Hello EVERYONE!!! I know at least ONE of you is out there. (I have proof). I had every intention of making this a Throw Back Thursday post but that’s not happening this week so here is my first Refurbished Friday post.
On that note I was trepidacious about writing a post about something that went down all the way back in June. (Oh come on who am I kidding? Stay tuned for a Refurbished Friday post all about EASTER.) Last I checked the bar is on the low end when it comes to timely quality entertainment. Endless reruns of cable shows all about NOTHING apparently have no expiration date whatsoever. If E! has no qualm about real time relevant “reality” programing. I figure I’m right on schedule. It sounded so much better in my head this T.V. analogy…
Okay moving on. Picture it, a sunny, warm, and slightly breezy day, a perfect backdrop for a commencement ceremony. Yes, that’s right a good old American graduation was happening. My nephew was graduating and I was OVER THE MOON proud of him so of coarse I had to be there. I wouldn’t miss sharing this experience with him for the world.
Right from the get go things started out strange. For those of you that may not know I happen to use mobility equipment because I have something called Cerebral Palsy. So a walker, a wheelchair, and other amenities make it easier for me to get from point A to point B. By the way I am infinitely grateful for said amenities they do indeed make my life that much more enjoyable. Anyway two of my nieces accompanied me to the graduation and as my niece pulled into the high school parking lot to park in a handicapped parking space. She was immediately blocked by an usher and was thusly directed to park on a dusty dirt patch adjacent to the parking lot. It made no difference that we both popped our heads out the window and tried to explain that I was within my right to park there because I had the plaque required. Waving it at the usher had no effect.
Okay fine we parked on the dirt and as I made it to the asphalt others looked at me puzzled wondering why we didn’t park in a clearly designated area where technically I was within my legal rights to park in. Some people actually stopped us to pose the question to which I simply shrugged my shoulders and replied, “I don’t know the usher said that all the parking spots including the handicapped parking spots are reserved for those who have “reserved guess status”.” There were a lot of police officers there. Though they all seemed oblivious or perfectly fine with it. We kept going on our way to the bleachers. Half way there I was wishing I had taken my wheelchair instead of my walker so I could stretch my legs. (I stretched them all right.) Finally when we got to the bleachers the area that was clearly designated for disabled and elderly people was filled to the brim with, guess what, a whole bunch of non-elderly and non-physically disabled individuals. It was really hot and the ceremony was taking a long time to get started. As I said two of my nieces were with me one had driven us and wanted to be at her brother’s graduation and the other wanted to be at her cousins graduation. My youngest niece also happens to be partially deaf and lips reads so it made sense for her to sit with me since those seats had a better view of the big screen so she could see the interpreter signing.
I’ve been to my fair share of graduations over the years and I have to tell you that this was by far the worst experience I’ve EVER had at any graduation yet. We tried and tried and tried to get the attention of some authority figure to help us get a seat. One police official simply shouted into his megaphone “If you’re not handicapped you’re not supposed to sit there.” No one moved. After long while a very understanding usher did his best to clear the area as well as inform me that though the school is legally required to have a safe designated area for physically disabled people and that technically that was what this area was. The school officials for whatever reason where not going to enforce that law on this particular graduation day (so tough cookies).
There were still no seats available. I don’t usually do this (for the very reason of what happened next) but I felt that since the usher had already cleared the exit, that the lady next to us, who was taking up all the space on the bench she was sitting on, with a grocery bag would for some wild reason be friendlier or at the very least I thought she’d be civil. I politely asked, “Excuse me Mam, could you please move your bag so that my niece can sit there?” Her reply, “No, I’m saving this seat.” Me, “Mam you can’t save seats in this area. This isn’t first come first served this is for the elderly and the disabled.” I’m just asking you to move your bag so that my niece can sit there.” Her reply, “She can sit on the floor I’m saving this seat for my daughter. We got here first. We’ve been here for hours. Me, “No, my niece isn’t going to sit on the floor. She needs to be here because she lip reads and she needs to see the screen.” By this time a teenage girl comes zooming down the stairs, the daughter, who the seat is being saved for. Her Mom is huffing and puffing at the top of her lungs at me. The girl says to her, “Mom calm down I can hear you all the way at the top of the bleachers. What’s going on? What are you doing? Red faced and in a high pitched tone the lady says to her daughter, “They’re trying to take your seat.” I tell the girl, “Your mother refuses to move her grocery bag because she is saving the seat for you. She wants my niece to sit on the floor. I asked her if she could move her bag so that my niece could sit there so that she could see the screen because she lip reads. That’s why we’re both here because we have physical impairments. Look if I could run down the stairs like you just did I wouldn’t be here and if my niece weren’t partially deaf she wouldn’t be here either but we are as we are and that’s why were in the disabled person area but it doesn’t seem to matter to your mother because according to her she got here first and that’s what’s important.” The girl was clearly embarrassed about the situation and did what she could to improve it. She said, “ Mom she’s right you’re not supposed to do that she can have my seat. Its fine with me let her sit there.” Her Mother screeched in reply, “FINE, FINE, LET HER HAVE THE DAMN SEAT! ITS NOT WORTH IT! FINE!”
By this time my niece was in tears and there was no way she was going to sit next to that hostile lady. I couldn’t blame her. She sat with me (on my lap) on the tiny seat I had scored. I felt terrible. My other niece had gone to pick up her boyfriend so she missed the whole thing. She got back at the tail end of the ceremony. Though we are all so VERY HAPPY AND PROUD of my nephew for his accomplishment. The ceremony ended none too soon.
It took me a minute to put this out there because it SUCKED but here’s the thing there is a Sanskrit word that I adore. That word is Namaste. It roughly translates as “I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.” Going back full circle I heard it in a commercial the other day being tossed around casually and trendy like. Though there is nothing trendy or casual about it. It is a sacred word that deserves some serious consideration because after all in the end whether we like it or not we are all the same. How about this the next time any of you get a chance practice Namaste and be a better experience for your self and someone else just because you can.