In the spring of first year as an amputee, I resolved never to wear shorts again. I decided to limit my wardrobe after a rather blatant incident involving staring when I did go out showing my leg. In my dramatic fashion, I even packed all if of my shorts and shorter skirts in a large garbage back and donated them to GoodWill.
And then spring faded into the heat of summer, and I regretted my rash actions. I was miserable in pants. So, I eventually went shopping, and bought a new summer wardrobe.
The weather is warmer, so a few days ago I pulled my shorts out of the back of my closet. All decked out in my summer wardrobe, I went to the grocery store. (insert dramatic music here...) Let the stares begin!
I am used to the stares, and most of the time I don't even notice people looking. Looking at something different is human nature. Most people are kind enough to glance and then casually look away, pretending that they don't see anything unusual. Of course, there are also the gawkers, the people who will actually crane their necks to keep looking. And then there are the whisperers, who feel the need to inform the person next to them that they see an amputee. These people make me laugh, because they obviously believe I must have lost my hearing with my leg.
The gawkers and the whisperers have one thing in common. They absolutely hate to get caught. If I happen to look directly at someone during one of these behaviors, they immediately flush, and then pretend to be very busy. They try to avoid eye contact, and won't say hello.
At the grocery store yesterday, I think I may have found the antidote to the gawkers and the whisperers. My three year old. He is at the stage where he loves to say hello to people. If he sees anybody looking in our direction, he will wave and say hi.
When I was pushing him in the coveted bus cart yesterday, Robby was particularly engaging. He was always talking and waving, which I appreciated because it kept his hands off the cans in the aisles.
When I was checking out, I realized the reason for my son's particularly outgoing behavior. He was acknowledging every person he saw staring in our direction. Being young, he only knew that they were looking at us, and is unaware of the reason. I don't have to "catch" the gawkers and the whisperers, it has become a game for my toddler.