Crutches are humbling. I mean that in the most literal way possible—no fancy metaphors here. In the two weeks since I have been a four-legged human, I have experienced the good in people: family, friends and strangers—everyone taking care of me.
Of course, with the good also comes the bad: distant, half-hearted smiles and stares.
After the bad, comes the ugly in people:
Getting around on crutches is not easy; it’s exhausting. But, so worth it for a night out with friends! We met up at an underground, speakeasy bar that serves specialty cocktails. The bar is reminiscent of the 1920s with dim lighting and bartenders dressed in period clothing. Needless to say—a good time was had! After migrating to two other bars downtown, it was time to go home.
One of my friends pulled up to the curb, so as not to have to walk for long. As I was getting in to the car, a truck passed us on the left and a young woman yelled out, “Were you born a cripple?” As the truck drove off I could hear her, along with others, laughing hard.
Were you born a cripple?
My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. I am not angry as much as I am disappointed. Hurt. Sad. I have a sprained knee and I’ve been on crutches for two weeks. I can’t help but wonder, what if I had been born with a disability that limited my mobility?
I can’t pretend to know, to truly know, what life on crutches—or other mobility devices—is like. But, I do know this: be kind, because that type of cruel shit hurts. It really, really hurts.