Over A Bag Of Carrots

I would be hard pressed to argue the fact that people become, exponentially, more corrupt the older they grow. Not everyone is like that, I know, but most people do grow at least somewhat jaded as the years pass by. Not that I blame a person for it, so much, it’s next to impossible to avoid.

Like Smacks once told me, each day, he can see, in his sons eyes, the effect this world has on his innocence. That is so truly sad. But then something happens that rekindles your hope for humanity.

Yesterday I was out shopping for food at a local grocery store. I usually go with my attendant. And I use La La as a base of operations and a reference. She usually handles the list. While I scout stuff I can reach and handle.

Anyway I needed some carrots and bread. So off I went. First I came upon the carrots. For the sake of convenience, my convenience, I usually but pre-bagged carrots. That way I don’t have to be bothered to rip a plastic bag off the dispenser, fiddle with holding it, while bagging my own. And I recycle the bag anyway. Well I throw it in my “blue” box and someone collects it. It’s just easier that way…

And so I, awkwardly, placed the bag of carrots on my lap and went looking for bread. After settling on a loaf, while on my way back to the cart, I spotted “organic” bagged carrots and decided to get those instead. And out of respect for the person who works in the produce department of the store, I grabbed a bag of the “organic” variety, and chose to return the original carrots where I got them.

Now I’m not looking to mischaracterize what happened. But putting them back might have been slightly more testing than getting them. The section of the produce counter in which the carrots came from looks as though it was freshly stocked not an hour before I first arrived at the store. It was pretty full. So I was taking my time and being really careful about putting them back, so I didn’t drop the bag I had, or any others, on the floor.

Just when a kind woman with an infant, who couldn’t have been much past 3 years old, asked, while grabbing the bag of carrots I was putting back, if she could help me. I wasn’t left much choice than to utter my thanks. But technically, I didn’t require her help. I was more than halfway finished a task I normally do many times each and every day. For whatever reason she felt she needed to, so “enthusiastically,” help is not for me to speculate. And I don’t mean to pass on the impression her gesture was not appreciated. But it was unnecessary. I’d have been quite alright without it. 

Be that as it may, what happened next caught me a little off guard. After she placed the bag back on top of the pile, we exchanged pleasantries, and went our separate ways. When the child she was with pipes up, “Why’d you do that?” “He had it…”

Unfortunately that’s the extent of their conversation I happened to over hear. Frankly never have I been so moved by anything a child has said before. And it gives weight to a lot of what Marta Russell writes about in her book “Beyond Ramps: Disability At The End Of The Social Contract;

“In the humanist view, work [a.k.a. a persons ability] is not the defining quality of our worth. Employability and aptitude for earning money are not the measure of what it means to live, to be a part of the human race. The goal of social justice is to ensure the dignity of each and every person. To buy into the capitalist propaganda that work is god, that people are laborers first and human beings second, serves only to oppress us all…”

I’m not at all insinuating this is how she thinks of disability and was her particular mindset yesterday. It just made me think, what a strange place to find a child’s perspective on life. In a grocery store. Over a bag of carrots…