My personal space is very important to me. I love it. I'd be so happy if I could live in my own little bubble which no one could burst, unless I let them because they were nice people that didn't say silly things or have body odour. (Me have only-child issues, much?)
Late last year I wrote an article about people invading it. I think the most commonly used word in my vocabulary is “I’vegotitI’vegotitI’vegotit” as I try to make people who want to "help" get their hands off my sodding wheelchair. But when I wrote that, I was thinking more about non-disabled people. But non-disabled people aren't the only people that think that me being disabled allows them a license to come up and chat to me. I never know how to react when someone in a wheelchair comes up to me the in street and says "is that a Quickie?" (At least I hope they're saying "is that a," rather than “fancy a.” The hazards of having Auditory Processing Disorder, though that would explain why some people look shocked when I say “yes.”)
Sometimes I don't mind, like the time the woman came up to me in Camden Town and asked if I knew the details of the local wheelchair service. Of course I didn't, it was before I moved to Camden, I was just on an “I'm a student therefore shopping at Camden Market is compulsory," excursion. But that was informational, I can see why she would ask me that. It would be a random question to ask someone non-disabled, or someone not using a wheelchair, unless it was your GP I guess.
But why do other disabled people assume that I'm going to be chatty, just because I'm ‘one of them’? I don't care where you bought your wheelchair, how much it cost, or how long it was before it first broke! All I care about is being left alone and getting home in peace. Thank you.
Lesbians don't do this. When someone passes me in the street and I register on their gaydar, they don't come up and ask me “how long have you been out?” Or “how old were you when you started shagging women?” The most I get is a knowing smile. So why do disabled people think it's OK?
Whinging aside, I would like to thank the disabled guy who tried chatting me up yesterday evening at a bus stop while I was on my way to a gig. I'm thankful because talking about him on stage provided me with the biggest laugh of my whole set.
I can guarantee absolutely anyone that if they chat me up at a bus stop, I will write them off as a weirdo and try anything in my power to make them go away (sadly my power is limited to refusing to make eye contact and praying the bus will come). Especially if they open with “You're gorgeous. You know, I've had a relationship with someone in a wheelchair before.” It's kinda gonna leave me thinking “you're not interested in my wit and intellect, are you? You only want me for my wheels."
It would appear that I was this man's dream woman (ha!) He informed me that not only does he like women in wheelchairs, he also has a thing for glasses. God I should've come out of him. If he knew I was a lesbian I bet I'd have been his wank fantasy for months. Actually, suddenly uncomfortable, don't want to think about it. Ewww.
I firmly believe that being chatted up by, well, the kind of people that would chat someone up at a bus stop is the kind of situation, where it is always morally right to lie your arse off. So that is precisely what I did. I told him that I was in a relationship. Anyone that has ever met me before would know that that is a blatant lie because I'm so unattractive. But he fell for it, clutched his baguette tighter to his chest and backed away. The power of my untruths. Didn't of course stop him from staring at me the whole time I was getting on the bus. But I'm used to that. Unusually though, I'm not sure if he was gawping out of “ooo, that's what the ramps do” curiosity, or if he just thought I was fit.
The moral of this story: Do not assume that I'm friendly and approachable. I am in fact evil through and through. Yes. Now it's late, and I'm going to snuggle with my teddies. Fear my wrath.