I am sitting in a coffee shop where I feel a bit weird. there are all the local women having cafes as I guess most don’t have careers or jobs. in Switzerland many women work in the traditional role of the woman raises kids and the man works. while there is more dual income, or independent women in the country, the smaller villages like this one have you feel like you are stepping back in time. while people use their mobiles all the time, you don’t see many sitting and staring out the window and typing like I am. there is a seeming rigid structure in the German part of Switzerland. if I don’t commit three social faux pas before breakfast here, I would consider it a step towards assimilation with cultural blending.
what I left behind was the bizarre world of American culture, of which, I have to confess, the country feels like it is going further into the land of polar opposites with the way people behave socially. you have everyone wanting respect, but few giving it. it is like Einstein’s definition of insanity where you try the same thing and expect a different result. the only time the culture will change is when something terrible happens and the people are forced to change. until then, the eye for an eye mentality with a dose of Einstein’s insanity thrown in appears to be the rule of the day.
the last memory I have of this is a sad tale of a woman trying to get on a packed bus who appears to be someone that allowed whatever malady with a physical or mental sense to corrupt and harden her heart. we all get a choice with what life gives us, and how we want to react, but sometimes when you see a heart and soul harden, the person gives off a weird sense of almost evil seeping out where they either don’t realize how miserable they are, or they simply wanted the rest of the world to come down to their level. such was the case of this woman and how I came up with the term Disa* Bull* ity.
what is it? DisaBULLity - someone is in so much pain that they will use their talents to milk or abuse a system that was designed to help someone, and do it in such a way that as much pain or resources are needed to accommodate one person and have the rest of society get so fed up – no matter how much empathy or compassion have someone say, “what is the point of helping someone that is just bent on being angry and using the system?”
we all heard the woman as soon as the bus door opened. I didn’t think much as I ran out to use the restrooms and when I got back in the seat, the woman wasn’t asking, she wasn’t inquiring, she was screaming that she was disabled and needed the front seat of the bus. the bus driver had the patience of a saint and was explaining to the woman that yes, the bus is equipped with disabled seating in the middle of the bus and he would be happy to ask the full bus for someone to move to accommodate her.
“no, I want the front seat! I am disabled!” and she went on a diatribe about calling all the various companies, disability acts people, trying to threaten the driver, the bus company and all the while holding up a line in a snowstorm on a bus that was already full.
that was when I had enough and pulled out a video camera and started recording. I simply had enough and had a creepy feeling that this was not the first time this person had abused the rules of the system to fit her personal wants and needs.
“you can’t record me! why are you doing that.”
“we are in a public space, and I am recording this so the bus driver has evidence to refute whatever you are going to tell everyone about how terribly you were treated by throwing out the disability card.”
that was it, for someone so disabled, she sure was able to climb up into the bus quite easily and poke the iPad with her cane.
I smiled and my eyes must have said, "since you appear to know the nuances of a lot of law, you realize just committed assault, Want to keep going? or do you want to stop being a bully?"
that was the moment, I think a light bulb went off in her head that everyone around her, the folks on the bus, the bus driver, the people in the line, and all the poor folks at the bus terminal who had already warned the driver about the tsunami of anger and pain in the woman.
I listened to the comments on the bus and the general consensus was “what is wrong with that woman? it wasn't’ like she even asked for anything, she screamed and demanded and threatened.”
it was then that I realized that perhaps there was a physical ailment, there might have even been a mental one, but over time – something covered over the human heart and soul with a sedimentation of bitterness, anger, and resentment. it took a giant step beyond sad to a point where as a human being, it was hard to be empathetic. I really don’t know if I ever ran into someone like this before. I just read about them in the paper where they make a living suing people for any infraction of the disabilities law.
perhaps there is a term for this in the legal world where common sense gets thrown out with legalism and all the firms find it easier to pay out people who want to get even with life for whatever has befallen them. I really don’t know.
what I do know is disaBULLIity is a sad phenomenon that takes all the laws, rights, building codes, cost and expenses put in place to accommodate someone that needs and deserves help and has one person’s actions almost wipe out all that work until one steps back and realizes how disabled that person is.
they aren’t really mentally or physically disabled….but their heart and soul really is.
a physical therapist friend of mine once commented about patients, “it is the person that technically should not be alive, who went through some serious trauma that really decimated their body that are the ones that work the hardest to get better. it is the ones that have a minor injury of some sorts that seem to never get better and have lots of excuses to do some basic and simple work on themselves – that somehow tend to take the long road in trying to heal themselves, seem to not ever really push themselves, or really ever get a whole lot better.
I haven’t heard from the bus driver, requesting the video, so I will take this as a good sign that either the woman simply was having a bad day, and/or perhaps a light bulb might have gone on for her to appreciate and ask, versus demanding and commanding.
truth be told, I don’t think there would have been one person on the bus that would not have given up their seat if the woman asked, “can someone help me, I really would prefer to sit in the front seat.”
why is it something so simple…ignored. why is common sense, uncommon with common law?