I just got an invitation to join the facebook group “I tap slow-walking people on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me please!”
Uh – no.
Fuck no. With cherries and sprinkles. And the sauce of your choice.
Laying your hands on me without invitation, strangers, sure isn’t going to speed me up any, but it may well piss me right the fuck off. With some of my friends with certain disabilities, an unexpected assault may tip them completely over.
I suggest not doing it. I further suggest getting the fuck over yourselves, saying goodbye to ten seconds of your precious goddamn time, and thanking your lucky stars that you can walk fast when you want to. Bully for you. Huzzah. Enjoy it. Tomorrow, you could be in my shoes. Or worse.
I’m guessing you also grumble and sigh under your collective breath when a bus stops to admit someone with a wheelchair. Or when a scooter gets “in your way”. Or are people with visible disabilities an impediment to be put up with without such public disdain?
Now off you go, Important Folk, and think of something productive to do with that cherished ten seconds saved.
This has been your anti-ableist PSA for the day. Thankyou and good night.
They’re probably the same people who abuse L platers when we’re on the road.
My Mum’s just got herself a walking stick because she has something called Orthostatic tremors, which makes it hard for her to stay upright and walk comfortably. She keeps going on about how she’s going to start whacking people that give her shit for being slow moving.
Please may I adore and worship you?
“an unexpected assault may tip them completely over.”
Indeed. My overdeveloped startle reflex and stupid people are a horrible combination. Idiots.
Book Girl’s last blog post..It’s been a while…
Oh super, I’ve already got a sociopath in moderation who thinks it’s hilarious that he “secretly” wants to physically attack people with disabilities when they hold him up.
Fuck off, Stephen George Lloyd, Exetel user from Sydney. Your hate-crime fantasies aren’t welcome here.
“who thinks it’s hilarious that he “secretly” wants to physically attack people with disabilities when they hold him up.”
I think I’ve met this wanker: A couple of years back, I was on the train going into the city (I have cerebral palsy and I use a mobility scooter for getting around outside my flat), and when as I was just about to manouver (sp?) out of the door, an older male shoves past me to get on – not waiting for me to leave as everyone else was (I need a fair amount of room to manouver). I lost my temper – so fucking sick of people trying to walk through me as though I don’t exist – and snapped at him “Will you just WAIT!” His response was to snarl (paraphrasing), “Don’t you fucking talk to me like that, I’ll fucking hit/slap/punch (one of those words) you.” To a woman with a disability in a mobility scooter. Real fucking manly. I zipped out of range double quick, so I don’t know if anyone else around us reacted.
How dare we challenge these kings of manliness about their extraordinary entitlement complexes, hmm? 😉
Book Girl’s last blog post..Wot she said…
Book Girl: *boggle*
I don’t know whether you met this particular one, though. There are millions of them, and they’re just the ones who think it’s witty and clever to boast about their itchy fists online.
Oh, no, of course I haven’t met *this* one, I was being sarcastic/ironic/thingy whatsit. 😉 There are millions of the little toads around. Proof of my continual assertion that there are much worse things than having a disability. I could be this dipshit…
My father was almost hemipalegic following a major stroke, but insisted on using a cane in public instead of a wheelchair. He was quite slow and had awful balance. I can’t tell you how many times we had to run major interference in doorways of restaurants or other public places. We would literally have to station family members (f there were multiple ones traveling with him) inside and outside the door to keep angry people from literally knocking him over. He would take less than a minute or two to get through the door, but there are very important, busy people in this world that would rather knock down an elderly man with a cane then wait that long.
I think the “tap people on the shoulder and say excuse me” group was actually set up in response to an even worse group called “I secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head”.
Maybe another group – “I have no problem whatsoever with slow-walking people and anyone who does is a moron”?
Ruth Moss’s last blog post..Postnatal Depression
My late partner was in a wheelchair an and off, and i used to do a fair amount of pushing of said chair. Some really weird things happened, but I think that the worst was the time I was pushing her up a busy shopping street on a steep slope and a girl with pamphlets advertising something-or-other stepped out in front of us and attempted to give *me* one (as of course the cripple wouldn’t be able to afford whatever-it-was). I didn’t have a free hand, and if I’d stopped I’d have had trouble getting going again. I managed to get round her without hitting anyone else or losing momentum, but I could have cheerfully slapped her. If I’d had a free hand.
