1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

RESERVED! #TGIF #FTSF

There is a new coffee shop/bakery/cafe in my town. It reminds me of one I discovered and wanted to take home in my suitcase when I was in the Yukon six months back: Burnt Toast Cafe (Whitehorse) and Burnt Brick Cafe (Woodstock.

Both have similar names and beet salads. The similarities start and stop there.

Yes, while trying to envision the decor of this new cafe I have felt the brick wall next to my table. I called ahead and reserved a place. This means I was expected by the staff when I arrived, like I belonged there.

As I sit and eat my beet salad with goat cheese and candied pecans, I decide this will become my new out-of-the-home writing spot and I will be a local that will soon become a regular, maybe even with my own regularly reserved table where I will drink lattes and write all the things.

I would belong there.

When it comes to belonging, I know everyone says it, or at least feels it, at one time or another. We all struggle to belong somewhere. I am no exception.

I think of myself as a bit of a misfit and I have claimed the title with pride, though I live with feelings of not being enough or those of embarrassment a lot.

I want to blend in, to belong there, to belong anywhere. I want to be just another customer.

Customer. Decor. Furniture.

In the cafe today I was finding my way back to my table, after paying the bill, but before eating my dessert. I do hope to come often enough that soon enough I know my way around, but this was only my third time.

Friends either give me their arm, speak directions, or suddenly I am on my own, just me and my white cane.

It taps the metal of table legs and people stare.

Okay, so I don’t know if they do, or if they are nervous I might knock a table over or what, or maybe neither. Today, either way, one of the staff silently pushed me from behind in the name of guidance.

They didn’t do this violently or rudely, just in an attempt to show me how to find my table again.

And did I pull away, whirl around, and correct them, asking them not to put their hands on me without saying something?

Did I say politely that wasn’t the right way to go about that, to help the blind costumer who’d just spent $40 at their establishment?

No and no. I continued to use my cane to find my place and I sat down to enjoy my mini Oreo cheesecake.

I can’t just expect people to know the proper procedure, but it’s hard to explain, n the proper tone, in the moment.

I definitely don’t know how to blend in, to be just another customer, to feel like I fit in, when I feel like an object that must be moved. I say I feel like a misfit, or like a piece of miscellaneous furniture they move into its proper spot in their cafe so I am not in the way.

But do I even go with the rest of the place’s decor?

Hmm.

I should have explained why silently pushing me from behind was not the way to help someone, me, who can’t see. Somewhere inside I have the urge to whip around and tell them to take their hands off me. Or, that they should at least say something before doing it.

Anger and rudeness isn’t the answer. I want to soon be a regular there, to support the community, and to eat good food. Maybe I will even write great things there.

First, I must become comfortable there, with all them, and they must become comfortable with me too.

I want to belong somewhere, a community, even its businesses, such as interesting cafes like those you hear about in Paris, where people drink their lattes, observe people, and write.

Okay, so Woodstock is no Paris, but right now, I am the blind woman who clearly hasn’t figured out her way around quite yet. Friends don’t always know how to help and staff doesn’t yet know me either. If I wait, let time do its thing, I can hope to belong there, the woman who comes in with her laptop and her stick once a week, to her reserved people watching/writing/latte drinking table in the corner.

I can hope. I can dream.

I can do that. I can be. I can belong.

Finish the Sentence Friday:

Finding Ninee
and
Hillary Savoie
hosting.

I belong at this end-of-the-week blog exercise. I am back where I belong.

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9 thoughts on “RESERVED! #TGIF #FTSF

  1. I’m so glad you feel like you belong here, in this end of the week writing exercise, but also I’m angry and sad for you that people feel like it’s okay to put their hands on you to “show” you where to be. A voice in your ear, asking to take your arm to guide you would be so much more conducive to belonging. Also, I appreciate the lesson here, because it’s a reminder that we shouldn’t guide another ever, with out hands. Permission should always be asked for! Thanks for joining, my friend.

  2. “I can’t just expect people to know the proper procedure, but it’s hard to explain, n the proper tone, in the moment.

    Of late I find myself looking to the most routine and everyday occurrence for ‘the lesson’* I might learn.

    Perspective is very much the word, as opposed to ‘see’, understand’, ‘recognize’; the word carries (for me) a connotation of (an additional) relationship.

    So your saying it was hard to explain in the moment, when that moment is charged with ‘energy’ (aka emotion, memories, feedback from ourselves (private) and ourselves (the public face we present) made me think, ‘yeah! what the hell!’

    lol no, seriously. The ‘lesson’ for me in this sentence in this post was that, as we say at the Doctrine, “how I relate myself to the world around me” can change from moment to moment. And…and that is natural.

    Or something like that.

    I enjoy posts like this, when I feel comfortable enough to, like, totally wander across the rhetorical landscape.

    * nothing like ‘you must learn this thing, clark!’ or even, ‘this is how we do this around here’… more “What new perspective on myself and the world around me might I gain?”

  3. Oh…I was so frustrated on your behalf to hear about that push…I know that people struggle with protocol for helping/not helping, but putting your hands on someone seems like such an obviously poor choice that I can’t believe it. Except that, of course, I can, because people don’t think. Just the other day a man looked at my beautiful daughter wheeling herself about in the cutest green wheelchair ever, trying to plan with the man’s daughter. He looked right at me and said, “God bless you for taking care of her.” I wanted to push him and say any one of ten smart-mouthed things that jumped into my mind. I wish I had, now, but I didn’t. I just figured I’d write about it later, and hopefully never see the man again.

    I love that you like this place and feel a connection to it. I’m sure that you will find a way to make certain they learn how to help you feel you fully belong there…because you will certainly write glorious things there…and they are lucky to have you want to belong there 🙂 With love from, Another Misfit.

    • Cool green wheelchair. My cane is white. Some choose to go with different colours, but I myself do not. Personal preference, but sounds spiffy.

      Yeah, not everyone thinks the same way. I try not to get angry in the moment, but it can and does build up. I like writing because it doesn’t prevent me from feeling, but allows for extended periods of self reflection.

      Thanks and I hope to spend many happy writing hours in that cafe too.

  4. Pingback: Colours of the Season, #FTSF | Her Headache

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