I had a bit of an annoying run-in recently at my community center. I was checking in & since there were a few people in line, I had moved to the farther counter to do so. This older person comes right up behind me, with no regard to space, almost knocking over my oxygen machine to check in as I was trying to. I kind of muttered “personal space much” as I walked away to hang up my coat. He proceeded to follow closely but I think took a hint for a minute since he was on the other end of the coat rack. I then walked into the equipment room.
I proceed to change out my nasal tubing because I have a special one I need to exercise with. I then also change the setting on my oxygen concentrator & plug it in. Keep in mind there’s at least 7-10 other exercise bikes other than what I’m using. They are all empty. Yet only 3 of the total bikes in the room are near outlets (this one happened to be one).
If I don’t plug it in before I start, I maybe get 45 minutes (if I’m lucky) at the settings I have to use for exercise with my oxygen concentrator. So as I plug in, with my phone & oximeter, tubing & running band on the bike in plain view, he comes right up behind me & says “Are you using this machine?” When clearly he can see I am.
I then retort, “Actually I am, thank you” and refuse to move. He pretends to throw up his hands like I cursed him out or offended him. (Nice fake outrage there, buddy). I bet he figured I would just up & move. As if he could sweetly try & bully me into moving.
Why should I? Clearly I am near that piece of equipment for a reason & just because it takes two extra minutes to set up my workout & plug in my machine that’s a problem for an able-bodied person who is entirely capable of using another empty machine that doesn’t need an outlet. (They just happen to be further away from the door than mine, aw shucks.)
Don’t get in the way of my workouts because I’m….
I wear this shirt for a reason.
Even if it’s insanely difficult, as long as I do what I can exercise wise as often as I can, my recovery is going to be that much quicker after my transplant surgery if I continue my routine as long as possible.
If I use the excuse “I don’t feel like it” any more, it will never happen.
Plus — even if I have less than 30 percent of my lungs left, the more I can build up that remainder, the better off I’ll be while I wait for my new breathers.
I’m not letting anyone deter me from my mission. (This isn’t grade school where we have assigned seats either).
UPDATE: I can admit to personalizing every so often. I’m a human being, after all. Shortly after I posted this a few people from the area who use the same facility (who are also regular users) happened to share their own experiences akin to mine.
It was pointed out to me that there are some people out there who are just completely oblivious to their surroundings & other people, regardless. They are just rude & inconsiderate people by nature.
I can see that side too & have to concede that point. I just find it highly annoying when people are jerks. Also when personal boundaries are crossed without any regard to the person whose space is being violated.
The fact is I am subject to an ageism myself where I’m perceived as “too young” for my need for transplant, to be on oxygen, etc. so yes, I can be on defense at times because I am sick of hearing it (12 years of the din does wear one down). Yet, the problem I speak of is still present & reality, sometimes daily for friends of mine.
I can admit that I am still working through my own frustrations in processing what is happening to my body & the changes happening in my life within my own space & community that I can get it wrong occasionally or perceive something other than a person just being an asshat when it happens from time to time.
I also get the “creature of habit” thing as well.
Yet, I can’t ignore the fact that sometimes this ableism does happen to others for no other reason than being unfairly stereotyped & discriminated against because they do have a limitation. Or that there is a segment out there that doesn’t have access to accessible equipment or accessible facility because of people’s obtuseness & resistance to any form of change. Outdated prejudices & beliefs people cling to for dear life.