I get annoyed when couples stop in the middle of small walkways to kiss/canoodle/stare at each other. Or just stop to have a conversation. I still don’t tap them on the shoulder, although if needed I might say ‘um, excuse me I need to get through here’. Same as if anyone just stops in the middle of somewhere narrow – otherwise I walk around. It’s one of the neat things I can do, even if it screws with my momentum. It’s better than stopping short, that tends to hurt.
I’m happy that our old director made sure that the walkways in the library are wide enough that someone in a wheelchair/scooter or with a pram isn’t blocking the entire walkway, simply because I know she did it on purpose and it cuts down on a lot of stupidity. Although the amount of people who seem to think things like that don’t count in queues and stand almost on top of the wheelchair are annoying.
Actually, you’ve just reminded me of when Drhoz had to wear a leg brace for a couple of months when he had Reactive Arthritis. The leg brace was designed to go under his trousers. He had to sit the special seats on the train with his leg out, as he couldn’t bend it much. It also meant he wasn’t as mobile as he usually was.
He got so many dirty looks and people walking into his leg that he started wearing the brace on the outside…
I’m pretty sure that Ruth Moss is correct that this group is a response to the worse group claiming to want to punch people in the back of the head. I also think that in a case of privilege in action, most people who join these groups are imagining ambling daydreamers meandering over the pavements rather than disabled people working hard to progress from point A to point B. They need some education to initiate some empathy.
Yes, it was – hence our Exetel user attempting to put his two cents in. There are dozens of these groups fantasising or boasting about violence against PWD; they feed off each other and think it’s a scream. They’re all wound up to the point of exploding over people “getting in” their Maude-given way, and this lot seem to be terribly proud of themselves for presenting taps as the safe, non-violent solution to this out-of-control self-righteous anger and entitlement: because people being Secretly Disabled In Public is the problem to be solved.
A cross section of a variety of groups:
Yeah, no disablism there, not anywhere. I guess I just don’t “get” this like I don’t get rape threats and effigy-lynching.
It’s just facebook. There’s no limit to inane, stupid, crass facebook groups. And no limit to the number of my friends who join them.
It’s just facebook
But facebook doesn’t exist in a vacuum– these are real people saying this stuff, and even if only 10% of them would actually do what they say here, that’s an awful lot of people who are willing to go out there an actively make the world less safe for disabled people.
I call that as a middle-square equivalent.
Honestly, I think that life’s too short to read this crap, let alone take it serioously. There are idiots everywhere, and not a damn thing I can do about it. I’d rather use my energies on causes and people that might respond. And I’ll bet my bottom dollar that it’s 1% of the people posting this stuff who would actually do anything, not 10%. Most of the responses posted above are wanking, not preparing for action.
M-H’s last blog post..Knitting, yes, but not as we know it
M-H, there is a damn thing you can do about it, if you so choose. You can make it clear to your circle of friends and readers that “jokes” about PWD, particularly jokes about assaulting PWD and about how annoying they are and about how you see red and start fantasising about punches and machetes and chainsaws, are rude and ableist and offensive and are creating a hostile environment.
Would you call out someone you knew who invited you to a group encouraging rage and violence against black people? Gay people? Women? Trans people? Children? Any other oppressed group?
You can hope that this calling-out takes seed in one or two of them (surely your friends are open to new ideas on this?), and that they then spread the word.
“Taking it seriously”? There are already stories right here in this thread by PWD who’ve been assaulted and endangered by douchebags who think that violence against them is just fine as it’s all in service of their Precious Time. There are many, many more such stories where PWD gather.
That’s fucking serious.
And yes, I’ll spend my time on speaking out about anger-fuelled violence against PWD, and about the attitudes that support and condone it. And I won’t consider it wasted.
Shit like this is only socially acceptable because people let it be socially acceptable. You can hide and pretend that it’s not your problem (if it’s not now, it might be one day), or you can holla back. I’m hollaing.
In truth, we don’t know how many of these people are willing to do what they say. But it is likely for most of them, I think, that their violent threats translate into their belief that it’s okay to sneer at people with disabilities when they pass them, how many of them might make a snide remark designed to tell people with disabilities that they are less welcome in the world than fully abled people.
