This may seem like a silly question to you. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some experiences that are baffling to me.
It seems like every new person I meet wants me to sit down. It is so aggressive in some cases. I was pushed into a chair against my will many times. I am always in shock when it happens. . This is always very uncomfortable as it is often in situations where I am a guest and do not want to offend. I am not just talking about a recent experience, but I can remember asking this question ever since I could articulate it. BTW, if you are one of the people who did this, I am not upset at you. My own family treated me this way.
Here is where I think it comes from. I think people do not know how to interact with a “blind person”, me. They just want me to sit so I am out of harm’s way. It is truly amazing as sometimes this happens at networking events or Service club meetings where everyone else is mingling. It is actually not appropriate to be sitting down. I want to scream sometimes! I want to just tell them to sit down and get out of the way. Of course I know that would be a bad diplomatic move. I am thankful for all the people in my life who do not do this and actually often forget that I have a disability. Well, with the help of my guide dog, I am usually ok. I just want to wear a sign sometimes that says” I do not want to sit down”. “I am able to order my own food/drinks and pay for them thank you very much”. “I am blind not helpless”!!! Now, these words sound really harsh, but I wish people would stop and think sometimes. One of the consequences of these things, is a feeling of total isolation. I would often feel like I don’t belong.
I am also quite capable of asking for help when it is needed. I welcome it when it is needed and offered in a respectful manner . There was a film I saw years ago where this blind guy was wanting to get off a bus. The driver gets so uptight he picks up the guy and carries him across the street! It was funny at the time, but it does make the point.
I have had this experience several times. Well, ok, they did not carry me across the street, but pretty close. I have been grabbed and dragged across the street often landing in a totally different location or direction from where I intended to be. I don’t get angry, well, most of the time, because again, I know people are thinking they are being kind. I have the desire here to tell them to “mind their own business”! Again, I don’t as I don’t want to insult anyone. I do appreciate the people who offer help, but are respectful when help is declined or accepted. I am very aware that there are times when it is necessary to ask for and receive help. I am very thankful when it is offered in an appropriate situation.
Do you think there is a good polite way to let people know not to do these things? Of course this question I am asking is for new situations. Looking forward to your ideas.
PS When we meet, don’t feel like we need to stand for our entire visit.