Their Etiquette Has A Few Developmental Issues

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 11, 2018

When I was around twelve I began experiencing repeated and painful skin infections in practically every scrape or scratch I got. This led to very frequent visits to my pediatrician for, at first, prescription strength antibiotic ointments, and then multiple tests to find out the cause of the infections. My doctors were amazing. But their other patients… not so much.

One experience that sticks out is the day I went in to get a blood draw. We were fairly early, so my mom and I waited out in the empty lobby. I tended to sit with one leg folded under me and the other knee pulled up to my chest so I could “crouch” on the chair and balance my Harry Potter book on my foot so I could read. It looked odd to most people, but I’ve always found it comfortable.

Not long after we settled in, another mother — a very rude lady — and her son came in. Though we didn’t know them by name, the pair were not unfamiliar to us, as we saw them around town often and the son had been doing occupational therapy with a partner at my mom’s company. The rude lady’s son had some fairly significant physical and mental handicaps and was vocal but nonverbal, and was, through no fault of his own, already making loud sounds and yells as his mother physically dragged him into the lobby.

Instead of sitting in any of the other empty twenty odd seats, the rude lady pulled her son over and sat down directly across from us, with about two feet of aisle space separating our knees. The rude lady immediately struck up conversation with my mom, while I continued reading.

They seemed to be getting along fine, and I tuned them out until I caught this lovely gem, seemingly out of nowhere: the rude lady suddenly leaned forward, patted my mom on the knee, and said in the most condescending and mock-sympathetic voice, “Is she mentally r*****ed?”

This, of course, caught my attention. My mom was staring at her in shock when I looked up and said, “Wow, that’s rude, lady. Just because your kid has some problems doesn’t mean everyone else’s does.”

In hindsight, this was quite cruel of me to say, and I regret saying it every time I think back to this experience. In private, my mom scolded me for pulling the rude lady’s son into it, and she was very right to do so.

The strangest thing out of it all, though, was that once the rude lady got over sputtering a few choice slurs at us, she roughly grabbed her son’s arm and marched out of the pediatrician’s office. Only afterwards did we realize she had never gone up to the front desk to check in or schedule an appointment. It seemed that her entire reason for coming in was to engage with another mother-child duo in the hope that she would find someone else going through the same experiences as her.

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