Furthermore, as Melissa McEwen says (in a slightly different context– I don’t have the link handy), even if it is only 1% who will actually make good on their threats, that 1% now believes that the other 99% are their allies– that 1% will use all the people who are blowing smoke to justify their actions to themselves.
Apologies for my poorly punctuated response there.
Lauredhel said it better, anyway.
Wow, that’s extreme, and makes me glad that I live in a tiny country town. Of course, we have almost no public transport (bus to bigger town once a day, and that’s just a trial), many streets have no footpaths, there’s currently no doctors, and most medical services are at least an hour away (yay for our new dialysis chair!) BUT when I was going slowly with fatigue due to cancer, I was asked if I was okay, not assaulted. People offered to carry my bag for me. Elderly people are helped with groceries, and in and out of cars. People slow down to chat with people using canes or scooters. Maybe it’s because we’re on “country time”? But even in the next big town (30000 people), there’s reports of assaults and abuse, including the residents of a low-care aged home being targeted for muggings.
Lauredhel, I do call people when they say things like this in front of me – of course I do! If anyone who knows me irl is reading this they are laughing right now, because I am forever embarrassing friends and family by challenging people on these issues. But what I don’t do is go looking for people who write/talk/think like this in facebook or anywhere else. I don’t turn aside from it, but I don’t chase it either. That’s all I was saying.
I’m a lesbian, a feminist, my late partner was very disabled, I’m very outspoken and I’m usually wielding knitting needles. No-one gets away with much around me. I had a great mentor: my late partner used to carry stickers which read “As you’ve taken my parking spot, perhaps you’d also like to take my disability” and she wasn’t afraid to use them on the car windows of clearly fit people whom she saw leaving disabled parking spots. I’m told they had a particularly sticky and difficult-to-remove backing.
M-H’s last blog post..Knitting, yes, but not as we know it
But what I don’t do is go looking for people who write/talk/think like this in facebook or anywhere else.
As Lauredhel states in her original post, she was invited to join a facebook group– she then did some research about the history of this group. I don’t see someone who “went looking”, I just see someone who walks around with her eyes open.
Thanks Lauredhel. I have recieved the same requests and ignored them. Will point them in the direction of this blog in future, and the arguments are beautifully expressed.
McEwen may have a similar post (I haven’t read much of Shakesville), but this reminds me of Kate Harding’s On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name:
Discussions like this make me think (and the fact that I think it, rather than know it from personal experience, is a measure of privilege) that 1% is an underestimate. Amusing oneself with aggressive, hurtful and bigoted statements is very common, and amusing oneself and ones friends with aggressive, hurtful and bigoted actions is quite common too.
M-H, I was personally sent this invitation, from one of my facebook “friends”. Furthermore, the groups advocating and fantasising about violence against PWD have been held up in mainstream media all over the world as examples of the hilarious, playful, fun side of facebook.
Mary– that is the passage I was thinking of– I think I must have seen Melissa quoting Kate on Shakesville. My apologies to Kate for the mix-up. 🙂
I understand about the invite. My actions on receiving that would have been to immediately remove the ‘friend’ from my facebook contacts and then let him/her know why I had done that. You might have a hope of raising his/her consciousness if there is/was some connection between you.
If I were feeling strong I might have gone to look at the FB group and maybe blogged some of their crap as an example of something I wouldn’t touch with ten-foot tongs. But then again I might have just forgotten the whole thing and saved myself the angst. LIke I say, I already know how ridiculous, hurtful, stupid and insensitive people can be, and I don’t need to rub my own face in it.
I think my point is that I try and pick my battles. Sometimes I surprise myself with how angry I can get, but mostly I try and assess the possibility of actually making change before I waste my energies.
I agree with tigtog on this one.
First and foremost, Ruth is correct – the group was set up as an alternative to some others out there. You might disagree about the tapping, and I wouldn’t do it myself, but it’s a healthy, assertive response when contrasted with a passive-aggressive angry-pusher. If you say “Excuse me”, you can at least not scare the crap out of the person and just avoid ‘tapping’ altogether.
