A well meaning question from a stranger I gave directions to.
We were standing in the lift from platform 10 of Flinders Street station and a person with a suitcase decided figuring out why I have a bright yellow walking stick would be a great conversation starter.
I accept that I made the stick very obvious by spray painting it with Dulux “Daisy Yellow” spray paint but I didn’t do that with the intention of inviting questions, I did it because I thought it would look cool.
This person asked if I had an injury and I said ‘No, I’m disabled’ and turned to push the lift button. I wish I’d tacked on another sentence though, something about how it’s rude to ask a stranger ‘what happened?’, ableist to ask why they need a mobility aid and horrible to ask because you’re trying to ‘catch a faker’.
If the person wanted to have a conversation they could have asked where I was headed that evening, where I got my cute skirt, how I decorated my kick ass stick or of I knew any good places for a snack.
There are so many ways to interact with disabled people respectfully and with kindness, and I was on my way to work in a skirt I got from Myer six years ago using my spray painted stick, and on the way I’ll probably stop at Woolworths to grab some snacks.