Thursday, October 19, 2006

Insert Foot In Mouth

We have a volunteer that comes in every week. A very sweet man. He has limited capabilities with dexterity and comprehension and is also in a wheelchair. These are important facts to know so you can accurately picture how the following scene played out.

Volunteer: Hey Sizzle! I can stay later today because I am not taking the bus.

Me: Oh really? Are you going to walk home?

Ohmygod did I just SAY that?!

Luckily he didn't catch it. But unluckily, my boss did. She cornered me a few minutes later in my cubicle wiping tears from her eyes, her snorting laughter echoing throughout the office. She managed to ask me, "Do I need to sign you up for a sensitivity training?"

I knew it was bad when it came out of my mouth. I knew it and I couldn't take it back. But really, what should I have said in that instance? "What are you going to do? Roll home?" That sounds just as bad! And yes, my co-workers and I laughed at that too. I am so going to hell.

Meanwhile, my boss has made the rounds telling everyone about it. I can hear her snorting about it right now.



hotpinksox said...

That is sort of like saying to a blind person, "oh I see." Instead of, "Oh I get it."

I'm sure your volunteer would have thought nothing of it had they caught it.

And I can relate I say things like that ALL THE TIME.

Sally said...

Those are just natural things we say because the majority of people we deal with WALK.

I am positive I've once asked a blind friend if he was going to 'see' his friends later. Or said something like, 'You should have seen his face!' oops.

Found your blog through Sue's The Torn Pages, btw.

JustRun said...

Ugh, those are the worst moments, aren't they? I'd sooner eat a worm than catch myself doing that and yet, I catch myself (a little too late) all too often. I once reached out to shake the hand of a man who was paralyzed from the neck down. Duh.

I think most people tend to understand when you're generally not a schmuck.

alissa said...

I think most people appreciate that you see them as a person not someone with a disability! I think he was probably glad that you treated him like you would anyone else.

Seriously, what would you say instead of "walk home?"

snackiepoo said...

LMAO - thanks for the laugh.

My stupid ass would have said, "oh are you gonna roll home on your swank rims? so don't feel too bad. But again, I would say that to someone without a disabilty so yeah, I agree with the equality thing too.

kapgar said...

Leave it to you, right?

How's that shoe taste?

Jenny said...

hahaha. sounds like something i would do, not you?!


Mrs. Ca said...

That is too funny. If I had witnessed that I probably would have to leave the room, because I'd need to find some floor to roll on. Wait, that doesn't work either.

Yeah, there's no good way to ask someone in a wheelchair how they're going to get home.

Circe said...

HAHAHAHAH! I'm wiping my eyes here. I love the 'roll home' though. Sizz, we know you are too sweet to have been offensize. But it's funny! :)

Melissa said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Mint flavored shoes today?

Mr_Rodacre said...

and i appreciate that you are using a foot metaphor to describe your discomfort at saying something silly to someone who can't walk.

It's redundantly ironical... =)

Bill said...

Yes, it's funny but what are you supposed to say? I'm no expert but I would think being treated like an average person is much more pleasant than being treated like some who needs special treament.

Besides ... how the hell IS he gonna get home? :-)

Krisco said...

Ohhhh - and who is insensitive now?

I think it's a reasonable question. I'm sure he would know you would mean he was going home on his own, sans bus.

Geez, I'm sorry. I think the boss is the lame-o here...

Javajabber said...

Having lived with someone in a wheelchair, you said the right thing. When my husband and mother-in-law were both in chairs (both disabled, not temporary), it would piss them off if anyone said anything to reflect the chair. To a person in a chair, walking and rolling are the same. It's not meant as "with two legs" but more of a "without transportation" type of adjective. Hopefully that made sense. Basically, they didn't it when folks talked to them differently than able-bodied folks.

Margaret said...

Glad your boss has a sense of humor!

Becky said...

That's hilarious...and sounds like something I would say. And you make a good point of how else would one have asked that question?

Our faux pas growing up, esp. for our generation was saying the word "retarded" to mean anything was stupid. Well, we then made a friend that had a sister that is mentally retarded, and though we tried not to use the word (and realized it was tacky), it was difficult to break the habit and we often slipped.