Regardless, we’re thinking ambling, able-bodied, oblivious daydreamers.
Thus upon first reading Lauredhel, I honestly didn’t understand your fiery response to this seemingly polite group practicing some level of assertiveness – a much healthier alternative to anger or hidden ‘anger’ from those too shy to say anything at all.
The facebook comments (which are as bad as youtube) may not reinforce any view of ‘polite’ but the group title more than states it when juxtaposed with the “I like to punch slow walking people in the back of the head” group.
We most definitely need to act against those who rudely or violently play upon those who are disabled, and perhaps this topic is a nice lead in. However, admonishing those with good intentions maybe wasn’t your purpose nor intent here.
Meg, there were no “good intentions” on the group’s wall. It was full of exactly the same frothing vituperative assholery as all the other anti-slow-walker groups. There was absolutely fucking nothing “healthy” or “assertive” about it. It was pure, self-centred, naked aggression.
I can’t believe I’m being dosed with lectures about how I’m not being polite and submissive enough to ableist douchebags. Actually, no, I can believe that. Because it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME a woman, or a POC, or a PWD gets angry about being treated as worse than the shit on someone’s shoe, gets angry about being physically threatened every time they go out in public. I’m not going to smile and nod and offer grinning homilies when people are threatening me. I’m not going to coddle their ignorance and dispense obsequious bits of wisdom mixed with soothing pats.
And right now, I’m a bit bloody sore from where one of these exact douchebags smacked into me about an hour and a half ago. I had to go to the shopping centre – other people can’t shop for shoes for me. I have the right to exist safely in public. My assailant probably thought I was just an “able-bodied dawdler”, and for all I know went back and crowed to their buddies about how they showed me. So save the lectures, eh? At least till after the bruise fades?
I don’t get to pick this battle. It’s in my face.
Personally, I think it really is quite astounding that Facebook will censor pictures of women breastfeeding, though in the same breath alllow anti-semitic, sexist, racist, ableist you-name-it groups to exist under the radar. Like the ( anti-semitic) Scots College group, maybe we need to wait for the media to “out” these sites before anything is done to right the double standard P.s. I’ll make the incredibly obvious statement that saying sites are just jokes, or that they weren’t “intentioned” to be ableist etc. shouldn’t mean they go uninterrogated.
I think my point is that I try and pick my battles.
That’s fine– if you feel that you don’t have the energy to expend with regard to that group, that’s fine. But others also have the right to pick different battles to you, and I don’t see how it’s productive to disparage them for it, particularly not when you agree with their goals.
As for whether or not Lauredhel has any effect in writing this post– she most certainly has, because she’s had an effect on me. This post has got me thinking about the way I might unintentionally exercise my ablist privilege when I’m out, when I pass people on escalators, or on the footpath– I don’t think I’ve ever tapped anyone on the shoulder, but it’s never really something I’ve been aware of, even though I’ve known that PWD, including invisible disabilities, face a great deal of discrimination in their everyday lives. Whether or not Lauredhel has changed the mind of anyone on facebook, I have no idea, but she sure as hell has raised my awareness that extra little bit.
I too have a big startle reflex, especially when partialling badly, and if I had a cane would probably be exonerated if the cane came up and “tapped” the tapper back. These sods don’t realize that often when I’m slow, it is when I’m dodgy, and thus prevent me falling over and pushing somebody ELSE over. Surely that would be even more inconvenient for the inconsiderate impatient types.
As to the Facebook/Babyfeeding issue mentioned by h-jg, there is a group Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!(Official petition to Facebook)
Where did I disparage anyone? Of course Lauredhel has the right to be angry and express that, and I have the right to say I explain how I shepherd my energies. I never know when I’ll need them for myself or my partner or someone I love rather than someone I despise. And Lauredhel, I certainly don’t believe in being polite and submissive. I do believe in being subversive.
People often get away with saying that they’re tolerant or “seemingly polite” , when really they’re just being overtly rather than covertly abelist.
“Well meaning” paternalism is a big deal in enabling covert prejudice against PWD. Shoulder tapping do-gooders could realize that the point is not whether they seem polite [to other ableist people] but whether the PWD in question actually gave them permission to be so intrusive.
