make room for wheelchairs, or I'll be forced to...

Accommodate the wheelchair-bound among you,
or I'll be forced to think mean things about you...!

Last night, I invited Grandma and Grandpaw to come watch Josie at fencing lesson. Grandmother has to use her wheelchair more and more, something she has put off as long as possible.

Knowing I was going to invite them, I scoped out the fencing place- looking for where we would place her. The outside of the facility is in FDA compliance, but the inside is a little sketchy.
(funny how having strollers and or family with a wheel chair changes your perspective on things like curbs and aisles...)
There is a waiting room with comfy couches, but no view of the workout floor. Most of the parents sit upstairs on a balcony- not assessable, there are two seats at the foot of the stairs that are rarely used, because they are a bit awkwardly in the walking path of the stairs. There are a couple of chairs on the far side of the workout floor (which is wood) but they are off the wood and on a narrow strip of floor- I checked, too narrow for a wheelchair. So, our only option was the seat area at the foot of the stairs.

When we arrived, there was a lady already in one of the seats, with a pile of books in the chair next to her. I politely asked her if we could move the empty seat to another spot so we could fit the wheelchair there. I asked very sweetly. (and I admit, I expected her to then offer us the whole area and go sit elsewhere)
She protested that she was saving the seat for someone, and she would 'scooch' her chair over 2 inches to make room for the wheelchair next to her. Grandpaw (my dad) replied that this would not work, because the wheelchair would be totally blocking the doorway. She thought everyone would go around her. uh, no... The lady now had an air of "I don't know what you should do, it's your problem, but I'll offer suggestions"...and she suggested we move a set of wire shelves out of the way and park the chair there.

  1. this is not my studio, I don't want to offend the owners by moving their furniture
  2. there was nowhere close to place this shelf unit, our only close option would be to place it directly on the practice floor, again the owners might take issue with this
  3. if we put it on the floor, Grandmother would be sitting right behind it and not be able to see...which was the whole point of packing up the wheelchair into and out of the car to go see her granddaughter fence...

We were being so polite, and this woman was being so obliviously unaware of courtesy in an on-purpose sort of way.

It was at this point I was about to suggest she take her capable body and two legs that work and climb up the stairs and sit in the seating up there. Two things held my tongue, a sense of not being the mean person...and the feeling that Grandmother would probably want to go about un-noticeable. I am thinking this must have stopped my dad, too. I had the feeling that if I pointed out the obvious to this woman, she would have become defensive in demonstrating why she was not in the wrong, when she was clearly behaving wrongly- and cause a scene that would make Grandmother unhappy.

So, we let it pass, moved the shelves onto the floor, but somehow my dad got the woman to move her chairs over so she was sitting behind the shelves, not Grandmother.

We were left standing for 1 hour, because the only seats left were across the floor or upstairs, and we didn't want to leave grandmother alone.

I don't get people. Really.

I did get over it, evidence A: I didn't take a photo of the scene and post it online.

next time, time.

p.s. she read a book the whole time. which she could have done in the waiting room.

p.p.s. karma or whatever you want to call it- comes around eventually... which is why these things don't bother me long. :)