Today, at school, I wheeled down a corridor full of students. A teacher shouted 'stand aside for the..pause...lady' (awkwardly avoiding 'wheelchair'). The students stood aside obediently and watched me pass and I felt so 'disabled' and 'different'. I could easily have said 'excuse me' and got through no problem. Besides, no-one was in my way to start with.
Then everything changed.
There were no wheelchair whispers. Only a quiet "Did you see her DMs?" Someone had seen beyond the chair. I glanced back over my shoulder and smiled. The group looked embarrassed. I didn't want them to feel they had done wrong so as I went through the exit I turned again, grinned cheekily and gave them a 'thumbs up' sign with both hands.
As the door shut behind me I heard laughter and the beginnings of a loud and happy discussion on footwear and fashion.
Little did they realise how beautiful their whispers were.
How refreshing for someone to see past the disability in a 10 second glimpse.
And how bright a future they paint for acceptance of those who are different.
It wasn't exactly a 'teacherish' thing to do but I am delightfully unrepentant. Even if their teacher now has a lively class that won't shut up about DM boots.
I was teaching: They now know that complimentary comments on someone's footwear are a good and happy thing.
And that disabled people are just people too.