Why they don’t just respect PWD’s rights by the non-intrustive options of walking around or waiting like anyone else?
Intrusive expectations of gratitude, just because you pushed covert rather than overt prejudice, is SUCH a big part of imposing paternalism instead of real respect that it should be 101 myth debunking in PWD rights education.
Actually, that applies to most ally work, the whole thing of self congratulatory false politeness being a poor substitute for rights. It’s extra bad in disability issues as far as I can tell though, there’s the whole tendency to infantilize PWD.
People who tell activists on sites like this to pick their battles are usually called concern trolls. It happens all the time, that is why it even has a name. It is rude, even if you didn’t intend for it to be. You pick your battles, and let us all be happy that LaudelHel chose this battle.
MomTFH’s last blog post..News from planet “I told you so”
Sorry, typo: LaudelHel = LauredHel
MomFTH, I have never told Lauredhel which battles to choose. I merely commented about the battles I choose and that it is my opinion that some battles and some ways of fighting them waste women’s energies. That is a perfectly legitimate opinion and it is not trolling. Trolling is abuse and calling people names and i haven’t abused anyone.
Viv and Lauredhel, if you want me to stop commenting on this thread I’m perfectly willing to do so. Email me.
It’s sad that a few “well-meaning” people in this thread have decided to hijack it in order to tell Lauredhel what she, apparently, should be spending her energies on.
A few weeks ago, my partner and I were crossing the street–I was having some pain issues that day and was, according to the guy who took it upon himself to roll down his window and sarcastically yell, “Slower! SLOWER!” at me, was simply too slow.
One can talk all one likes about picking your battles, but many of us do not have a choice not to face this sort of thing, and it makes some of us angry (with good reason, I think). This type of shit is something that some of us face much of the time, and it doesn’t need any more social acceptance and/or encouragement, with lowest-common denominator Facebook groups or in other ways.
“Well meaning” paternalism is a big deal in enabling covert prejudice against PWD.
Thankyou for this Outfox – you have put it perfectly. Believing that one has to behave charitably toward PWD is not the same as acknowledging that they have an equal right to access. The charity model is disempowering and demeaning and unfortunately very prevalent in disability services, but that’s another story.
Just wanted to make it clear, when I spoke about the reason the group was set up, it wasn’t to say that I agreed with its aims or anything like that.
I think sometimes on a social networking site like facebook, where you are “friends” with people sometimes with whom you only have a very tenuous connection, you’re going to get invites to groups whose aims you don’t agree with, or find offensive – it’s happened to me a few times (although I wasn’t invited to join this group) and although I think it is a case of choosing your battles that depends on what’s important to you and as annaham says, what shit you face every day.
When someone invited me to join the group “Jeremy Clarkson should be Prime Minister”, I just ignored it. I loathe the man; he’s a sexist arsehole, but I couldn’t be doing with getting into a discussion about it at length. When someone invited me to join the group “Ban 36 week abortions” (which of course turned out to be about banning ALL abortions anyway) I wrote back to the acquaintance and said politely “No – I am pro choice – didn’t you know that?” and prepared for the argument to ensue (which it didn’t – sadly).
Those comments from that slow-walking group are absolutely dreadful. I have to admit, I thought the group was about people getting a bit fed up when they had to get to get somewhere in a hurry and got someone walking slowly in front of them. I didn’t realise until looking at the comments that it was so bloody NASTY!
so glad to see this!!
I had the lovely experience on the weekend of someone glaring at me because I was walking (around the five people and two trolleys who had stopped in a walkway) too slow and because she was LEANING against me she got a shock when i sneezed. Which happens to people around you after you’ve bathed in a known allergen.
Never mind the knee joint without cartiledge. Never mind that I’m four months pregnant and my hips and lower back seem to change alignment every day. You just lean on me while you’re rushing past in your perfumed haze and glare because I have the affront to sneeze.
I used to be part of a group like this–on my college campus I’ll often run into the same kinds of people geekanachronism spoke of–people who just stop in the middle of the sidewalk to talk, or who walk in giant groups taking up the whole sidewalk and move slowly. Then the day after I joined this group, I sprained my ankle and was on crutches for a few days, and got to deal with other peoples’ bullshit–and saw how ableist this Facebook group actually was. They don’t care why a person is slow, they’re just asses. So I left it, and while people who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to talk still annoy me, a little walk in the grass never hurt anyone.
