The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57244   Message #1455967
Posted By: Muttley
09-Apr-05 - 02:12 AM
Thread Name: songs about disabilities
Subject: RE: songs about disabilities
I'm interested by your comment that - all our views are coloured by the lens through which we view life - yes, I know I paraphrased.

It raises a really interesting aspect of myself: As mentioned I am an "Asperger" - that is I tend to be socially inept, say the wrong thing at the wrong time (even though it's usually the truth) - or even the right thing at the wrong time. I tend to obsess about things. I focus to the detriment of all else; I appear indifferent and many other aspects.

As such I am often misunderstood - especially as as Aspie (as we call ourselves) I tend to say things a sI see them; often very blunt assessments of situations where tact would be more appropriate: I CAN be socially correct but to get to that point has (as I said in another thread) has cost me a great many punches in the face, growing up, to learn the "Normal World's" version of etiquette.

However, the point I initially wanted to make was that of another Aspie, a woman who lives in South-western Victoria here in Australia. She's an author and writes on Aspergers and what it is to BE an Aspie. One of her experiences is worth retelling as it brilliantly illusrates the whole "see life through your own lens" - and NO-ONE, I think sees life quite as uniquely (or as uncomfortably for "normals" as Aspies.

This woman's son was killed (can't recall how - it may have been a motor accident - but drowning is ringing a bell, too; I think the car scenario is most likely) and his funeral was attended by an enormous crowd of several hundred mourners. As the crowd was so large, the chapel set up speakers outside so later arrivals could hear the service and as the day was rainy, most of those outside wore coats, carried umbrellas or just got wet.

Naturally there was that usual large space around the casket left for "the sake of respect" and for viewing of said casket. The boy's mum (our Aspie) couldn't see WHY people were letting themselves get wet when there was still room inside (around the casket) So she went outside and said "Why don't you come inside and fill up the space around the casket, XXXXXXXX is dead and he isn't going to know you're crowding him"! The mourners were horrified that the young man's own mother could be SO insensitive about his passing; when in actuality she was simply stating a fact that was apparent to her - she WAS grieving, but there WAS room INside so people didn't have to get wet !!!!!
This is typical Aspie thinking. So many times I have been given a 'dirty look' because someone has said "we can't do such-and-such" (bowing to social mores / political correctness / social acceptability or whatever matter of etiquette) and my candid response has been an immediate "WHY / WHY NOT?" It seemed logical, to heck with delicacy, just do it!

I also agree with your assessment of Christopher Reeve: I was terribly disappointed that all he ever seemed to do was talk about a cure and about how he would walk again - I can't recall HOW many people I offended by my standard reply of "Bullsh*t" when those quotes were aired. I was terribly offended by his apparent lack of all he COULD have done FOR the disabled community from his not uninfluential position - and he did not.

Finally, I know only too well from my days as a paramedic of the medical community's lack of proper respect for disabled people - I think it is a protective mechanism and an aspect of "Familiarity breeds contempt" combined. I found myself adopting the same attitude on occasion but managed to turn myself away from it more often than not - my worst enemy in this arae was my Aspergers, which made me seem apparently indifferent to suffering at times or being somewhat scornful of certain injuries because they could have been avoided if the oerson had shown more comon sense: but again I managed to overcome these over time (My wife Trish helped enormously with this growth - her gentle correction and teaching was not always graciously welcomed, but eventually proved correct) - and this was BEFORE we found out I was an Aspie.
I also know from experience how life is viewed from a wheelchair and how difficult life can BE for someone in a wheelchair and how being in one can often DEFINE who and what you are to other people: To this day the international symbol for a disabled person is a stick-figure in a bloody wheelchair. I spent nearly 5 months in one following my accident and it was hard work: and now being physically disabled I am often looked at in askance when I get out of my car after parking it in a disabled spot because I can WALK away from the car. I even had a "checkout Girl" harangue me at a supermarket because she saw me get out of my car and walk into the Supermarket. She pointed this out to the five or six people AT her register at the time and they all hung around to have a go as I left via her register (it was the only one operating and she had a go LOUDLY so as to alert others of my "indiscretion" until I pointed out that I WAS disabled, I had a disabled drivers PERMIT on my windscreen and then for the benefit of the 'onlookers' I then detailed my injuries in fairly graphic terms. I then reported her to her supervisor - in full hearing of herself and her audience: there were a LOT of shamed faces "looking the other way" as I left.

Hang in there mate - you are one of God;'s children as are we all and you have a unique place on this planet: revel in it.

BTW - I was taught my greatest lessons about living and loving life, by seeing the humour in everyday things and by gracious acceptance of my environment when I went away as medical officer to 17 CP adults back in 1982 (The Year of the Disabled). Lessons I have NEVER forgotten. Beautiful people.