“Would you reach into my bag, grab my wallet, and pull out some cash?”
This is not the request a stranger typically makes of another person. However, I am starting to think that there are folks with more faith in humanity than I.
As someone who has worked in media all of his professional life, I think that everyone should have access to whatever entertainment they want. I do not think that books should be banned, I believe it is okay for you to love something that I loathe (you can have horror movies; all of ‘em), and I certainly think it should be easy for folks to enjoy the media that they choose.
This is especially true for those that are handicapped. And honestly, we are all handicapped. That part of a person that thinks a child is cute? I do not have that. Many folks are born with a desire to go and see the world, but all scans and tests show that mine is stunted beyond any surgical help. My legs work just fine and I can add two plus two, but none of us are perfect.
So I have no problem putting forth a little extra effort to help those that are physically different. Say what you will about the Daredevil movie; it was still the first DVD I ever saw that let you click an audio track that would describe all the background and action beats while you watched. Other movies (mostly Disney ones), have since joined in. As for myself, I will fetch a hearing device or help lift your aging grandmother out of her seat.
Such was the case on the opening night of Interstellar. (It was made by Christopher Nolan so you should see it. End review.) It was a sold out show so anyone who braved the crowds to come see it first gets my immediate respect. Even more admiration is heaped on him who weaves and scoots through the crowd in a wheelchair.
Some handicapped folks can hide their differences. This fellow could not. He had a slightly enlarged head, an “average” torso, and rather stunted limbs. He could reach the joystick on his chair, but that was about it.
I showed him the seating areas where he could park in the theater, then returned to the lobby. Being the typical movie goer, he wanted some popcorn. He asked me to go to the grocery bag hanging off of his wheelchair, remove his wallet, and take out some cash. Then he ordered his slushie with no lid and large popcorn.
I have taken tickets out of peoples’ pants pockets before and handled a wallet in my time, but the next step was a first. He asked me to grab a handful of popcorn and lay it out on the counter. He needed it right on the edge so he could reach over with his mouth and grab it with his lips and tongue. This was a no-hands operation. The drink he navigated and stirred with a straw and his neck.
I checked on him every five minutes or so, not wanting to hover. (I want to help people, but I do not want to smother anybody. If they can get to the theater, they must be rather self-sufficient.) I refilled his pile of popcorn a few times, then bagged up his leftovers, hung it off his chair, and let him scoot towards his seating area.
What struck me was how trusting this man was. We are hardly a street-tough location, but the man sure did have a lot of faith in me. He trusted me not to steal his wallet. He trusted those around him not to sneak up and pilfer that same wallet that he had no line of sight on.
I mentioned that I had washed my hands before I scooped out the popcorn. He shrugged off the notion, saying that he was not worried about it. He just assumes that strangers do not have germs on their hands and countertops are not caked in grime?
Perhaps those that are handicapped are more trusting than I. I know there are techniques for blind people to fold money, but surely a bill could be sneaked in or out without the person knowing. If your legs do not function well, how much do you trust others not to drop you when going to the bathroom or getting in a car?
Most of what puts me in a state of awe at this person’s faith in the rest of us is that I do not like help. I had a stand-off on Monday where my arms were full as I walked up to a shut door.
A coworker wanted to assist. I like to do things myself. We had at least a two minute stubborn-bout as I stood there with my hands full and she stood there opening the door; neither of us budging.
I can take out all the bags of garbage at once. I can get all the groceries myself. I can pay rent and utilities without a roommate.
Nose to the grindstone. Cowboy up. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps.
It is an old mentality; probably a foolish one. And yet, only recently have I allowed myself to ask for help.
Those that have become comfortable placing their trust in others have my respect. As do those that find workarounds. There is a blind man who will teach other people how to walk without a cane. A woman on YouTube is rather well-known for demonstrating how to do things with no hands. The common sight of American Sign Language is evidence that those that have difficulty speaking are still quite capable of communicating.
As High School Musical reminds us, we are in this together. I do not care what your quirk is, be it obvious or internal. (Unless you are unceasingly rude. Then you should seek treatment first.) I like to think that if some folks have it a little easier genetically, they help others when asked.
Everyone should get to watch a movie that they have been looking forward to. Everyone should try to be a little more trusting too. Personally, I shall try to help out with both of those areas. (That second one is going to take some work.)