When you’re in a wheelchair like me, being stared at is a relatively normal occurrence. I just imagine that i’m famous and continue with my day. Or if I want to make them uncomfortable I stare back. I have had a few years to learn to be okay with that. Anybody who is around me long enough eventually notices the eyes, like a family of possums in the night.
It usually makes whomever is with me get the urge to pimp slap a couple of idiots. I laugh because for me it’s a normal thing to me. This happened quite recently while I was enjoying a beer. One of my caregivers that was with me got irritated when people were asking questions about me while getting food. What really irks me is when they ask questions to a friend or caregiver about me instead of asking me.
People shouldn’t be afraid to ask. Just be respectful if a person with a disability doesn’t want to talk to you. Now, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. I had a complete stranger pretty much shout “what happened to you?” In case you’re wondering, yes, that is not the way to go.
How should you ask if you’re curious? The same way you start a dialogue with anybody else. If they don’t look busy talk about the day and tell them your name. The conversation might end up more interesting than your question. Most importantly talk to the person directly and be patient. For example my breathing machine makes it take slightly longer to answer. If they don’t feel like talking to you it’s okay to just walk away.
.If you’re out drinking with a friend and they start staring or talking about the disabled person, invite that person over to your group. I have many disabled friends and I can tell you that many of us can be the life of the party. Things get interesting when a drunk cripple comes into the room. You never know what kind of people you’ll meet until you start talking to them.