Saturday, August 24, 2013

Yes, I ride a bicycle. Yes, I use a cane

Cynthia Parkhill with yarnbombed bicycle
My bicycle gives me mobility
(and it’s yarn-bombed too).
I can relate to the sentiments of Shannon Des Roches Rosa when she says her vehicle’s disabled parking pass is none of disapproving strangers’ business.
“Folks don’t have the passes if they don’t need them, and as they go through an official process of applications and approvals to get that pass, your opinion is irrelevant -- even if you can’t tell what the person’s disability is.”
The situation I encountered this week wasn’t entirely the same, but it involved a stranger’s unsolicited judgement about my supposed disability.

I parked my bicycle Tuesday evening outside the Ashland library and retrieved my cane (which was secured across my back by a really cool, over-the-shoulder, upcycled-T-shirt braided strap).

I went to enter the library and a man at the door commented something to the effect: “You’re riding a bike and you use a cane?”

As I mentioned earlier on this blog, while I heal from a foot injury, I rely on my bicycle for mobility. It places far less strain on my foot than walking.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but it felt as if this person was challenging my legitimacy. And even if he wasn’t, I don’t see why it was his business to comment.

The bicycle and the cane are tools at my disposal to help me get around.

And thus in the same way that Rosa encountered judgement because her son Leo has an “invisible” disability, I felt as though this man was judging me because I failed to meet his expectations for a “person with a disability.”

Social sharing credit: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley posted Rosa’s blog on Facebook.

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