That’s cute, MH, but one thing–some people who actually have disabilities, and who might benefit from such a parking space, don’t look disabled. My grandfather has had two knee replacement surgeries. He looks fine when walking, slow, but no slower than the average 91-year-old. But there are days when he’ll have some serious leg pain. Stickers like that are really quite rude. What if a person had something wrong with their lungs where they couldn’t walk long distances without getting winded? Would you really want to be an actually, but not visibly, disabled person coming back to your vehicle to find a rude, difficult-to-remove sticker on your car? Have some empathy, Maedchen.
Genevieve’s last blog post..Well, I think the red and blue obscures my face enough…
Genevieve, my late partner was well aware of hidden disabilities. Here in NSW we have a parking permit scheme for the disabled. They are not hard to get – your doctor has to certify that you are unable to walk 50 metres and your grandfather certainly would have qualifed for one. My partner originally got one because of her acute asthma – ie something wrong wither her lungs.. She would only leave her stickers on the cars of people who didn’t have a disabled permit. She was not a rude person, nor was she an angry one. But she had a strong sense of justice.
Wow, this discussion made me feel pretty freakin’ shitty.
See, I do occasionally “secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head”. I also, occasionally, do say “Excuse me” to get past people on the street, often several people after each other. Because MY disability and the social anxiety attached to it means that being stuck in a crowd is a terrifying moment for me, and when you’re having a panic attack it really becomes vitally important that you get out of the agitating environment as quickly as possible. You feel like you might actually die if you don’t.
This thread contains a lot of “check your privilege and consider why those people might be slow moving”, and I absolutely consider that to be important. But I’m not seeing any “check your privilege and consider why other people might be so anxious to get past you”… quite the opposite.
And yes, I’m aware that people leaving asshole comments on Facebook groups are probably not in the same situation as me.
M-H: They’ve actually made the disability parking permit not only harder to get, but more expensive. You now also need to have your photo stuck to your car, which a lot of people have raised privacy and safety concerns about.
I had one for six months last year after I ruptured my achilles tendon, and it had a photo on it. They are not hard to get if you have a genuine medical condition. I can’t imagine any doctor refusing to endorse one for a genuinely disabled person, but that may be naive of me. You place it with the photo facing inward, not outward, so there shouldn’t be any privacy concerns. It is only there to check if you are the oerson to whom the card was issued, not for public display. There has been so much abuse of the permit system that I think the photos are a good idea. As for the expense, it is nowhere near the expense of taking taxis everywhere, which would be the only option for a lot of disabled people. Currently it is $33 for a card, less if you have a Centrelink or Veteran’s Affairs card, which would be around one round trip taxi ride to the supermarket or to the doctor for many people. However, I see that they are now renewable every 6 months, which is dumb. There used to be a ‘permanent’ disability card which was valid for (I think) three years. This would be helpful for people with chronic or long-term problems.
I had one of the old ones for a year and a bit, until they brought the new system in. Then I had one of the new ones for a while, at additional expense and great hassle.
I no longer need one, so I don’t know what the situation is now.
This, though: They are not hard to get if you have a genuine medical condition. I can’t imagine any doctor refusing to endorse one for a genuinely disabled person, but that may be naive of me.
Is inaccurate. They are not hard to get if you have a genuine medical condition that they can see.
hexy’s last blog post..Maria P. P. Root’s Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People
AFAIK if you have a medical certificate from your doctor it isn’t up to the RTA. The counter staff simply process it. The assessment of the medical condition isn’t done by them. But I agree that the new system is crap for people who live with a disability long-term that means they need to drive.
They tried to make me see an “independent assessor” for the new card. I refused, and there was a bit of a tiff about it. Finally my doctor’s medical certificate was accepted.
I’m not sure if this was a misguided attempt to crack down on incorrect use of the things or not, but the only effect was discriminating against people with non-physical disabilities.
