“Able” To Bring Her Down

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 15, 2019

(My uncle is considered by the rest of my family to be a “child-whisperer” because he can easily manage five children at a time by himself. He can take five of us — his kids and my siblings and our other cousins — on outings and manage to keep us all safe while we have fun. We all love him because he is very easygoing and patient but also can be silly with us. We go to the zoo when I am nine, with my ten-year-old and four-year-old cousins — his son and daughter — and twin six-year-old cousins — his nieces. We overhear two old ladies speaking. One of them points at my six-year-old cousin who has one leg.)

Rude Old Lady: “It is fitting that they brought that freak to a zoo.” 

(Her companion laughs. My uncle overhears this comment, as does my cousin, who starts crying. While her twin and the rest of us are attempting to cheer her up, my uncle walks over to the ladies, smiling.)

Uncle: *in a jovial sort of way* “Hello. Would you kindly repeat what you said?” 

(One of the women looks apprehensive, but the other doubles down on what she said before.)

Rude Old Lady: “I said that it is fitting that you brought your freaks to the zoo.”

Uncle: “Freaks? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” 

Rude Old Lady: “No, it’s accurate. You’ve got two kids wearing glasses — that ought to be child abuse, especially when you’re doing it to a little girl — and a kid with one leg. Plus, that kid has another kid who looks just like her except she’s whole.”

Uncle: “Oh, the twins? They don’t look that similar. For a start, she has blonde hair and she has black hair. I might consider it child abuse to not let children wear glasses, regardless of gender.” 

(So far, my uncle has been very conversational in tone. Now, he spreads his arms out like he’s making a grand speech and starts speaking loudly. The other people near the bear exhibit — and even the bears themselves, probably — are listening now.)

Uncle: “Understand this, O ableist hag! I do not appreciate you calling my family freaks, O she-who-made-a-kid-on-crutches-cry! I have nothing more to say to you, O demon-in-a-woman’s-body! Begone, I say!” 

(While my amputee cousin starts laughing at the absurdity of the statement, the rest of us cheer, and the woman, publically humiliated and shamed, stalks off, her companion saying, “Well, you were a bit rude, don’t you think?” to her on the way out. I bring this up now, years later, only because while visiting our grandmother during the summer, the oldest of my cousins and I go to the grocery store. My cousin nudges me in the ribs and says:)

Cousin: *just loudly enough for her to hear* “Hey, it’s the demon in a woman’s body!” 

(She scowled at us and kicked in our general direction before walking away.)

1 Thumbs
651