Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another Trip From _____

Just a quick warning: In this blog I quote a couple people that sat by me on a plane. They were rude, crude, and offensive and I'm using one of their quotes in this blog. I don't feel this is what the vast majority of society feels, but I was so offended by hearing it that I had to write about it because, even though it's offensive, it's this type of mindset that we're up against.

It was two years ago I first blogged about a "Trip From _____" and that trip was when I was headed to Grand Junction for the SKUSA Summernats. Well, two years later the Summernats are once again in Grand Junction and once again I've had an awful travel experience.

First, I'm thankful there's been no 100 gate dash as there was two years ago. Also, nothing happened directly at myself as the story from two years ago. However, this has left me just as frustrated.

So this story begins on the ride from Saint Louis to Salt Lake (I've written so many blogs from this airport!) and the two people that came to my row. I was assigned the middle but they asked if I'd want to move to the aisle because they were, "going to talk a lot." I thought nothing of this and only wished they had asked if I wanted the window.

While we were in taxi mode on the runway the chatter began. At first it was about as irrelevant, well, irrelevant to me, as possible so I put in my headphones and started to listen to music. As we climbed so too do their volume. To put simply there was no tuning this duo out and what started out as mundane, idle chatter quickly became an offensive barrage to just about anything, everything, and anyone that could be offended.

I'm not going to list everything they poked fun of or complained about, but I do want to say it was amazing that, on many subjects, they would complain about both sides of a coin. The oddest thing, outside the main point of my story which I'm getting to, they complained about were, "people who donate money to children's hospitals." What? They talked as if people donating were the root of all the world's evil.

The conversation went even further downhill when they started talking about one of their daughter's classes and autism. Yes, no subject was safe from this venom-spewing duo but autism got in their crosshairs and some quotes were, "People who think autism rates are going up are just stupid because it doesn't even exist in the first place. Parents need to just look in the mirror to find the root of their problem. It's all just make believe" Offended? I know I was.

After hearing that line I muted my music and I froze. What do I do? My job title is autism ambassador and this, right then and there, is the epitome example of a time to spread awareness and understanding. Yet I felt minimized. The way these two talked I would have been simply steamrolled as closed mindedness doesn't even begin to describe them.

I thought about it for another minute and they continued bashing schools that give assistance to those on the autism spectrum and I just began to think, "how are there people like this?" and within that question I felt defeated. I realized there was nothing I could do to change their mind and if I tried it'd just become a confrontation and as angry as I was getting if I'd have said anything and they responded with something ignorant and they then got mad at my calling them out on the highest form of ignorance they were showing I'm sure the end result would have been something that would have ended up on the news for a plane being rerouted due to a verbal shouting match or something of the sort.

These two people were right around the age of 50 but I still don't understand how anyone could not only have those views but be willing to share them with an escalated voice. For a while I almost thought this was some hidden camera prank because I can't understand how anyone could be that rude." Sure, I have said things throughout my life that were the wrong thing at the wrong time, but if I ever disagree with a point I'm never going to outright yell to the world that something is, "childish" "idiotic" or, "make believe."

I don't think I was the only one to become frustrated with this two as the row in front of me kept glancing backwards at them in disgust. While this made me feel as if I weren't totally alone I still felt as if I should do something, anything, but what would be accomplished?

So here I sit now staring out at Utah and the mountains wondering about what it all meant and what I could have done differently and the thing is, I don't think I could have. As firm as they were it would have been like trying to convince a person that red is blue. And yet, I feel as if I failed even though I'm sure it was a battle that could not have been won.

1 comment:

  1. There's a huge difference between speaking at a seminar to people who want to listen to what you have to say and confronting people in public with a differing view from their own. Frankly, that can be downright dangerous. Given the situation I'm sure you might the right decision. Although you don't need my affirmation to know that. You were absolutely right in thinking it could have escalated into something dangerous.

    I have listened to others discuss Autism before and it's amazing and disheartening how many people think there's nothing wrong that a good spanking or other form or corporeal punishment couldn't take care of. After all, they got beat as a kid and look how well THEY turned out. They, of course, don't have a child or sibling on the spectrum and just don't have a clue what it's like to deal with the world through the prism of Autism.

    I wish I could tell you what to say to make people like that see your world for what it is. But, unfortunately, their minds are already made up and there's probably nothing you or I could ever say to change it. Life Skills says "Embrace change." I wish the rest of the world would do so as well.