to get there... or something... Weird also that not even one person..ANYONE realized realize that you could use a little help or whatever OMG!!!! This is SHOCKING to me!! I just cannot believe it!
 
I don't want to go on and on about this and I don't want to sound as if I am bragging here but I am ALWAYS that person... ALWAYS!! Seriously! Sometimes it is a great way to get to know a person... just to even offer to help or say just anything to make them feel more comfortable - to me it is really truly just - WHY DIDN'T ANYONE DO THIS??????? If you were a total stranger to me in that room, and I was in that group I would have been the first person to just make a silly joke about it or something and then just kind of say.. "OK - let's do this together..." or whatever
 
I'm with Tyd - I'm that person as well. But like you, I would be the person that no one offered to assist. Maybe it is something in our facial expression. I'm the person people ask for help and I offer to help but when I need help - nada.

How much longer in the stink'in cast? Life in your new place will get better when you become mobile. I'm still adjusting to life in Durham 2 yrs later but I live in the sticks and meeting people is a bit more difficult without kids in school or church.

Happy Saturday!
 
Tyd--

A few people did circle back to see where I was, but didn't help me actually get to where I needed to be. It wasn't that big a deal,and I'm sure that I give off the air of not wanting help (because I hate needing help).
 
I propose an interesting cross-cultural experiment:

Now that you have explored the social patterns with respect to the disabled in Minnesota, I suggest that you return to Texas to stage the same experiment.

The hard part will be finding an elevator labeled 3F, 3R, and 3.5.
 
Maybe the Holy Spirit was talking to you, and now through you, to us.

Everyone, regardless of who I am or where I am, regardless of my present life circumstances or location, every person through the Spirit, can choose to do good.

It plays into my sermon tomorrow on Hebrews 13. Thanks, you did good!
 
You've been living in Texas for too long.

We've spoiled you.
 
I am in the Tyd and Christine camp, I am a do-gooder. I am always looking for someone to assist, save or feed. I live for those moments. My enthusiasm has been, at times, rewarded with a colorful telling off (offering to bring down some cokes for a lady in a scooter at the Wal-Mart), so I hesitate ever so slightly before offering.
If you had your grouchy face on, even I might pass you by.

As to being assisted, I also am not the helpless type to inspire knights in shining armor (which rankles a bit, would like to be the recipient of some chivalry) but I have learned how to just ask for help. Don't be afraid to do that, just ask. There are probably a lot of shy yankees up there who would be glad to assist.

If they reject you, well, at least God gave them an opportunity before turning them to salt.
:)
 
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