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A couple of days ago, I was on the bus going home. I was feeling somewhat rushed and tired, so I was in a generally foul mood. On one of the more crowded stops, a man in a power wheelchair and his nurse came on board with some other people. I was sitting close to them and was just kind of staring off into space in between doing my Japanese kanji drills.

Then I heard someone, an old woman who had been sitting next to me, start cooing and going, “Well, isn’t he handsome?” in the direction of the man in the wheelchair. I scowled, because I hate it when people try to talk to me on the bus, and secondly, I hate babytalk. I hate it when it’s used towards babies, and I especially hate it when it’s targeted at adults. When it’s targeted at disabled adults, I feel like smashing something. I hid my nose in my work and tried to ignore it, which proved impossible.

The goo-goo baby talk continued for quite a while, and the man, who was nonverbal, and his nurse, appeared to be paying it no mind, but I was growing more and more angry and this woman. Who the hell talks to a stranger like that? It’s so condescending and disgusting. Disabled people often have to deal with being treated like children, and as we all are probably aware, children aren’t afforded the same privilege of being respected and given personal space as adults are, so this type of behaviour is frequently unchallenged when it happens.

My stop came up, and I decided I was going to give this rude woman a piece of my mind, so I got up and faced her, and then noticed… She was actually addressing a baby in a stroller which was right next to the man’s wheelchair, but out of my line of sight when I had been sitting down. I’m glad I noticed that before I started giving her a talking-to about being a disrespectful douche. I don’t like baby talk when it happens to children either, even babies, especially when they’re not even your children, but I was laughing too much on the inside from my mistake to still be angry.

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