Good morning again campbellsworld visitors.
This morning in the Author’s Corner parent and author Jo E. Pinto is back to share a story with us. I’d like to invite and encourage you to please share this post. It is a subject I am finding comes up just a tad bit more than it should. It is high-time that so called, “Well-Meaning-People” learned some dog gone manners.
Thanks to you Jo for having the courage to speak up about this.
by Jo Elizabeth Pinto
Last week, I went to Target to buy school supplies with my aunt and my ten-year-old daughter. The store was as busy as an anthill, with shopping carts squeezing past each other in the narrow aisles, employees directing traffic and helping people locate merchandise, harried parents checking off items from their printed lists, and kids scurrying about looking for exactly what they needed among the seemingly endless choices on the cluttered shelves.
I waited patiently next to an end cap display, keeping a running tally in my mind as my daughter and my aunt added treasures to the growing pile in our shopping cart and checked them off our school supply list.
“Mom, I found the perfect binder!” my little girl crowed with delight. “It has unicorns and mermaids and ice cream cones and sparkles and …”
She went on waxing rhapsodic as she dropped the notebook into the cart. Fortunately, some lunchboxes on the other side of the aisle captured her attention. Otherwise, there might have been drama.
I felt a sudden nudge from behind, hard enough to make me stagger. A moment later, someone grasped me by the shoulders and pushed me forward. Then unseen hands tugged my shopping cart away from me.
“Excuse me,” I said, partly confused and partly annoyed.
“I need something from the end cap display,” a man’s voice informed me abruptly. “You’re in my way.”
“You could have asked me to take a few steps forward,” I answered, now much more annoyed than confused. “I didn’t appreciate you touching me without permission. A simple excuse me would have done just fine.”
“But you’re blind.”
“True enough.” I nodded. “My eyes don’t work, but my ears do, and so do my feet. I’m not a piece of furniture you can move around at your convenience.”
“You seem really angry. I guess you’re having a bad day.”
I didn’t dignify that comment with an answer. I’d been having a perfectly good day till I got shoved out of the way like an old suitcase. But explaining that to the person who does the shoving makes no difference most of the time. It’s unacceptable for an able-bodied man in our society to put his hands on a woman without a disability for any reason, except perhaps if he’s saving her from iminent danger. Add a disability to the equation, though, and all bets are off. He’s just trying to help, he doesn’t know any better, he feels awkward and isn’t sure how to start a conversation–any of these excuses are accepted as viable. If the person with the disability protests, she’s considered angry, bitter, or bitchy.
The man selected what he needed from the display and moved on. But the takeaway is, manners are universal. People with disabilities may seem difficult to approach, and speaking to us might feel awkward. That’s understandable to a degree, but we’re as human as anyone else. We respond to friendly greetings, pleasant conversation, or at least common politeness the same as other people do. A simple ‘excuse me’ goes a long way.
My daughter appeared beside me, begging for a brand-new lunchbox with gold sparkles on it, which I refused to buy. Her owl lunchbox from last year would do just fine. We left the store, all set for the fifth grade. I did my best to put the exasperating incident at the end cap display behind me. It’s just par for the course in the adventures of a person with a disability. Hopefully there will come a day when those of us who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, white canes, and service dogs are seen as equal to those who travel without them. Till then, manners and friendly consideration are always appreciated.
About the author and her book…
“The Bright Side of Darkness” Is an award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
About the author…
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
Rick Myers, an orphan without much faith in the future, and Daisy Bettencourt, a blind girl who is running from an alcoholic father and a set of overprotective foster parents, cross paths at a high school baseball game and make their way together. Daisy becomes the bright spot in Rick’s universe as he and his four lifelong friends–Tim, Mark, and the twins–battle the forces of poverty and hopelessness. Mark’s grandma dies of heart failure, and Tim’s stepdad is arrested on felony child abuse charges, leaving them, like Rick and Daisy, with no authority figures in their lives.
Rick and Daisy are trailed by a fat man in a battered green jeep who makes Rick more and more uneasy as the weeks pass. Then, just when Rick discovers an interest in the culinary field and decides to complete his education, the bottom drops out of his world.
There’s nothing a damn bit bright about sunshine when you’re seventeen and you see it from the wrong side of a jail cell window.
It isn’t that I’m moping for my lost freedom or anything. I wouldn’t give a half a crap for my life anymore now that the crew is scattered to the four winds, and all I have left of Daisy is her parting note in the waistband of my jeans and a wilted dandelion dangling between my fingers. But it seems to me that the Man Upstairs could have marked my downfall with a terrific thunderstorm or at least a few nasty black clouds out of the west.
When there’s a war or a funeral or some other sad thing going on in the movies, the sky usually turns dark and ugly, and the rain pours down in buckets. The longer I stare at the square of sunlight streaming through the tiny window of my cell and stealing across the floor, the lonelier I feel. August 27, 1986, is slipping by the same as every other hot, heavy day, and I’m the only one in the world who knows that nothing will ever be all right again.
It hasn’t always been this way. I ought to have known better than to believe I could reach out and snag a piece of paradise, but for a little while I had it on my fingertips. Breaks are hard to come by for kids from the projects, though, and sure enough, all I ended up with at the last second was empty hands.
I’m doing my level best to hold off a flood of memories, but my mind keeps drifting back to the sweltering summer evening when the chain of events began that shattered my world into a zillion pieces. First thing tomorrow morning, some juvenile court judge will decide if my life is worth rebuilding. Maybe he’ll have better luck with my future than I did with my past.
If you would like to contact Author Jo E Pinto please feel free to e-mail:
To see her guest blog posts, please check out: https://blindmotherhood.com/.
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