Friday, November 8, 2019

The Ignored Man

I hear a lot of cripples, especially those who just became crippled, lament how when they go out in public, they often feel “invisible.”

In all my decades of crippledom, I can’t say that I’ve ever felt that way. Cripples are really the opposite of invisible. We stick out. If there are 50 people going down the street and one of them is a cripple, who’re you gonna notice?

But I know exactly what these cripples who say they feel invisible are talking about. They’re talking about those situations like when you’re out and about with a vert (which is short for vertical, which is slang for people who can walk.) And some other vert starts talking to your vert instead of addressing you, as if you’re not even there. Like maybe you’re getting ready to board a plane and the vert that’s checking people in says to your vert, “Do you have the boarding passes?”

That kind of shit happens to me all the time but when it does I don’t feel invisible because I know goddam well that I’m visible as hell. It’s not that the vert doesn’t see me. It’s that they’re trying to pretend that they don’t see me. I don’t feel like I’m invisible. I feel like I’m being ignored. I’m not the invisible man. I’m the ignored man.

It’s the same insult by a different name. And I also don’t feel insulted when people stare at me. Hell, I don’t even notice if people are staring at me or not. Maybe nobody does anymore. I don’t know. But I do notice when people are trying real hard not to stare at me. Because once again they’re trying to pretend I’m not there. They pretend like they’re looking at something really fascinating, like their phone or their feet or their fingernails.

When verts try to pretend I’m not there, I ought to run over their feet. That should get their attention.

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