Dear people on the bus,
You see the sign that says “Please give up this seat for elderly or disabled passengers”? It's there for a reason. It's there because it's incredibly painful for people like me to stand at all, let alone stand on a bus that's swerving and stopping suddenly. You see me standing there, hanging desperately on to the strap with one hand while my other hand holds my cane to support the weight that my leg refuses to, as well as holding my shopping bags. And yet, you do not give up that seat, I would like to know why.
I understand that I don't fit your idea of what a disabled person looks like, so you might not think I'm really disabled but sometimes people get hurt young. It's true, it happens. To be honest, when I was 20 I might not have thought it either, but at 21 I knew it all too well. While no, it is impossible for you to know my life story and to know why and how I came to be in so much pain, it is clear what my story at the moment is. It's written in the wincing expression on my face, it's told in my grunts and exasperated breathing. How a person can look at another human being and not say to oneself “You know, perhaps he needs this seat more than I do,” I simply cannot grasp.
Perhaps your not getting up is my fault. I admit I don't ask you to. I'm not much of a “squeaky wheel type” and my mother raised me better than to take a seat away from a senior citizen or a woman (chivalry or chauvinism - you decide). Although, she did raise me this way before standing was an endurance challenge. How did your mothers raise you? She had to have taught you to give up your seat to a disabled person. No, that's not fair. It's not her fault or your fault, I'm the one that doesn't ask you to get up. I don't want to be rude. I don't want to impose. I don't want you to think I'm another cripple demanding special treatment. It has to be my fault.
But I don't think so, for I see your faces. You don't think I see them. The way you look absolutely any way but in my direction, the subtle guilt that always confuses me – why if you obviously feel bad about not getting up do you still refuse to do so? I really don't understand this.You clearly know that you're being assholes, and yet you do nothing to remedy the situation. It wouldn't be that difficult to assuage the guilt that is written all over your faces. All you have to do is say “Excuse me, would you like to sit down?” But you don't, you never have. I've been riding the bus for four years and not one has one of you ever asked me that question. And it breaks my heart every time.
The worst times are when I fall. Someone cuts off the bus and the driver stops short or he takes a turn too fast, it happens all the time. And if I'm standing when it happens I fall. And still none of you offer me your seat, usually none of you even offer to help me up. It's then that I lose my faith in humanity. Not even because I'm disabled, but because I'm a person who fell and no one seems to care.
So next time we're on the bus together and it's a bit crowded, if you see you me standing there wincing and wobbling, I would really appreciate it if one of you would let me sit down. It's not going to cause you any discomfort and it's just common courtesy. The upsides for you are you get to go around all day telling people about the "good deed" you did and you won't have to make that shame face.
Please take a look at the other, better B.A.D.D. entries here.
Right now my bipolar is Slightly Depressive.
Right now my pain level is 4.