Sunday, 1 June 2008

Say It Loud

It's OK.

You Don't Have To Think So Hard About
How To Say You've Been Thinking About Me.
Because I Know You Haven't.

The thing I love most about half term is time off from the playground. I hate it in there. It's a minefield of intricately woven social networks to which I no longer belong, unspoken prejudice and judgements and largely former friends who now ignore me or default to pleasantries.

To be fair there are lots of kids to chat to and it does me good to get out of the house and watch my son play. But the adults have normally scarpered long before I've turned the key in my scooter to go back home. These are the same people who, apart from a couple of exceptions, are happy for me to entertain their kids but rarely return the favour. So not only do I get discriminated against, but indirectly, or directly in fact, so does my son. I have memories of not being invited to friends' houses as a child because of how the other mums felt about my mother's mental ill health. And it pisses me off that 35 years later things are no different.

Something happened yesterday that really pissed me off. I bumped into a woman I see quite often in the playground. I was on the High Street. She said it was "nice" to "see me out and about" and asked me how I was. And then, as my son wasn't with me she asked me how he was. Which probably meant "Where is he? What have you done with him?".

Then she asked me "Does he mind?" before nodding vaguely at my seated position.

Mind WHAT? Me being on a scooter? NO! But I mind her thinking he minds. I was speechless and just shook my head with a dazed grin on my face. Which I suppose she took to mean "No, not at all."

When I think of a choice remark much, much later I often want to get it printed on a T shirt. In this case:

Don't Ask.
It's Probably A Stupid Question.

Does anybody else ever get this urge? Or am I just experiencing a double helping of anger with lashings of benzo rage?

Slogans I have fantasised about include:

How Am I?
Come Closer And Read The Small Print

Yes, The Weather is...
a) Shit
b) Lovely
c) Not Worth Talking About Really

Yes, You Have Seen Me Walking.
No, It Wasn't A Miracle.

Warning! This Is A Smalltalk Free Zone.
Tell Me Something Interesting or Piss Off.

I must emphasize that these are just fantasies. My son would be mortified. But oh, the feeling of satisfaction! I was always one for behaving badly.

There are many more of these, largely forgotten. I dare say my line in T Shirts would probably not foster greater understanding between the disabled and non-disabled. Do I care? I have a son. Yes I do. Without him however, I think I'd have been wearing these months ago. Loud and proud.

Stand Back! I Smell And Dribble.
And When It Amuses Me, I Fart.


S. said...

Laughing at your last one!

Even though it isn't really funny.

Cusp said...

Oh you're well, well out of the complexities of the playground waiting game.

Christ ! am I pleased that son goes to school in taxi and daughter is now at Middle School so that charade of cliques and gossip is over. Honestly, watching the pecking order of our chickens (and it is vicious) is more tranquil than being part of the savagery, competitiveness, jealousy and small-minded pleasantries of parents (usually Mums) in the playground. (Do I sound bitter ;0~ ??)

I think you should print off the T shirts -- especially the last one --- perhaps a scratch'n sniff/drool and gurn version ? You could always go for lightly reversing over toes too. Dumb arses !

I bet your son is pleased to have a Mum that's so conscientious and thoughtful and couldn't give two hoots about the rest. What matters is you love him and he feels free to invite friends round even if their miserable parents don't reciprocate.

Certainly our two don't seem to care and take it in their stride. All their mates are used to the fact that I drift off to bed every afternoon or I'm a bit vague form time to time. Of course having a disabled child is another potential minefield for the 'able' child but we've only had one 'very very sensitive' (as her mother put it) child who freaked when she met our son. God knows why. He's perfectly ordinary ---or so it seems to anyone else who'smet him these past 13 years. Her Mum explained, sotto voce, that 'G. has never met anyone mentally handicapped before...' like he was soem alien species of like coming across a giraffe in the Suffolk countryside. I felt quite aggrieved but kept my cool.

Rave on girl

seahorse said...

s. Glad you are laughing. It's supposed to make people laugh, apart from those people who really do display the sort of prejudice I allude to. They are supposed to read it and then be struck down by a random thunder bolt.

cusp: I can't wait to escape either. And yes, reversing over toes (or frankly just running people over) is tempting at times. I have nothing to add on the miserable non-reciprocal parent front. It pisses me off. You certainly did well to keep your cool with that mum who said what she did about your son. I get cross enough about how people's attitudes towards me affects my son's life, let alone having to face comments about him. Not blowing up must take a lot of self-control. Much admiration.

Never That Easy said...

Those are some great slogans: I don't understand what could possess someone to think that could possibly be an appropriate question... how could that not be offensive? I'm usually very tempted to respond to those kind of questions with a "no... does yours?" Perhaps your child is more embarrassed by your rudeness than mine is of my illness? The kids in my life are so glad when I can do things with them, and the chair is just another thing that gets lugged along. (Plus we get good parking spaces... they love that. ;) )

seahorse said...

Hi nte: Thanks and yes, aren't kids just so much more positive about things :-) You know, maybe when mine's a teenager and I feel more comfortable discussing these angry moments, seeing what he thinks...maybe, with his support, maybe then I'll go for it and wear the T shirt! Or maybe by then I won't be so angry. I want to be a happy Mum, but as long as people keep pissing me off, I can't see me not getting angry. After all, I'm coming off all the meds they gave me to shut me up! Cripes, I'll be getting a megaphone next. Now that would really embarrass him. But I'd love it.

Anonymous said...

thanks....nice posting

soulful sepulcher said...

I've given you an award it's on my blog. The Flower Smeller award!

D Phoenix said...

OMG, I love these. Why is it that Brits can come up with the best snide remarks? I can imagine your scooter covered with these statements on stickers. I want a "yes, the weather is..." t-shirt.

If you ever want to do a Monday Quiz guest spot, I'm sure we could work something up with the stupid things that people have said to you. We could do one where there is one phrase in the list that hasn't been said to you. It might be another way to vent. Just a thought :)

seahorse said...

ohmigod Donimo you've freaked me out! I was modifying my fantasy to something less inyerface, and I actually visualised my scooter covered in stickers only yesterday. More subtle. Harder to spot. But still getting the message across. Yes I'd LOVE to do one of your Monday quizzes. It would be an honour. Email me.

stephany: Thank you so much. I'll check it out after I'm done putting my son to bed. Up too late tonight!

winsolu: Thanks for reading :-)

FridaWrites said...

I have T shirt and scooter bumper sticker fantasies too, but I'd want to be able to change my stickers to fit my mood and "context"/environment for that day.

You never know, your son might like some of these T-shirts. I think my daughter would since she's observing people's reactions to me a lot and adopts the "I don't know what's wrong with people" line. Not sure about my son yet.

I love the "walking" one--you can make up T-shirts at I'd buy one!

seahorse said...

fridawrites: yes, peelable stickers would be cool so you could change them. That occurred to me too.

I think my son may be helping me write these slogans as he hits his teens. He is already very aware of disablism.

Now I have to say I'm very tempted to go and check out :-)