Monday, December 6, 2010

The boiling point

Someone once gave a talk on why people may appear to "snap" and the person who is the recipient of the "snap' may blame it solely on ethnicity, race, disability, etc - really, any stereotype - put the blame there. I thought, yes, but why?

Think of a pot of water set on the stove to boil. It gets hotter and hotter and little bubbles start and then "Snap!" You have the full boil. So for me, say, with a disability, it's not one frustration that makes me snap. It's a whole series of little things that continue to add until I can't take it, and unfortunately, someone may receive a big dose of how I feel.

It was my birthday on Friday, which I actually celebrated by skiing the previous day and will celebrate tonight by going to a concert. But the birthday started with me running a bit late for work. And the series of little things happened. I forgot my medicine, but that's ok because I could go and work from home in the afternoon. I took my main walking medicine, which sometimes makes me feel like not eating, and I felt really awful that day - no food for me.

I got to work and all but 1 of the 20 accessible spots were taken. At least there was one, so I got out and started to take my wheelchair apart. A (nice) car zoomed in next to me - into the area of those lines put between accessible spots. A lady quickly got out of her car, in high heels, came back, and said happily, "Can I help you?" No, but thanks for asking. "I'm going inside for just a minute and I'm in not hurry, so it's no problem." (happy voice) She doesn't have a tag on her car, there is other parking, she's not in a hurry, so I nicely say, "you know, we really don't like when people park on those lines." She was receptive - the happy lady moved her car and I could open my door to get my bags. But the water was getting a bit hotter.

After lunch I headed home but my car needed gas. I decided to be "helpable." I mean, gas stations have all these signs that they will help people who have trouble or cannot pump gas, and the last time I tried to pump gas, I decided I could probably hurt myself. Gas station #1 said beep 2 times. That did nothing, but the phone # was on the door so I called. "No, sorry, can't help you." Gas stations 2 and 3 - well, I'll just say no one was paying attention and there was no phone # listed. Gas station #4 - signaled the guy inside - he wanted to help, even though he was the only one working. He found a way to get it done - now I'm further from home because I know if I go further north, I'm more likely to get help.

I drive home, big construction me slows down. I have a meeting on the phone at 2 that I think I may miss - didn't plan on 4 gas stations, but I plan the sequence... get inside, get medicine, find phone, computer, etc. I make the call.

Next: get Lori to piano and dance - little frustrations. The pot boils over but at least I recognize it and just don't talk. Lori wants to know why I'm not talking. I can't explain it's because I'm done.

I get dinner and bring it into her dance dress rehearsal. There's salad and carrot raisin salad, but no fork. And I'm finally hungry after eating almost nothing all day. I can't take this anymore so who knew salad and carrot raisin salad could be eaten with fingers?

Note that throughout this day God is taking quite a beating - it's amazing that there is forgiveness, because I'm saying "God, you have GOT to be kidding me!" And then throughout the gas thing, I'm almost in tears asking God why this is so hard and why no one is helping and why no one cares. It's not true that no one cares, but it sure feels like it. And God, really, could you give me a break somewhere here? I have just had it.

The break comes when Lori comes out of dance. "Happy birthday, Mommy!" We go home. She has been working on a "book" about people with disabilities. It's very sensitive. From her vantage point, she communicates so many of my feelings.

"Mommy, what can I be when I grow up?"

"I don't know, but I hope you can use your creativity, the love you have for music, and your happiness. I think you can do something great."

She really can - I think she turned off the stove so the water stopped boiling.



Anonymous said...

I'm not disabled, so why is my pot boiling way more than it should, with very little reason?

Thanks for sharing, I really enjoy reading and learning. Your faith is intoxicating .

ms'er faith said...

You must have a different stereotype. I think my blog missed the point. When people with disabilities "snap" at people, the people act like people with disabilities are bitter, when what they don't realize is the "snap" occurred after a bunch of little things became too much, just like what happens to everyone else, including people without disabilities.