After she showed me a sketch of her design plan, I knew we were going to have to run to the store for some supplies. While I have all of the decorating tips, colors and equipment, but I wasn't expecting to need a disco ball. Her cake should get points for originality!
While we were standing in line checking out with a disco ball, I was approached by a stranger. He politely asked if I was in the military. I smiled and automatically responded that I was not, and that I just had bad luck one day. Typically this appeases the inquisitive shoppers I encounter, but this guy wanted more information.
With Tiffany by my side, looking like a deer in the headlights and utterly confused as to why this stranger kept talking to her Aunt Peggy, I provided short and succinct responses. I kept hoping that this gentlemen would eventually get the clue that I didn't want to have a long conversation detailing my medical amputation history. He failed to understand and continued to pepper me with questions and observations.
If this individual was concerned about a family or friend with limb loss and was seeking input or advice, I would have been happy to stop everything to have a full conversation. Soon into our encounter it became clear that this guy was not seeking help for anybody, but was rather trying to satiate his own curiosity. With my niece at my side, I politely ended the conversation by telling him that we needed to go and that it was nice to meet him. He finally took the hint and stepped to the side so that we could pass. As we were walking by, he shouted "I'm proud of you."
Ugh! I absolutely detest when strangers tell me that I am making them "proud." It is utterly pathetic that expectations for amputees continue to be set so low that I can invoke awe and pride by simply walking into a craft store. I realize that he meant well by the accolade, but I find it insulting and condescending.
I had to explain the encounter to Tiffany, who found the entire exchange odd. She has not had a lot of experience with others viewing my limb loss as an oddity, and the entire encounter left her baffled. In her eyes, I'm just fun Aunt Peggy who uses a prosthetic. It is nothing strange or unusual, and is certainly not worthy of stares or declarations of pride. I love that this generation of our family is growing up with a wonderful new perspective of "normal."
**On a separate note, yesterday was also Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick Fil A. It has become a tradition for our family to participate by visiting all restaurants within a 20 mile radius. Yesterday was no exception and this year we took our cow costumes to a new level. We had a "mooovelous" time.