See, this is the thing. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a city which has wheelchair accessible transit, and you’re sitting there and you notice people in scooters / wheelchairs trying to get on and off the bus, this is the reality:
You saying things like “THIS is why the bus is always late!!” and “oh for fuck sake!” and “why are you on the bus anyways?” and “i don’t have time for this!” and so on, actually makes things go SLOWER than they would if you had shut your trap and let people do what we need to do.
i know, it’s kind of wild, but stick with me on this, OK?
Some of us make it look easy, but it is actually really hard to negotiate the very small spaces we are allotted on buses. Some of us actually go to the bus depot to get trained on how to get on and off all the various kinds of transit in the city, and even then, it’s still hard. Some of us gimps have less mobility than others, perhaps less arm strength, less ability to turn our torsos to check over our shoulders etc; some of our wheels have a wider turning radius; some have crappy or busted tillers that don’t turn well; and any number of other mechanical/structural/physical things which can make this process more difficult.
Generally speaking, when we are doing this, we are on total display. Do you have an understanding of how stressful that is? To be a disabled person on wheels is to ALREADY be on massive display, all the time, to be scrutinized and gawked at. When you add trying to get on/off a bus to that, with everyone facing you, staring at you, making complaints about you, huffing and puffing and sighing and whinging about you and your inconvenient body, it makes it exponentially more difficult to do.
Why? Because when people do this (and worse) to me, out of nervousness/ shame/ anxiety/ social pressure/ fatigue/ whatever, i am more likely to mis-judge the space, more likely to crash into shit, more likely to have to back in and out more, more likely to get my crutches and bags and whatever else snagged on things. All of which means more time waiting for you. Do you like it when someone is watching your every move? Hovering over you (sometimes literally), making shitty comments about you, your ability, your body? How about a bus full of people? Does that usually make things take longer or does it make things easy as pie?
So the next time you see me or someone else getting on or off the bus/train/whatever, have some fucking patience, read your book, do not stare, do not provide running commentary. Before you know it, we’ll be underway, and you will have just treated me like any other human being. Imagine that!