What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Saturday Shopping

What was I thinking?

Did I have to go do a major grocery shop on a Saturday morning with my daughter?

I'm going to tell you about this shopping expedition, and you're just going to have to believe met that each and every incident is true, and did indeed happen in the one shopping trip.

I needed to buy quite a few things, and the little girl wanted to come with me because she had to go and choose some "yummies". So off we went to the local supermarket. The way this works is, I push her wheelchair in front of me and drag the shopping trolley behind me. I admit to muttering a bit here and there, you know, something about how we can go to the moon and back but not design a supermarket trolley that can drive straight. That sort of profoundly philosophical stuff.

As soon as I hit the supermarket I was reminded that Saturday morning is a very bad time indeed to go shopping with a child. The supermarket is chockablock with people, and most of them don't particularly feel like getting out of the way of a double-driver. Anyway, let me not annoy you with the small irritations of the moment, and get to the three incidents.

Incident number one - and this one takes the biscuit! BooBoo has placed herself in front of the large collection of sweets, taking her time choosing what she'd like to buy. Next to her is a trolley belonging to another shopper, slightly behind it is a large pallet of bread being stacked onto the shelves. Behind BooBoo is another trolley, and behind that, I am trying to reach some loaf of bread. Into the scene steps Bossy Granny. She marches up to BooBoo's wheelchair, mumbles something, and to my astonishment grabs the push bars of the wheelchair and drives BooBoo along the aisle - and then out of it, and around the corner. An old lady behind her pushes her trolley past and both ladies head off.

"Excuse me!" I call out "could you bring her back now please?!"

Bossy Granny turns towards me and says with a sour face "I was only making way for the old lady to pass."

"Then why did you not move that trolley. Would you have picked her up and moved her had she not been in a wheelchair?"

"I was only making way for the old lady"

 I feel like saying "next time I will report you for trying to abduct my child" or something but I was so utterly angry about the temerity of what she just did that I held my tongue. But I made my point, and I must keep my manners when in company of my children (leading by example and all that stuff).

BooBoo says "That lady very rude" and goes back to the all important task of choosing her "yummies" - eventually settling on some orange tictacs.

Incident two:

Halfway though the shopping she needs to go to the toilet. We leave our trolley (and tictacs) behind and head off.

I am not surprised to find the one and only accessible toilet locked. It doubles as change room so we are used to having to wait a while - but generally we hear toddler noises, and things are oddly silent.

After a while BooBoo starts complaining in a loud voice.

"I need a wee wee".

"I need a WEE WEE".

I decide to knock on the door gently, just to let whoever is in their know that someone is waiting. No need to hurry, but don't diddle daddle either please.

BooBoo yells loudly "I am busting!"

I knock again, louder this time.


We have drawn the attention of a passing cleaner. He knocks on the door and in his beautiful deep voice goes "Is there someone in there?!?!" We hear a faint "Just a minute".

"I am BUS-TING!!!"

The door opens and a young man in a smart suit walks out. He avoids eye contact. He smells of cigarette smoke. The smoke detectors inside the toilet are blinking red.

I tell him "You must be very proud of yourself!" Honestly, what can I say to get thought to this self-obessed d!ckH&@d?

Incident three:

Finally, we are all done. We have groceries and our yummies, we have done a wee, we even had time for a quick chat to an acquaintance we bumped into. We have dodged a large number of fellow customers and filled our trolley with a multitude of items. I have not driven either wheelchair or trolley over anyone's feet or against anyone's shins.

Now for the final dash to the car park. I carefully maneuver the trolley I'm pulling behind me - I mean, really, why can't these bloody things drive straight?!?!

I see the lift opening and the lady in front of me walks in. Suddenly there is a rush to my left, and a woman quite literally sprints past me with her trolley into the lift.

Nice one lady. I mean, it's first come first serve, innit?

This is Saturday morning in the suburbs, at the hallowed hunting grounds of the supermarket.

This is Darwin's Survival of the Fittest in full swing.

Honestly, what was I thinking, going grocery shopping on a Saturday morning?!?!


Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh. My. I have been the person in the wheelchair who has been grabbed and moved. I was waiting, off to the side of the entrance, for Joe to park the car and then come meet me. I was grabbed and moved by a fellow muttering, "you people are always in the way". It was a terrifying experience. It has happened more than once. The sudden loss of control and the complete vulnerability - I hope your daughter learns to yell or protest immediately upon having the wheelchair touched like that. I so feel for your experience - yikes.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I hope you don't mind me linking to this post on my blog tomorrow!

Heike Fabig said...

I'd be honored Dave!!

Unknown said...

Ok, when I read about that woman physically moving your daughter away like that, I had to say, out loud, "No way!" How dare someone move your child like that!!! I have absolutely no idea what people are thinking sometimes. :(

Palak said...

Are you freaking kidding me??? Honestly, I have tears rolling down my face in anger at your horrid experience. I'm so sorry. I'm so so sorry for on behalf of our entire human species.

My daughter and I too have experience some horrible things. She is not wheelchair bound. It was with her other disabilities.


Ettina said...

Maybe you should teach your daughter to scream loudly when a stranger grabs her wheelchair without her consent. Should shock them into letting go. And if people ask why she screamed, she can say 'that person touched me without permission'.