Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is this a date or do you just like caffeine?

So, I think I just asked someone out this week. I'll set the scene. When I first moved here I joined a bunch of stuff in order to keep busy and meet people. It's always in the back of my mind, of course, that it would be nice to meet a guy, but I'm usually to shy/insecure to even think of asking a guy out. Anyway, one of the groups I joined had this guy. He caught my attention. Now, it wasn't in the "OH....MY..... GOD!" kinda way. Not that way at all. In fact, he caught my eye moreso because he was kinda, well, odd. He is possibly more shy and introverted and awkward than I am. And, well, he's not exactly eye candy. Ok, now that many of you are probably thinking I'm either totally shallow, or totally off my rocker for saying all these things about a guy I just potentially asked out, keep reading. I have dated one person a very long time ago for a very short period of time. My track record is not great. I have mostly been interested in people who have not been interested in me. The few people who have been interested in me have been people I have not been interested in. People say all this "beyond your league" crap is crap, but I don't believe that. There are people who just are not going to date you no matter what. As you get older, most of the time you realize that those people aren't worth your time of day, but there is still often that person who you desire and they are just forever out of reach.

After my short relationship ended (it wasn't even really long enough to call him a boyfriend. It was 6 weeks), I searched out an old flame. This guy was the one. The ONE. The one to which all guys since are compared to. The one who no one could ever live up to. The one who I have felt more strongly about than anyone. Long story short, we became friends again, I told him how I felt... via email. After 3 agonizing days, he replied saying he was sorry he did not feel the same and hoped we could remain friends. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. He was also kinda shy, and never initiated anything. Not just romantically, but anything. He was like that with everyone, he said, not just me. I couldn't handle that as I need my relationships to be somewhat equal. The other person has to make at least some sort of effort. I told him so, and tried to work it out via email. After about 3 back and forth emails from each side, he didn't reply. Broke my freakin' heart. I know it was a no win situation, and I was asking him to be someone he couldn't be, but still, it was harsh. I still think about him to this day, often, and that was 8 years ago. I haven't had a serious crush on anyone since. Oh sure, I've had minor crushes, but nothing that big. That was bigger than a crush, I mean of course it was, I told you he was the one.

Last year I met a guy via an online dating service. We both agreed pretty early on that we were destined to only be friends. Even though that's all I wanted from him, he voiced it first and I felt disappointed. Funny, eh? Well, even the frienship fizzled out as our schedules just didn't coincide. I was working 8-4 and taking 2 evening activities a week. I had no more room for stuff during the week, and he never seemed to be available on the weekend. We just stopped calling each other at the same time. I'm still on that online dating site, but nothing much has come out of it at all.

I'm also one who has never had a lot of male friends. I've had some, but they usually dont' last too long. So, all this to say I'm a little awkward around guys. Ok, now flip back to the present. Despite the fact that this guy isn't a physical god, or a prince charming personality, there is something about him I like. He is a nice, decent, slightly odd, shy, interesting, quirky guy. I hadn't seen him in a few weeks, and someone mentioned he had quit the group. I thought it was too bad, but didn't think much of it really. So last week, I'm out at a café, waiting for another friend and the guy passes by outside. He sees me in the window, and comes in to say hello. I invite him to sit down and we chat for a few minutes until my friend shows up, at which point he excuses himself and leaves. I thought about it for a few days and decided I'd like to get to know him better. So, I emailed him to say it was nice to run into him and asked him if he minded me emailing him since he wasn't part of the group anymore. I also asked if he'd like to go for a coffee after the holidays so we could have a chance to chat, as we didn't get to talk long last week. He emailed me back and said it was nice to run into me too and that I could email him anytime and that he'd like to get together for coffee in the new year to chat a bit more.

