Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Big deal

dis-a-bled: (adjective) crippled; injured; incapacitated.

There is a girl at my gym who has a deformed arm. I'm guessing it's a birth defect, that her arm just didn't form properly. Whenever I see her, I hope it doesn't seem like I'm staring - even if I am - because I'm not staring out of rudeness but more fascination. I mean, I see her using the treadmill and the weight machines and she gets along just fine. I'm sure society in general would classify her as "disabled" but I don't see it that way; she just has to adapt to certain things.

I want to talk to her about it. I want to ask how it happened, if it was some random defect or if it was genetics, I want to ask how she's found life and how other people treat her. I want to ask all this because I'm curious. I don't want to mock her or belittle her or tease her. Alternately, I don't want to congratulate her or commend her for living a normal life by doing things like working out. Sure, she has a deformed arm which we can see, so we know she has struggled. But that doesn't mean the person next to her doesn't have some kind of personal struggle that isn't as visible. So no pat-on-the-back for being disabled and soldiering on.

But in a society that is SO over-the-top when it comes to political correctness, I don't even know how to broach a conversation with her. Nor do I know if she would even care to talk to me. I really just wish I could walk up to her and ask her point-blank about her arm and not feel weird or inappropriate and not worry about offending her. It's curiosity, plain and simple.

So what if curiosity killed the cat?

No comments: