It had been a long shift on the drawbridge. Some days seem like Stupid Pedestrian Day, and I never get the memo soon enough to call in sick. People had been risking their lives all day, completely ignoring warning gongs and flashing lights. Many were willfully going under gates just as I was about to raise the bridge.
That’s not funny. That’s a good way to die. And it’s definitely a great way to put a bridgetender in a foul mood. I don’t care how much of a hurry you’re in, it’s not worth your very existence, and it certainly isn’t worth my job.
The shift was nearing its end, and I was anxious to go home and take a bath. This, of course, meant that all the sailboats were hiding around the corner and wanting an opening one by one, 5 minutes apart. Grrrr.
On the last opening of the shift, I looked up to see a guy weaving back and forth down the sidewalk. Clearly he was drunk, and taking his sweet time. It’s a good thing I work alone. I let off a series of invectives that would have singed off your eyelashes.
I mean, COME ON!!!! What’s the FREAKING hold up? *&%^%$$@!@
Finally, finally, this stupid idiot made it across the bridge, and I was able to complete my bridge opening. Sheesh. Some people are just soooo inconsiderate!
After the boat went through and I completed the opening, I looked up to see the guy hadn’t made it very far past the bridge. Dude. Go home and sleep it off. Have some self respect.
That’s also when I saw that he had two artificial legs.
I have never felt so horribly intolerant in my entire life. I’m so glad no one could hear me jump to my negative and hostile conclusions a few minutes previously. I was ashamed of myself. I still am, just thinking about it. It’s really uncomfortable, putting this ugly side of me out there for your scrutiny. But this is an important lesson.
What if some of these “stupid pedestrians” aren’t as stupid as I think? What if some of them are deaf, or blind, or unable to walk quickly? What if they’re going as fast as they can?
Clearly this was a lesson that was, for me, long overdue. I truly believe that lessons pop up exactly when they are needed. I’m going to try really hard to be more patient with people. I doubt I’ll always succeed. But I’ll try.
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2 thoughts on “A Brief Lesson in Patience”
As one of those “stupid pedestrians”, I’m glad you didn’t say those things to his face and crush whatever feelings of accomplishment he must have earned after making it across without assistance. We, the disabled, deal with our daily physical and psychological pain, and losses, to the point of exhaustion and have little to no strength left to deal with the ignorance of those who misjudge us and the depth of our vulnerabilities. We tend to give up, stop participating and isolate to avoid the added stress of being reminded that at best, we’re just tolerated and at worst, blamed or attacked for causing others an inconvenience. We need to be seen and accepted for our differences, especially our hidden ones, just as you would any other minority. Once you see us, your acceptance and patience of others, and yourself, will be automatic. Hope this helps you grow as one of us.
After years of pain and discrimination, “you don’t look disabled”, I was relieved to deteriorate to the point of needing a walker. How sick is that? No one questions my disability anymore, but now I’m housebound and even more of an inconvenience so, they’ve all disappeared anyway.
We are all works in progress. From my perspective I’d say that includes me, especially. I wrote this knowing it would draw criticism, but I hope at the same time that people will learn vicariously through me.