He wanted to dance; I didn’t

This kind of wheelchair dancing is fine; the other, not so much.

This kind of wheelchair dancing is fine; the other, not so much.

Earlier in the week I wrote about our recent big family wedding, but I left out one troubling detail. At first, I didn’t think it was important enough to mention, but now I’m wondering how many others have experienced similar situations — and even more importantly, how they deal with it.

This is what happened:

About to leave the reception, I carefully wove my way across the packed dance floor to say goodnight to the bride and groom.  Along comes a young man with a tall, teeming glass of beer in each hand. (It was rather amazing that in his inebriated condition, he didn’t spill a drop.) He handed the beer off  to someone then proceeded to start  “dancing” with me. You know the routine — someone thinks it’s cute to grab the handles of your wheelchair and jerk you side to side, back and forth.

“No thanks,” I yelled trying to be louder than the crushingly loud music the DJ was playing. “NO THANKS,” I yelled even louder twice more.

He either didn’t hear, or thought his act so righteous he could ignore my plea. Finally, my nephew (the groom) stepped in and told the guy to knock it off.  If only it had ended there. With his pity knowing no bounds,  he bent down and planted a sloppy, wet kiss on my cheek. Gross.

At that moment,  I wanted to …. well, let’s just say I wanted to cause him some slight bodily harm for putting me — a complete stranger — in such an embarrassing situation.

No matter how many times  something like that happens, I never know what to do or say — like when  a  stranger  starts pushing me across the street  without asking. Or the people who insist I need help — even when it’s clear I don’t  — while shopping, or in a restaurant, even at the movies.

I try to be polite, but when a third person offers assistance within 10 minutes, my patience wears thin.  For the boorish guy at the wedding, I had not a second of patience.

Somebody tell me please:  How do you handle crazy situations like these?

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Filed Under: CopingDisability CultureSpokeSpeakWheelchairs

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  1. Katja says:

    If you were able bodied and some drunk jerk at a wedding started manhandling you, what would you do? “Be polite” is not the answer that first comes to my mind.

  2. vilstrup says:

    I guess I’m lucky in that my upper body is strong enough that if I grab my wheels, nobody is going to move me if I don’t want. And I have done that many times when someone starts to push me when I don’t want them to. I suggest that the first thing you should do is lock your brakes and then first politely ask them to stop. If polite doesn’t work, yell.

  3. I have had that situation arise once or twice, although it has been a long time, since I have been without reliable, wheelchair accessible van service for about two years now. But, I remember that when someone took it upon themselves to, “help me”, I politely refused. Unless, of course, I needed help! But, once I said, “no thank you”, I also thanked them for asking. I was never rude or disrespectful, just firm in my response. Most people were respectful of my wishes.

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