Since I’m a member of the “disabled community” I have special privileges to talk candidly on this topic. Candidly talk is what I plan to do.
First up, we all don’t know one another.
Last summer, for example, we were Chicago for an art festival when someone asked me… “Oh you live in Orlando, do you know Bob Smith, he lives in FL and he’s blind too?’ At that point what I really wanted to say was… “maybe, what does he LOOK like?” But I didn’t. I’m not sure why people think I must know every disabled person in a three thousand mile radius but this type of comment is not that uncommon.
So what’s really going on there? I think it’s just part of human nature to want to connect and sometimes we’re a wee bit clumsy. Maybe it’s been so instilled in us to believe that talking about, hell, even notice, a persons differences is taboo. That’s nuts. Little kids left to be themselves will notice all sorts of things. That’s because they are curious.
Curiosity is normal, natural and healthy. Maybe we can (re)learn something from our children? What’s wrong with noticing a dudes wheelchair or my white cane? I think…I think, if we were not so uptight we could move very quickly from the chair and the cane, to other things that are interesting to talk about.