Yes, medical conditions that you can see are clearly treated differently by doctors than are medical conditions that you can’t. Just when I’d been reading this post I came across this blog entry by a doctor (and I usually really enjoy her blog) that made me gnash my teeth (especially since, after not going to the doctor in about ten years, I went late last year with a similar list of symptoms to a GP who dismissed my concerns (after asking me four times in a ten minute consult whether I was pregnant) with a speech that basically went “blah, blah, diet, blah, blah, stress. Needless to say I got a second opinion).
PEOPLE WHO SHIT US : A Case Study
I was a passenger in a car yesterday when the driver (let’s call her Tracy to protect her ignorance) when she suddenly caught glimpse of a driver to the right of her attempting to merge into the slow lane from the on-ramp.
Tracy: “Screw you, dickhead, I just let two people go in front of me, so get in line! Back -of-the-bus-you-Shithead…”
Me: “He’s just trying to merge onto the highway, isn’t he?” (rhetorically playing Devil’s Advocate very well with the Devil herself)
Tracy: “Fuck him! They all just think they own the road and can just push in whenever they want! Li’l fucker….I’ll show him.”
Me: “…..umm, errr, don’t run him off the road, oh, ah…wait, you’re gonna hit………………him”
Tracy: “Now, see that Lexus in front of us? He’s doing the same….placing himself half over in the middle of the lane to the right so that people like “Shithead” behind us can’t squeeze in or push in ahead….my DH does that all the time – it works!”
Me: “….tightens secured seatbelt”
Beppie (above) makes reference to the fact that, while only 10% of people would actually do what they say here, that’s still an awful lot of people…..and this now brings me to share with you what I like to call:
THE TEN PERCENT THEORY
The Ten Percent Theory is a belief system whereby, based on rough and unsubstantiated calculations, ten percent of people in the world are here just to shit us. If we can grasp this concept and come to accept and make peace with this theory you will discover it is actually an effective tool when dealing with stupid people and results in easier dealings with the now quantified “ten percent group.”
Since stumbling upon this until recently unexplored theory, I have discovered that whenever I encounter a being who I may identify as belonging in the category of the “ten percent group,” I actually take a second to breathe, then smile directly at the party in question, before responding with the comment “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize – you’re part of that ten percent group aren’t you?” To which, the person belonging to this category returns with blank stare and bemused puddlement sending them into a state of complete confusion. You are then able to make your exit without further explanation, leaving the “ten percent” person as confused and as stupid as when you initially encountered them. Trust me, I have taken theory out into the big wide world and tested it with remarkably accurate results: it works!
Just to take this on a slight tangent – as a native city dweller I have recently been struggling with my almost overwhelming belief that I must be wherever I am going in the absolute shortest possible time. This is a corollary of the belief that to be 3 minutes late is inexcusable.
I suspect this ubiquitous attitude helps to allow that other 90% of people think that it is reasonable to get angry with a person who is choosing to walk slowly, and therefore making it that much easier for the real scum this thread has been mostly discussing.
Why on earth do I think I have more right to walk fast than someone else has to walk slow? I might be able to make a plausible case for someone not having the right to drive at 50 in 110 zone when there are alternative routes, but I can’t honestly justify a superior attitude to someone who chooses to walk slowly, never mind people who don’t have the choice.
The current climate of work being everything, and work having the right to demand punctuality to the minute and all that kind of rubbish contributes massively to this. I’m not justifying any behaviour, just musing on the need to question some of the underlying attitudes that enable the bastardry that people have been reporting here (and I’ve seen in ultra-mild form while pregnant).
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Aren’t you a little extreme here?
Getting an “excuse me” and then making a slight side-step so a busy person can pass never hurt me. If someone pushed you out of the way, I could understand your anger and resistance, but seriously. A tap and an “excuse me” is bad now? Sheesh.
If you were running late to an important meeting, perhaps even a job interview, those seconds you speak of might mean the difference between having a salary or not, because let’s face it: On a crowded side-walk you won’t be the only slow walker.
Slow walkers have every right to be there, but so do the fast walkers, and as long as a polite “excuse me” precedes the maneuver to overtake you, what the hell is the problem?
The problem with side-walks: Everyone thinks they belong to them. The mothers pushing their strollers side-by-fucking-side so no one else can pass without walking amongst the cars in the street, and refuse to break off their conversation so other people don’t have to risk their lives. The kids who walk in groups of 7+ and can’t seperate from each other to allow other people to pass. Men who must take up as much of the side-walk as possible in order to give the ilusion of broad shoulders. I could go on.
