Today I want to talk about a real jerk. And she is me.
I was a big bigot today and I am ashamed of myself for it.
I had to pick our pooch, Mae Mae, up from ACL surgery today–otherwise I would not have been on the roads. Anyhow, I decided to stop at Hannaford to grab a few storm essentials.
I approached the checkout and started unloading my groceries onto the belt. The cashier didn’t look at me. She did not speak to me when I said hello. And she did not smile.
The entire transaction went on like this.
I went out to my car and was thinking how rude this woman was. Right?
And then my stomach sunk.
Holy shit, I have spent a long time saying that I don’t care if Evie ever speaks, that I don’t care if she ever looks another person in the eye, and that other people better just get over it if they have a problem with the way that she relates to other people.
And all that is true.
When it comes to Evie. And people that I know are Autistic.
What if that cashier is Autistic? I don’t know whether she is or she isn’t. And it doesn’t matter. Because I expected, of her, every single thing that I say shouldn’t be expected of Evie.
And I could rail against the injustice of disabled persons not having equal employment opportunities (and the accommodations to make that possible) for hours. What if I would have hopped on over to customer service and complained about being treated “rudely”? And say, one in every fifty people that this cashier checked out did the same?
How long would she have her job?
I have a deep rooted sense of social entitlement that I never, for a second, thought that I had. I take my sense of entitlement to be related to in a way that makes me feel most comfortable to a lot of places, now that I think about it. I would walk on hot coals with my face to relate to my daughter. But I don’t extend even a fraction of that civility to everyone.
And I wonder, while I have been busy congratulating myself for being all evolved and progressive and utterly without bias, what other things I have missed along the way–am still missing.
This is the problem. I am the problem.