When you are in a wheelchair, people tend to tell you their whole life including all their diseases and worries. I mean situations like this one: About a year I ago my brother and I were strolling through Hamburg when suddenly a strange woman came out of nowhere. She stopped next to me asking loudly why I was sitting in a wheelchair. She didn’t give me a chance to answer her question as she continued holding a monologue about her friend suffering from multiple sclerosis and about all her own health issues. Just like that – out of nowhere. Kind of strange, isn’t it!? The idea of asking a stranger anything about her or his health would never even cross my mind.
Up to now I’ve never found an explanation for the WHY? Is it my wheelchair that invites people to explain their “suffering” or their troubles in life? Or is it my friendly smile? Is it to make me feel better? Or to make them feel better? Is it to show, that valid-looking people also have problems with health, relationships or what ever? Is it because people expect me to understand? Or simply because they need to pour their hearts out? Please let me know if you have any ideas! Most of the time I listen patiently to people’s stories but sometimes I simply don’t want to hear their private stuff. I’m not yet a therapist – I’m only a young woman sitting in a wheelchair.
The other day I was in a big drug store with the intention to buy an electric toothbrush. A simple plan. While I was standing in front of the shelf, studying the different models, a pleasant salesman joined me. I briefly told him what I was looking for and asked for his advice. He told me that he would buy model XY and started to ask about my disability right away. He was kind of a funny, nerdy guy and within 5 minutes I knew about his relationship, his divorce, his taste of women (luckily I didn’t fit) and – of course – about all his health issues. I nodded and nodded and after 20 minutes I finally managed to escape with no toothbrush. I’ll get in on Amazon!
What kind of weird experiences with strangers did you have? Let me know by contacting me or by leaving a comment below.