So, we'll be meeting up after the holidays. I'm not sure where it's going, or even where I want it to go. I'm not sure if I made a date, or just a friendly meeting. The term "go for coffee" can be so ambiguous!! I guess this is to be continued...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Good Samaratin Complex

This is always a tricky subject for me. I'm sure most of you can agree that we, as people with disabilities, want to be treated with respect and as equally as possible. This, for me, means I understand that people get freaked about the fact I'm in a wheelchair, but.. suck it up, people! I understand people looking at something that is different, and not wanting to offend. What I don't understand is people's undeniable need to help. And this regardless of whether I actually need the help or not. I call this the Good Samaratin Complex. The "I really want you to think I'm a good person, and you're a person in need, so I'm going to help you, dammit". They can't hear the part where you say "um, actually, I don't really need, or want your help". I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REAAAAAAAALLY HATE when people don't freakin' listen to me. I HATE those people who ask if I want help, and when I say no, help anyfreakinway! GRRRRRR!!

How I react in situations like this depends, of course, on my mood that day. Sometimes I can just shrug it off good naturedly. Other times, beware the poor soul who crosses my path! I have never actually set someone down and explained how their actions are actually very partonizing and demeaning, even when meant to be helpful. The truth is these situations make me extremely angry and uncomfortable. I usually end up just looking at them as if they're nuts. If someone asks me if I need help, I usually say no, politely. If they ask me if I need help when it seems pretty clear to me that I don't, that starts to tickle my irritation bone. One of the more obvious ones is when I'm waiting indoors for the Adapted Transport to pick me up. I often have a book with me, but even if I don't, I'm sitting there, looking out the door or window. Many people who go buy will ask me "do you want to go out?". That's when I scowl and say "No" and look at them as if they've just asked me if I have an extra squirt gun they could borrow. I react badly, but not as badly to other forms of the question. There's something about "do you want to go out" that is too close to how we talk to our pets. "Sparky! Want to go out Sparky? Want to go out? Ooooooh, that's a good boy! Let's go out, Sparky, let's go out!". .

What is it about a disabled person doing almost anything, wheeling, walking, looking at something, waiting for someone, reading a book, going to the bathroom, buying something, that makes people want to ask if they need help? Another thing I hate is when people drop what they are doing and run over to where you are to open the door for you, pass you that thing on the store shelf, carry your take-out tray. If someone's right in front of me and going out the door, it's common courteousy to hold the door open for me, and I appreciate that. When someone runs 60 feet to open the door for me, I don't appreciate it. It gives me a wicked sense of pleasure to know that most of the times I get through the door way before they can even reach it. I've also held the door open for people behind me and have been told "I should be doing this for you?" To this, I usually reply something like "I think the honour goes to whoever's first and faster".

I'm really torn most of the time as to whether to accept, educate, or just scowl. Ok, well, scowling is probably not the most productive solution, I admit, but educating every time can just be too draining, and being accepting of a situation that is patronizing makes me feel small and powerless. Remaining angry about it, even if I'm not sharing it, validates to myself that I'm right in at least feeling that this needs work. My mother and my brother just don't get it. They say they'd love to have people open the doors for them and I should just accept it and embrace it.

I've talked to a lot of people with disabilities and found it very interesting, considering my own experience, to hear that others have similar ones regarding family. Family members are often just a clueless, and sometimes more due to denial, as your average Joe out there. But that's a blog for another day. The older I get, I find the more clueless I seem to be about how to deal with this strange world around me. People tell me I am very independent and feel I'm successful despite my disability. Ok, so that's great. Yes, I've done a lot. True. However, there's so much more they don't see, including all the insecurities I have about my own abilities and how others see me. Situations with strangers who pat you on the head, start pushing you without asking, and freely ask you personal questions certainly make it hard for someone to maintain a strong, assured identity. I had this one situation once where it was winter and I was going home from the store. The sidewalks weren't great, so it was slow going, but I was managing, and getting a cardio workout along the way. All of a sudden I am being pushed. My frist instinct was to put my hands on my wheels and block movement. I look around, startled, and say "It's ok, I'm fine". The guy continues to push saying "Oh, I don't mind". I say "I don't need your help, I'm fine". The guy leaves me at that point swearing at me saying "I hope you get stuck in the f***ing snow". Yep. The Good Samaratin Complex. See your doctor immediately.