Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reach out and touch someone.

Hello, friends!

I have just arrived at my evening class - a thought provoking if not interesting discussion of Human Sexuality. Heads up, guys - the top two thirds of a woman's vagina are nerve ending free. So, all that stuff they say tidal waves and oceanic movement really is true. There's something I didn't know before, and will definitely change the way I notice men's shoes.

Moving along.

I arrived at my class tonight after a full day at work, hungry and plaintive. (I have slipped into full Betsy Ross mode - ripping up my old and bleach-stained jeans to make bow-ties. How eco friendly is that?! Totally cool, right?! I know.) Nothing like a hard day at work sewing (badly) to fire up your appetites. Thankfully, I had a most helpful co-worker offer me tasty snacks!

I bet you're wondering what this has to do with my topic of discussion. Well, upon arrriving for class, I noted a full bottle of cranberry juice and a nearly-whole cheeseburger lying on the ground. I might not have noticed it if it were not in my path to class. But I did, and it made me think.

Saint Husband and I recently did some volunteer work for an organization called 'Second Harvest' in their 'Harvest for Hunger' campaign. In case you are wondering, Second Harvest is a Toronto-based charity that provides fresh food (perishables - items that you cannot get at a food bank: meat, dairy and produce) to people in need.

I thought about that again, as I munched on my tasty, tasty snacks: how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy things like smoked Gouda, or tartes aux chocolats. And yet, there is so much waste. How many people will go hungry tonight and would have gratefully eaten that food, and be horrified at the thought of such waste?

Both Sainted Husband and I stood outside in the frigid cold last Sunday evening, soliciting donations from the community to support the Harvest for Hunger campaign that will feed many families in need. For every one dollar donation, the charity is able to provide two fresh meals. Sounds pretty economical to me! Yay, for waste saving!

Anyway...

Picture it: here's me. I am sitting outside of Sobey's on a Sunday night - a very cold night - wearing a sandwich board and a chef's hat. I am sitting in my chair holding a tin can. I am looking very shaky and cold and pathetic. Which apparently makes more people likely to part with their morning coffee money. Cool. I'll take it. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever playing into your stereotypes to help feed hungry people.

Three hours and $275 dollars later, I am walking home with Dear, Sainted Husband, discussing the experience where one particular patron stands out to mind:

There I am, standing outside looking sad and weepy with my little tin can, chatting up the customers (I did compliment more than one pair of "fantastic" [read: ugly as sin] shoes to get an extra toonie. Shameless. I know). A woman comes up to me and drops a dollar in my little can. She then comments that my fingers are blue (which they are. It was really cold.) and that "the man looking after me (Saint Husband. He is inside. There is a display inside that needs to be manned. I chose to go outside. I felt that needed to be noted.) should come out and give me his sweater."

I respond by telling her that "I'm fine", and that it really isn't much longer (It really wasn't). She proceeds to march inside and tell DSH that "that girl in the wheelchair needs a coat. She is going to die of hypothermia" (this, I heard later).

DSH comes dashing out of the store, panicking that I am gravely ill. With reassurances that my core temperature is well within normal range, I send him back with a giggle and a gentle admonishment for paying such close attention to the silliness of others.

I assume that she finished her shopping, as she comes out 40 minutes later to ask me why I'm not wearing DSH's wooly sweater, walking away, stating that I am "too nice".

Is it really possible to be too nice? Especially in relation to making your own choices...really? I'm surprised. Though, I'm not really all that surprised, given my experience with other people and their opinions of what it is that I should be doing.

Her insistence about the appropriateness of my shivering (please, Mum, if you're reading this: I was wearing socks and a coat and an extra sweater.) is rendered comical (to my mind) by the fact that she was wearing capri-length leggings, bare feet and flip flops (by the way Mum: she was not wearing a coat, either. Just so you know).

Here, I feel myself asking the same questions I always ask: what is with these people? (I know, just trying to be nice, and all that. But - I ask you: what if someone said/did that to you? Does just trying to be nice still apply?

Sounds like a double standard to me.

When I started this blog, I promised myself that it would not become a platform for the way I feel about disability, disability issues, and general soap box jumping. Then, I started showing the blog to people (thank you, Social Networking site!), after the incident with Unnamed-for-fear-of-slander-suit Regional Transit Company, people said, "this is what this blog should be used for. You have a voice. It's a strong one. Use something that can reach people.

Can you feel it? That's me, reaching out. Touching you.

Did you like it? Enjoy it.

Good night, lovelies. xo

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