Fact is: We all need to be there, and just because you walk slowly everyone who politely notifies you that they’ll be squeezing past you for reasons you have no fucking way of knowing are now demons in disguise and stomping all over your rights.
Really now… don’t you see how… entitled that is?
Sure. Extreme, angry, oversensitive, uppity, demanding special treatment, and dripping with victim mentality. Did I miss anything?
How about ‘insisting on my right to exist’.
So busy people don’t have the right to exist? Is that it?
No, busy people don’t have the right to touch me, push me out of their way, abuse me or in any other way be an asshole to me because I’m walking slowly. There could be multiple reasons why I’m walking slowly. Maybe I’m just out of hospital after an op, maybe I’m holding my child’s hand and walking at their pace, maybe I’m always slow because I can’t help it. You can stop being rude and not willing to wait a few moments to get past. Some people would love to be able to stride down the street, but they can’t. So suck it up because they are people to with every right to use the footpath.
BTW – late for a job interview. Not my fault. It is highly unlikely that the few seconds it takes for there to be a gap for you to walk through is going to make you late for your job interview, and more likely your own fault that you are late and looking to blame someone else.
Busy people have a right to exist, but not to make my life or anyone else’s life a misery because they think they are so bloody important. Plan your time better, be early, factor some time in so you don’t have to push past people and be rude, have some bloody consideration and hope to gods that it’s never you who can’t walk fast.
As a recovering Busy Person, I don’t think the problem is so much that we think we are so bloody important, it’s that we think whatever errand we are on is so bloody important – far more important than ourselves or anyone else. The logic is clearly flawed, but it is an easy trap to fall into.
I completely agree with the being late thing. Being late is rarely anywhere near as big a deal as we think it is, and on the few occasions that it really matters, leave a huge FUM*. But there is a prevailing attitude in the business world that a few minutes late is unacceptable, and that is just plain ridiculous. Either there needs to be more slack built into the corporate day, or we have to accept up to 15 minute delays based on the fact that the universe does not exist solely for our own convenience.
Nobody walking slowly can genuinely delay anyone by any appreciable amount of time, the problem is entirely in the head of the pressed for time Busy Person. I am currently trying to kick it out of my head entirely, but failing that, making sure I keep it in my own head and don’t share around my neuroses. 🙂
*Fuck Up Margin
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the problem is entirely in the head of the pressed for time
*points to previous comment*
Sometimes the stuff inside one’s head is far more significant than anything going on outside the cranium.
Personal gripe. I’m sick of “it’s all in your head” being used as a dismissive phrase. It’s incredibly ableist and silencing of people with mental and neurological disorders, disabilities and illnesses.
Leeway time of 15 minutes just isn’t going to cut it. Say someone has an appointments on a half hourly basis and the meetings are regularly 15 minutes late. Not long for your whole day to be thrown out. and it all turns to chaos.
However, I agree the reasons for lack of punctuality are nothing to do with people walking slowly etc. It’s all to do with bad organisational skills.
@Fine – that’s why I said perhaps we need to have more slack in the day, if a schedule only ever allows for 15 minutes for a 15 minute journey, sometimes it will take 20 minutes. If you do that 3 times your day is shot. The idea that every minute of every day must be accounted for is fundamentally flawed.
I still have a tendency to not leave enough FUM, being busy doing other stuff. It doesn’t work, it causes completely unnecessary stress.
And I am not dismissing legitimate stuff in your head, just that often the stress people think is coming from external pressure is actually coming from their own anxiety (like it generally is with me). That doesn’t dismiss it, it just changes how best to react to it.
Ariane’s last blog post..Vale Spike Jones
Ariane, I guess I’m saying you always need to leave time for the FUM , as you so aptly describe them. Sometimes friends tell me what they have planned for the day. And I go…ain’t gunna happen, ‘cos somewhere along the line things will take longer than you imagine and you’ll be held up in traffic or your train will be late etc etc… So, in that sense I agree with you. But the solution is more about people organising their time sensibly and not over scheduling.
Memo to bargers … learn to share.
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