Call me pedantic but I really didn’t fancy getting my foot wedged down the toilet again.
After last year’s faux pas of attempting to delicately step over Munch in the toilet cubical and ending up slipping and dipping my toes into what I hoped was clean H2O in the bottom of a Tesco’s toilet, I have been a little wary of our ability to fit into a standard size toilet cubicle. Now, I love Munch dearly, but I often wonder if his dipsey ways are from being away with the fairies or just a sneaky plan of watching on in glee as my mishaps multiply. The day in question, he appeared not to understand the “come on sugar cube, forward” that I used to coax him into getting his pony like body into cubicle, hence my slip and dip routine where my foot decided to dive into the toilet as I clumsily clambered over him. In all fairness, as soon as he heard the splash, he came alive and turned around and closed the door with his nose. If I had functional vision, I swear I would have seen his shoulders shaking with silent laughter. Sorry, I am digressing from my original point. It is virtually impossible for me and lofty Munch to fit into standard size toilet cubicle accident free, so we sometimes need to use the disabled toilets if the standard ones aren’t large enough.
A few weeks ago, when we successfully emerged from a disabled toilet with dry feet, I was happy. That is until an irate woman snarled at me as I walked out. “You do know that this is a disabled toilet don’t you” she seethed. Me being as vacant as ever replied “Yeah I know” with matching puzzlement in my voice and probably my face, “You shouldn’t be using it should you” Chirpy Cheryl chastised. “Do you actually have a disability?” Chirpy Cheryl huffed, puffed and tutted with raised blood pressure. “What?” the childish me snapped back. As I heard the pennies fall in her head, Chirpy Cheryl did become chirpy as she started to apologize profusely for not noticing 31 inch high Munch. This not looking blind malarkey did not half get me into trouble. Chirpy Cheryl would not be the first nor the last to jump to the conclusion of what a disability does and does not look like. My daughter who was waiting outside the toilet heard the conversation and we talked about it afterwards. The accuser of the “queue jumping non-disabled person” herself did not appear to have any external clues of a disability but we did not think about questioning her about her entitlement of using the disabled toilet as our minds were not confined in such a narrow space.
Call me bad minded but I think Chirpy Cheryl has many like-minded friends around the place who also like to question your entitlement to join them in disabled facilities. Being blissfully blind to most things around me, I never see the judgement on other people’s faces but people who I am with at the time do. Parking in a disabled car parking spot the other day, we were bitterly embraced by Cranky Colin who we parked next to us in a disabled bay. As my daughter merrily popped my Blue Badge on the dashboard, she commented that Cranky Colin’s scowl towards us was intensifying. As we gathered our things together to get out, my daughter told me that Cranky Colin had suddenly transformed into an owl as he whipped his head around to watch us go to the boot to get Munch out. Even as we walked away on the pedestrian area in front of the car, I was told he was still glaring and had added a few head shakes and I am sure I felt some heat seeking missiles being aimed at my back. I mean if someone is walking with a Guide Dog and has a blue badge, it is fair to say that they can use a disabled parking spot. The Chirpy Cheryls and Cranky Colins in the world maybe should rethink the judging that they do. People who have disabilities and health conditions that require disabled facilities themselves surely realize that empathy is a far better option that hostility.
Unless we have x-ray vision and a medical degree, let’s not pretend to be experts on how hidden disabilities and health conditions affect people. Surely the Chirpy Cheryls and Cranky Colins in the world that themselves live with health issues should know what it is like to be judged. Tuts, headshakes and snappy comments will always say more about the one making them and little about the person they are directed at. Chirpy Cheryls and Cranky Colins may always exist but we can always take steps to educate them. Failing that, we can always send loving unicorns their way and hope their glittery poop that they drop from overhead adds some sparkle to their dull lives. Love and splattering’s Cheryl and Colin X.