“She’ll run you over”

There are a lot of allegedly jokey comments that people make about or to me as a wheelchair user.  Usually well meaning and perhaps an attempt at being funny. They aren’t funny.  Most of them never were but one or two may have been if not for the fact that I hear them all the time. 

I’m talking about the “women drivers” comments.

The people who say “do you have a license for that thing?”

Those who randomly see me and go “no speeding!”

And many others.

I often roll my eyes at that sort of thing and let it go because it’s usually strangers and theres no point getting annoyed about that.  When one of the assisted travel guys at London Waterloo put the ramp down and after I drove down it went “who says women can’t drive?!” I asked him if there was meant to be a compliment buried in there somewhere. And he didn’t really answer.  But he was there to get me off the train the next time I went and just said hello.

The comment that really gets me though is made when parents on the street are trying to get their child out of my way. I heard it earlier today and yes the child was taking up space but it wasn’t a huge issue.

It’s “she’ll run you over if you don’t move.”

A lot of kids don’t know what a wheelchair is and don’t know what to make of them. I don’t like the nosy inappropriate questions I get from adults and older kids but if I have the time I was always answer young ones because it’s genuine curiousity and normalising disability (and in my case specifically wheelchairs) is important.
Even if you tell me to or give me permission to I’m not going to run your child over (and I have heard “I’ll let her…” and “I’ll tell her to…”before). Comments like that make my disability and my chair something to be wary of. I’m sick of being made out to be the big bad wolf to be scared of. 

I am not a threat to get your child to do what you want. Stop using me as one. I’m a person the same as everyone else – I just spend my life on wheels.

2 thoughts on ““She’ll run you over””

  1. Oh, sigh! For the world to be aware of its stupidity, would be a grand thing indeed.

    We are stupid in lots of ways, Emma, and they all upset me at the moment: saying stupid things that are ‘meant to be a joke and where’s your sense of humour?’ so that I then have to excuse their idiocy, come way up on the list of stuff that really annoys me. But so does watching locust plagues in Madagascar, caused by the deforestation there, which in turn warms up the earth and threatens all of life….

    I suspect that we are meant to laugh and forgive, and stay happy because it’s our life, and no-one should spoil it, and idiots don’t know any better – but the reasoning doesn’t always help, does it.

    I do understand. (((xxxxx)))

  2. Really interesting hearing your views. I think one of the biggest issues is that society as a whole doesn’t know how to approach ‘disabled’ people and as a result it tends to sideline and ostracise us. In my opinion, comments such as these are made when people don’t know what to say, but feel the need to address your ‘disability’.

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