The Reality Institute

The waitress. by Eva Sweeney

This is cross posted from Eva’s blog The Deal with Disability.

Hey, I’m Eva. I’m 26 and a recent college graduate. I like to write, to take digital photographs, and just chill. But this blog is not about what I like. This blog is about how people treat me. You see, I am physically disabled. Actually “severely” physically disabled. I have Cerebral Palsy, which for me means I can’t walk, speak, or use muscles in traditional ways. I use a power wheelchair to get around and spell out what I want to say on a letterboard.

This blog will be videos and stories of people treating me bizarrely. My video camera is mounted to my wheelchair (very discreetly) and I basically just press record whenever I go out and then edit the good stuff for you! I will then write my comments on the event, which is usually what was playing in my inner monologue while these insensitive people were talking. Feel free to email me at Hope you enjoy. Here’s an introduction video (no other people, sorry).

Boy do I have a good video for you. This is footage my friend Liza took when she was doing a documentary about me. Me and my aide at the time, Kat, were in Virgina at a CP conference. It was one hour before I was supposed to give a speech and we decided to grab some food. When…

Where to start? I know she meant well. She was a super nice person and just wanted to help. But I draw the line at trying to help me drink. She wouldn’t let us eat! I doubt she tries to feed other adults, and I’m sure even parents would be mad if she tried to feed their children. She also hovered around the whole time we were eating.

Lets talk about the beautiful sippy cup. As a 24-year-old (which I was at the time) wouldn’t you think that if I wanted a sippy cup I would have asked for one? I appreciate that she was trying to make it easier and I know I said yes so that she wouldn’t feel awkward, but offering a 24 year old a kid’s cup is just weird.

Her last comment really bugged me, “I want you to FEEL BETTER!” That automatically implies that having a disability means you’re sick and you need to get better. My disability is just part of who I am, and in fact, I’m a very healthy person.

As for my aide’s somewhat timid responses, I generally prefer them not to cause a scene. And from their point of view, it’s really awkward to try and correct people, particularly when it totally comes from left field. Not to mention the woman was really sweet, and no one wants to make her feel bad. The best thing we can do is get amusement out of it.

See, I told you it was a great video!

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20 Responses to “The waitress. by Eva Sweeney”

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