This past Friday, I was extremely fortunate to have lunch with a dear childhood friend I had not seen in many years. We made arrangements to meet at one of my favorite local eateries to indulge our need for some serious catch-up time.
Upon arrival, we were seated at a two-top pushed against the wall. I had misgivings about this in terms of space, but who can blame the restaurant for wanting to use every table sized corner in times like these? We sat down, and I placed my walker as close to the table’s edge as I could, in an attempt to leave some room for the wait staff to pass on their way to other tables.
Apparently, my efforts were not enough for some. Soon after we received our menus, we were approached by a man who picked up my walker (without my permission, I might add), and informed me that he, “…needed to move this so people could get by.” He then proceeded to move my walker slightly to the left, and continued on his way.
I was appalled at his thoughtlessness. As I took in what I had just heard, my first thought was, “Oh, so I’m not considered to be a person? How can that be? I’m breathing, same as he is.” My second thought was that if he had just asked me, instead of moving my personal property on his own, I would have been glad to move my walker allowing him even more space. For instance, I would have folded it, and moved it to lean on the back of my chair. However, by not asking, he did not allow me the opportunity.
Most of us are taught as children that it is not right to touch another person’s things without permission. Why then, did he think it was okay to move my walker without asking? I’d wager a dollar to a dozen doughnuts since it was a walker (and not, say, someone’s purse that he was moving) he never thought to ask. No, he considered it more expedient to tell me what he was doing as he was doing it, instead of paying me the compliment that a request confers.
This episode brings to mind similar situations in which I have been perceived to be merely an observer. I was left feeling discounted, as less worthy, as the acted-upon, instead of the actor I have grown accustomed to being in my own life.
So, dear readers, how would you have handled this situation and the feelings it raised?