Three or four times over the last few months, I’ve had some trouble from some local school kids: two or three boys, who can’t be more than fifteen, see me coming along the road and think it’s funny to try to wind me up. They call me names and mock me, which inevitably gets me going. I know I should try to ignore it, and that responding in any way will only encourage them, but it pisses me off that these snot-nosed kids think they have a right to make fun of me after all I have achieved. As I once wrote here, I feel very proud of myself and my disabled friends, and don’t see why I should be the object of some child’s mockery. What frustrates me even more, though, is that when I start to turn on my communication aid to try to talk to the boys civilly, they refuse to listen.
As I said, this has happened a few times from the same set of kids; the last time was a couple of weeks ago. Today, however, I was just heading up to Eltham when I saw a set of boys coming the other way, and I noticed myself automatically tense up and prepare for trouble. I wasn’t sure they were the same boys I got the flack from, but it was as if some switch inside me had been flipped: I felt my adrenalin start to flow and I started to feel angry.
In the end, of course, the boys just passed me without a word – they obviously weren’t the ones who had given me trouble. Thinking about it afterwards, though, it struck me as odd: why should just the sight of these young men have caused such a reaction in me? Why do I let it get to me like that, or why should I have reached a point where the sight of three boys caused such a reaction? Why did I assume I’d have trouble from a set of lads who, in the end, proved harmless?