Tuesday, August 14, 2012

bumping into stupidity

You know how sometimes you meet people that are really horrible in some way (rude, stupid, tacky, smell funny, watchers of reality TV) and you worry that it might rub off on you?  Like asshattery might be contageous, like a cold?

I had to deal with an especially annoyng brand of stupid the other day and it really bugged me.  So I am unloading on you.

My sister has something called Angelman Syndrome.  She is awesome all things considered and, like all little sister's, a pain my my rear a good part of the time.  We are only 13 months apart in age, so while we are miles apart developmentally we "grew up" together.  Yesterday was Dr. Harry Angelman's (the man whom the condition is named for) birthday and a friend of mine posted the spiffy graphic that I am including here.  You might have heard of Angelman Syndrome, despite its rarity, recently because Collin Farrell's son has it and he has been doing an amazing job of spreading awareness and stories about his adorable little boy.  As if Collin needed to do anything to be more awesome and attractive.

Here's a clip on Ellen of him where he discusses James, some of the effects of the Syndrome, and mentions the clinical trials that our community is SO excited about:

Anyway, my sister is in her late twenties, an adult, but she looks physically to be a bout twelve.  She is able to walk, completely unable to speak as you and I do, and loves Woody from Toy Story.  She carries a doll everywhere with her and is absolutely convinced he is real and alive.

I took her and my offspring to Babies R Us the other day because they have those little kid couches that can unfold into a "nap bed" and Beans has a Mickey one.  My sister saw it and fell in love with it so I promised her if she was good I'd get her a Toy Story one.

like this, but with a different picture obviously
She was good, so we packed up the car and headed off to the store.

To give you a visual I want you to picture one adult woman (that is me) trying to wrangle a baby who can escape from grocery carts, one easily distractable ten year old talking non stop, and my sister.  My sister who is carrying her Woody doll and rocking a Strawberry Shortcake backpack.  She also feels she has to push the cart (it is an OCD thing) but can't steer worth youknowwhat, so we are weaving all over the place and one big, loud, walking PSA for birth control.

Early on in our walk to the farthest corner of the store a couple cut me off.  When I told this story to my husband it was with a very unpleasant and not very nice description of the couple.  The description involved words like "Dungeons and Dragons" and "man boobs" ... but I will attempt to be a nonjudgmental biotch here.

Annoyed with the couple, who appeared to be about 8 months pregnant, I just let it go knowing that they were in their own little happy world.

Several minutes later, when we finally walked the 17 miles to the back of the store and got to where the couches where, my little sister, who I was ready to strangle by that point because she had hit nearly every aisle display on the way there and was being a little snot, let out and audible gasp and ran to a Toy Story one.  She was so excited and happy and it was precious enough to make me decide to not kill her after all.  So I asked her if she wanted me to buy it for her, she starts nodding and blowing kisses to the couch while trying to pick it up.

I walk over to help her and I see the annoying couple coming down the aisle.  I move the cart out of their way while I put the little couch thing in it and my sister is now trying to hug it.  Then she decides, in that amazing kid-logic she still possesses, that if I will get her one, why not all of them?  Its not like they are $40 a pop or too big to have more than one, right?  So she goes to grab another one.  We have a small exchange that lasts a few minutes where I tell her I can only get her one, and she needs to be a big girl and push the cart.  Apparently my nice words worked and she started to head back to the cart.  It was then I noticed the couple staring at her.

Now I get that people are bound to stare at an adult woman who is not speaking and wearing a Strawberry Shortcake backpack while hugging a Woody couch.  I get it, really.

But when the woman gasped and protectively covered her pregnant belly with her hands and stared at my sister with disgust when she walked by ... ah, well that I have no phucking patience for.

I leaned in as I passed her made eye contact and said in a cold yet calm voice,

Don't worry, it's not contagious.

Her face went white, then red.  As I was guiding my little odd entourage away I heard her sputtering "I didn't mean ... I wasn't ..." So I called over my shoulder that staring was rude, and walked on.

I have felt, since I was old enough to get it, that I should educate people.   When I was 5 my sister had a seizure at a Taco Bell that warranted an ambulance call.  While my mom was busy handling that I walked up to a pair of old women who were gawking at the scene before them and asked them to not upset my sister by staring at her, she could see them after all I said.  I was eight and giving speeches about inclusion in school.  As a sophomore in high school I wrote a letter to my district office asking where the hell the area of refuge in the event of a fire was on the second story for our students and one teacher who were wheelchair bound.  They identified one within a month of my writing it.

I can handle accidental yet rude curiosity, I can handle people throwing the word "retarded" around like it is some kind of funny insult, I can handle educating those that want to be educated.  But if you are an ignorant ass that is rude to my sister, god help you cuz no one else is gonna get in my way.


  1. I just stumbled on to your blog and can't wait to read more. You're an amazing sister and what you did is bad ass (:

  2. Thank you! My parents did an awesome job of allowing me to see my sister as a little sister (AKA a pain in my ass) but also raised me with a sense of being her protector. They never made that an obligation, just raised us as a team. She is a total butthead at times, but I love her fiercely and wish the world could see how awesome she is!

    I just followed your blog and twitter, so I will be checking ya out! ;)

  3. I can always forgive a child for starting. Most kids don't know better and I always blame the parents for not teaching them better but adults should know better. People are different for so many reasons and it really disgusts me when people act like they don't know better. Ignorance is such an ugly monster.