Why am I a “Young Man” ? I’m very old, at 61 I feel it a bit now, well a lot when the dodgy hip kicks off and the aching shoulder is added to man flu of the Aussie Flu strain. But somehow I recently managed to shake myself up enough to make a trip to York for an all day meeting in what is often described as an glorious historic city. Me? I think it’s ok but historic or not those bloody cracked pavements are a powerchair nightmare.
Anyway there I was on the train being very well looked after by a very warm and friendly ‘trolley host’ who throughout the journey insisted on calling me “young man”.
This has happened to me a lot since I became a full time wheelchair user seven years ago. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a gentle or not so gentle pat on my Everton FC baseball cap and even my shoulder. I’m very un-PC and rarely get upset by the Young Man thing. In fact it’s quite a boost as clearly my grey hair isn’t as prominent as I thought it was! I’m a bit less keen on the head patting and shoulder taps but still in my experience there is no harm meant tho, I am respectfully aware that for a variety of reasons some disabled people find the shoulder and head tapping thing very unacceptable.
But the Young Man thing is a real mystery to me ? What is it about the wheelchair that makes me appear young ? What’s the background ? I must re read ‘why are you pretending to be normal’ the brilliant book on managing your disability positively, by the equally brilliant Phil Friend OBE and Dave Rees and see if it was covered there. But it really is a strange one.
If you can add any light to the shade here please do ! Maybe it goes back to some dark Anglo Saxon rights of passage or slightly more like likely I guess relates to some deep rooted psychology that suggests if your in a wheelchair you are vulnerable therefore young ?