10 Jul Staring at the disabled

Last weekend I attended the AMCSI Conference in Las Vegas, the national conference for people with my disability. I frequently found myself watching other attendees, trying to see their capabilities and see how they used tools and technology to function. It lead to some interesting conversations with myself:

Me: Wow, that guy gets around really well. And that cell phone holder looks handy.

Also me: Dude, you’re staring. You hate it when people stare at you, and now you’re staring at another disabled person (who looks just like you, btw). Uncool.

Me: No, no. I’m not staring. I’m evaluating and assessing his capabilities and limitations and checking out his use of tools to see if there’s anything I can learn.

Also me: You know that and I know that, but to the outside world you’ve locked your gaze on one person and haven’t looked away for quite a while. There’s a word for that…staring.

Me: …

Also me: …aaand you’re still doing it. Look away! Smile! At least blink!

Me: Now he’s staring back.

Also me: Of course he is, people can sense this stuff! Quit staring, you freak!

Me: Shuddup!

Also me: You shuddup!

It deteriorated from there. Anyway, I have a new appreciation for people looking, for just a little too long, at me.