(Please! No pictures!)
A fellow female quad (and hysterical I might add) friend of mine, from an unnamed locale in sunny (and oh-so-coveted on my end) Florida, has seriously invented one of the best lines ever in regards to life with a sudden disability: “When you get a SCI, you’re an instant celebrity.” And she’s right! Well to a degree at least… You definitely do receive some of the bennies of being a celeb, like getting scurried to the front of lines at clubs, to the front rows at small concert venues, and even scurried to the front of the heinously long lines at most of the rides in Disney Land (or World; whatever your “happy place” poison might be). But the reasons, oh the reasons, you get this “celeb-like” treatment my friends, are for MUCH different reasons; and pretty sad (and annoying!), if I may be so blunt. It’s most likely that these complete strangers, the concierge at hotels/casinos, bouncers, waiters and waitresses, whatever, are kissing your warm, flat tuchis either out of a) fear of legal repercussions (no, thank YOU Justin Dart; my personal hero, b) pity, or c) religious duty. Whatever their reasoning, don’t be fooled. They’re not, “oohing and aahing,” over you like they would if they had ran into say, Adrien Brody or Keira Knightly.
Heck, if you’re visiting a small town and get stares, it’s probably likely you’re getting the once-over because they’ve never seen a person out in public in a wheelchair before (apparently these rumors are true, although being from a big city like Minneapolis, I have yet to encounter such shock first-hand; Thank God).So, the next time you head to your local Starbuck’s and get the usual stares (or for the intellectual city-dwellers: Those “secret” glances hidden by quickly diverted eyes. Yes, I’m talking about you. I see you), and then even get asked on multiple occasions, “Are you sure you don’t need anything else?‘ or maybe you just get a free coffee out of the deal, do not under any circumstance think you’re getting treated like a celeb ’cause you are one in a weird, novelty-esque, convuluted, sort-of-way.
You may be interesting and new, and a fascinating customer who breaks up the monotony of their day, but remember, you are disabled. You may feel like a “celebrity” at times, and you might even (God forbid), get your photo secretly taken by some messed-up devotee hiding in a nearby bush, but the life of being disabled is unfortunately, nothing like celeb-dom (I would assume at least. I do not know this first hand. ha).
But hey, that might be a good thing.