Wheelchair user vs. glasses-user
How would a glasses-user react if you said the same thing to the person as to a wheelchair-user? I therefore take you along in a series of moments that I regularly experience as a wheelchair-user. I only reversed the roles and replaced the word ‘wheelchair’ with the word ‘glasses’ or ‘spectacles’. Moreover, I look through the eyes of ‘Curious me’. ‘Curious me’ meets glasses-user. Do you feel the awkwardness?
[Click here for a Dutch translation of this article]
Driving as a glasses-user
I saw him in the parking lot at the mall. I noticed how he was dealing with his glasses while leaving his car. Is that really one? A glasses-user? I paused for a while, staring at how the man worked his way out of his car. I think he saw me looking, because at some point he looked back. What an incredibly inspiring person that had to be, that he shows himself with that car outside. That he can drive at all with spectacles. Oh boy!
I don’t know him at all.
I continued my way to the grocery store. Did I see that right? Over there in the aisle of the bread department? Let me go there, too. Yes really, it’s the glasses-user of the parking lot. I’ll take a few more steps closer to take a good look at him. How admirable that he manages to grab a bag of currant buns from the shelf on his own. Wow, I notice that I’m open-mouthed. Oh, he’s looking back. The glasses-user has a somewhat questionable look on his face. I don’t know him at all, so I decide to have a chat.
Curious me: “Well done for you to come here!”
Glasses-user: “Eh, do I know you?”
Curious me: “No, but I just wanted to say that I think it’s incredibly admirable how you use your… well… eh… [I wonder if I can say the word out loud?] glasses.”
Glasses-user: “Well, I just do my groceries. Just like everyone else.”
Do you also know …?
Now that I’ve started a chat, I can be a bit more impertinent. So while I continue my conversation, I briefly tap his glasses. I even fiddle casually with his spectaclearm: “Unbelievable what they can make these days, or not? Surely you are very grateful that they make such good glasses these days? ”
The glasses-user backs of a bit after my touch and looks shocked. He even seems to want to leave me. But I just continue our conversation stoically.
Curious me: “Do you also know Clive Applepie, who is the brother-of-the-friend-of-the-baker-in-the-village-of-my-aunt? He also uses glasses! ”
Glasses-user: “Phew… as if I know everyone who uses glasses.”
What should the glasses-user actually do?
I notice that the user of the glasses does a little surly. I get that, because having to live with glasses must be a big issue. But luckily I do have some unsolicited advice for him.
Curious me: “Do you know what you have to do? Get out more often without glasses. With enough practice you will see that those glasses are less and less needed.”
Glasses-user: “What are you talking about? What I have is permanent.”
Curious me: “Oh what’s wrong with you then? Why do you need glasses?”
Glasses-user: “Wrong? There’s nothing WRONG with me. Besides, it’s none of your business ‘why’. I’m not asking you about your medical records, am I?”
Have you ever…?
Boy, it’s like the glasses-user’s a little annoyed today. Fortunately, I have more good advice.
Curious me: “Have you ever tried the carrot diet? You really have to do that. I know someone who tried that too and now he no longer needs glasses.”
The user of the glasses sighs deeply and shakes his head.
Curious me: “And otherwise CBD oil. Truly a panacea!”
Glasses-user: “Thank you very much, but I’m going to continue my shopping.”
I can manage it
I do see the glasses-user looking at a bag of wholemeal bread. Since I’m very helpful, I ask, “Should I grab that bread for you?”
Glasses-user: “No, thank you. I can manage it.”
I hear what the man says, but I’m not listening. It just can’t be that someone with glasses doesn’t need help, can it? Come on, I’m just going to get him that bag of bread anyway.
Curious me: “Here you go!”
Despite my triumphant gaze, because I’m proud to have helped someone, the glasses-user doesn’t seem happy at all.
Glasses-user: “I told you I didn’t need help, didn’t I? Asking if I need help is fine and otherwise I’ll ask for help. But just accept my “No, thank you” when I say so.”
That’s who they are, those glasses-users
Boy, what an ungratefulness of those glasses-users these days. Then let me ask him a few more questions:
Curious me: “Can you still have sex with spectacles?”
Glasses-user rolls his eyes: “Do you think it’s normal to ask those kinds of questions to a stranger?”
Curious me: “Well, it just occurred to me. Do you really use those glasses 24 hours a day?”
Glasses-user: “What do you think? That I sleep in them?”
The glasses-user now even seems a little angry, grabs another bag of bread from the shelf and leaves me. I’ll check him out as long as I can. Because I’m still amazed. So that’s who they are, those glasses-users?
[p.s. If, by the way, a real Clive Applepie exists, then every similarity and the use of that name is based on pure coincidence.]