Paranoid about being misunderstood

@Fleura (7194)
United Kingdom
April 20, 2016 2:00pm CST
A month or so ago I was doing some conservation work with a team of people, some of whom I had never met before. One young woman only had one hand. We were working in teams of three or four, coppicing hazel bushes, and after the hard work was finished we selected some specimens to label so that we will be able to monitor their progress over the next year. We had tied labels to the first few ‘stools’ (I’m afraid MyLot may censor this term) when we realised that one of them was in fact two very close together so we would have to relabel, which meant untying the tightly-tied string to remove the incorrect labels beyond that one and replacing them. The young woman started unpicking the first knot and I said ‘Can you manage that?’ because untying knots tied tightly in thin string is difficult - but then as soon as I’d said it, it occurred to me that she probably thought I meant ‘Can you manage that with only one hand?’ when in fact I would have said the same thing to anyone. I wanted to explain that but I knew that would only draw more attention to the subject and make everyone feel worse! Last week I was in town with Big One and we were walking down the street when another young woman came towards us. I found myself looking at her because she was wearing a coat very similar to mine, which I had thought was probably rather outmoded, but if a fashionable young woman was wearing one I thought perhaps it was still OK (or the fashion has come round again!) but anyway I had been looking at her perhaps rather more than was polite when I noticed she had only one arm. Then I noticed that Big One was also looking at her rather intently. After we had passed I asked why she had been staring at the woman and she replied that she thought she recognised her as an author and presenter of children’s TV. I can imagine that the woman in question may have thought we were both staring at her because of her brachial status when in fact that wasn’t true at all. Now I’m starting to get paranoid about my words and actions being misinterpreted. Sometimes human relations do seem very complicated!
5 people like this
4 responses
@jaboUK (54867)
• United Kingdom
21 Apr 16
I think there is a tendency to walk on eggshells around disabled people, when all they really want is to be treated the same as anyone else.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
21 Apr 16
That's right, but I have known people get offended by some imagined slight because they don't realise it's the same thing that would happen to anyone else!
1 person likes this
20 Apr 16
The first lady probably didn't connect your ordinary question with her only having one hand, and the second probably didn't even notice you looking! I know exactly what you mean though!
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
21 Apr 16
I hope you're right, some people do imagine that everything that happens is due to some sort of discrimination!
@Hatley (164507)
• Garden Grove, California
20 Apr 16
we orselves are so ch harder on ourselves than anyone else would be
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (130205)
• Bunbury, Australia
21 Apr 16
I can imagine this happening. Sometimes I've been staring at something just past a person and they'll wave as though they think I'm looking at them. Such is life!