Tuesday, July 2, 2013

So Your Legs Do Work


Given the time of year we find ourselves currently in and the patriotic feeling that permeates the country at this time I thought it was about time to record my thoughts on something that happened earlier this year. However, before proceeding I would like to warn you that this blog post contains both bitterness and hostility (but only implied foul language). Reader discretion is advised.

Back in mid May my wife and I attending the graduate graduation ceremony at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. We were happy to see the culmination of our friend’s hard work as she received her doctorate and I'm glad we made the exception to travel into New Jersey for the occasion. The event was similar to any graduation commencement with squirming kids, friends and family jockeying for pole picture positions, and speakers that made you develop OCD by checking your watch every five minutes.

Everything followed the normal routine except there was one occurrence that pissed me off at the time and has bothered me ever since. In fact, it bothers me every time I encounter one of these individuals. I guess you can just add another group of people to my list of those who raise my blood pressure.

Sitting in the row in front of us was what seemed to be a very nice family. My wife and I had gotten to our seats early so we saw them walk down the aisle (unassisted), move the chairs around, take their seats, and occasionally stand up to wave at one of the graduates. The ceremony began and the first speaker asked the audience to please rise for the National Anthem. So what happened? Everyone in my view stood up except for the woman sitting in front of me.

Keep in mind that the audience was a mix of all races, religions, nationalities, ages, and physical abilities. All of which stood up, including the ones with walkers and canes, except this one person. WTF?

Now there are many things in this country as well as certain politicians and parties that piss me off to no end but there is no reason to disrespect the National Anthem and this country. I can understand people forgetting to take their hats off and I know that some people simply can’t stand but I saw this woman walk in without assistance, without a limp, without a grimace. She had no excuse or reason to be sitting.

At the time I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there was some physical limitation that suddenly flared up (rare but it happens). So I sat there for the rest of the ceremony and focused my attention on the people who made the day truly important. However, my understanding was misplaced when as hats were being tossed this woman began climbing the chairs, walking across the aisle, and contorting her body in order to get a better angle for a picture.

As any respect I had for this woman evaporated I was left shaking my head and asking the question “WTF, lady? WTF?”