24 May 2010

Just because...

Just because you have a disability, do you automatically have the right to be an asshole? Kel and I were discussing this with relation to Artie on Glee, (I still maintain that his emotional outbursts are extremely judgmental and lack justification) but today this issue really hit home. Let me explain...

Today on the T there happened to be a blind woman in a wheelchair. She was accompanied by a man who, despite being unclear as to whether or not he had a disability, had a seeing eye dog (while still being able to maneuver around the car with ease). We reached their stop, and which point the woman started attempting to prepare her chair for backing out of the car. Her friend held his arm in the door so that there would be time for her to exit, and everyone moved out of the way so that she would have enough of a turning radius. Then, it happened.

First came the people attempting to get on the T, who couldn't see that she was eventually going to be exiting (she was still turning). "Hey! Watch it!" Her friend yelled. "You guys are FUCKING ASSHOLES!" The two people apologized and moved down to the next door. One of them seemed really stunned and almost on the verge of tears for being called an asshole. (I would cry if someone called me an asshole... or I'd hit them.)

It was then that the woman was finally prepared to back out. As she reached the small gap, her chair hit a snag, and she was halted. It was at this point that all of the people around her started to approach to help. (She was quite overweight, and it would have taken at least 4 people to lift the chair if need-be.) This time, she screamed. "NO!!!!! DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!!!" she said while flailing her arms. She scooted forward, reversed again, and got stuck for a second time. Obviously, no one moved because of her obvious aversion to aid. This, however, was unacceptable in the eyes of her friend.

"How come no one will help her get out of the car?! Somebody get over here and lift it!" It was at this point that the doors on the T started to close, due to the fact that almost 2 minutes had passed. "HEY!!!!!!! WE'RE TRYING TO GET OUT!!!!" he yelled, and ran to the emergency button on the wall. Once he hit it, an MBTA officer stepped out of the train and asked if everything was alright. (Some weary travelers had helped his friend out of the car, upon which she did not thank them.) Despite the fact that they both had made it onto the platform, everything was apparently not okay.

"The doors were closing on us! We're trying to get off, and the doors were closing on us! What kind of ASSHOLES don't let people off of the train?"

The officer asked if they were off, and if the doors could close, to which the man answered and signed, "NO! NO! NO!" To all of our joy, the doors started closing anyway, (since nothing was blocking the doorway) which prompted him to throw himself back into the car while screaming, "NO! CAN'T YOU GET YOUR FUCKING ACT TOGETHER?! WE ARE STILL HERE!"

While his back was turned, the doors shut for a second time, and we were on our way... but I couldn't help but think about hwo the scene had come to be. Now, these people are probably just assholes because they're assholes (no implications here that people with disabilities are assholes, since that would be completely erroneous and a disgusting statement to make in general), but what's different here is that they got away with it. Everyone on the train was kind, tried to help, backed off when they were yelled at, and even apologized for their attempts at generosity. So, here's my question: Does having a disability (and this omits mental disabilities for obvious reasons) give you a free pass to assholedom? Why?


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