Today was a long day. I had to carry a 5 pound bag of paper to Bronxville, NY from my home in Jersey City.
I got up there, I turned in my MA Thesis, and I got back on the train to go home. During rush hour.
One of the reasons I hate living in New York City is because of the anonymity, and the way in which those of us have trained ourselves to only fend for one person- ME.
So there I am on the crowded 4 train, and my left shoulder is aching. I can’t lift my arm, and I have to cling to the pole, so i decide to get off at 14th street instead of going all the way down to World Trade Center in order to get the PATH train.
I toddled down the street, narrowly avoiding getting hit by two wheelchairs, and I got on the PATH train.
What happens next happens all the time, it’s just that today was a particularly bad pain day, and I finally got fed up.
So here’s the deal, New York & New Jersey. Those seats labeled “priority seating”? the ones where it said “for persons with disabilities” below it? THAT SEAT IS FOR ME.
Today I felt my shoulder pop because of a turn on the train, my left shoulder searing in pain. I nearly fell. The woman sitting in front of me GAVE ME EYE CONTACT and then she went back to sleep. I could have kicked her. I could have screamed. I SHOULD have screamed.
I am so tired of people acknowledging the blind woman flopping around on the train and not letting me sit down. I know your purse is heavy, but the likelihood of me falling down on my face is far higher than yours.
Whenever I complain about it, people tell me I should speak up. But what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to quietly say “Excuse me, I’m disabled, could you let me sit down?” What if she says no? What if I then have to stand there fuming while I wait for my stop? But on the other hand, what if I fall? I’ve done it before. It could happen again.
Please, NYC. Find your compassion. I’m tired of getting the glances. The guilty faces that say ‘I should get up, but I won’t.’.
Just let me sit down. I hate days where my shoulder hurts so bad I can’t do much more than sit still.
Chances are I won’t sleep tonight.
Bet you will, lady. I bet you will.