Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grocery store tales

Going to the grocery store is always an adventure. Not because of buying food, but you never know what you'll encounter. I usually go grocery shopping on Wednesday or Thursday. Whenever we pull in, we never know if we will find a suitable handicapped parking place. Even though the store has an adequate amount of handicapped places, they are often  full of cars without placards or by many hidden disability folks. I'm usually the only one ever in the grocery store with a wheelchair.

Even though I'm pretty well known in the store and my town, I still get the looks. The looks of pity, shame, surprise or questioning. Most of these looks I let go and carry on. I go grocery shopping with my attendant. I handle my grocery list on my lap and she pushes the cart and gets what I need. When my son, Jason, comes - he either walks with us or rides in the cart. It all depends on his mood and behavior. Being two, they both change in a moments notice.

Some of the comments we hear are either so ridiculous or borderline insulting. People automatically assume I'm my attendant's daughter. Or they assume I'm mentally incompetent. When either of the two occur, my attendant and I make it very clear that I'm her boss and directing her. The other week a cashier called me a kid to my attendant even though I sat there telling her what credit card to use.

When Jason comes, no one knows what to do.  He calls me mom a thousand times a store visit, climbs on me, and I talk to him like any mother would. There's no real denying he's my son so people are stuck.  So, they stare or just make comments to him.  I love when people say to him that he is a big helper as he's putting five plus packages of Oreo cookies in the cart at record speed.  Big help getting us fat, I guess.

I understand people mean well and try to do what is best. But sometimes the best thing to do is let people with disabilities just be themselves and carry on daily life. If I inspire you, great, but I really need to buy milk now!!!


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