Picture the scene, I’ve just done a day of training with Enhance the UK. I’m buzzin’ but looking forward to riding the train home. The train is only 25 minutes long so just enough time to relax before I meet my mum back at the station.
When I’m on the train I’m met with three men who have push bikes. I’m really pleased that they go out of their way to make sure I have enough room on the train – something that doesn’t happen very often and usually I’m barging through bags and luggage.
Feeling content I sit back and relax.
“Hello, have you had a good day?” says one of the men. I reply and do the usual small talk. I bloody love small talk. I find it fascinating. We talk about the weather, the locations of where we’re going and that he’s been on a long bike journey with these friends. I nod as you do when you’ve finished the conversation and look out to the window like you see on the music videos and continue to relax.
“I take disabled kids on days out” says the guy after a couple of minutes.
Here we go…
Apparently he is a retired private bus hire driver. He then went on to tell me for the next 20 minutes the stories of all (yes, ALL) of the disabled people he has met in his life from his friend who’s had a hip replacement, another who’s small and “actually drives” to “a man who communicates with his eyes”. Of course he was very inspirational… *please note hint of sarcasm*
Now, I know I have to be careful here because I don’t want to sound like a moaner. I know he was just politely making conversation. I love chatting I really do, especially about disability. But when I’ve just met someone 5 minutes into a train journey I don’t want them to tell me how amazing disabled people are. Some people like to tell me how many disabled people they know and how they are actually getting on with their life. Common lines include:
“I often see them about”
“I’m not sure what their disability is but…”
“you might know them, they’re from…”
I wonder what he would think if I listed all of the people I knew who had bikes. It would be weird wouldn’t it?
I can just imagine him adding me to the list next time he sees someone else, “lovely lass, only small but she went right up that ramp easy!”
That was cruel of me but I did chuckle typing it so I’m leaving it in.
Anyway if you’ve done this before, don’t worry. All I can say is if the conversation doesn’t naturally come up, don’t word vomit all about disability and the people you know to disabled people. It’s not the only convo I can have. I’d much rather talk about what I’m having for tea or the latest on Coronation Street.
I couldn’t find a relevant picture so here’s me on the set of Coronation Street instead…
Don’t forget – you can still vote for me in this year’s Diversity in Media Awards as Blogger of the Year!