I don't normally post general life stuff on here, but today is an exception...
If any of you read the Mario Party 8 thread, you will gather that I have "issues" with the section of the general public who have their heads so far up their own rectums that they cannot see why certain things are deemed as "insensitive" or demeaning.
Anyway. I jacked my teaching job in at the end of the last term and have taken up my 5 year old post again, working as a Social Inclusion Group Leader for a well known mental health charity.
I took a group of 12 - 19 year olds out today for a boat trip on the Thames. The sun was out and the service users were all tucking into their lunches on the boat when out of the corner of my eye I see a woman and her younger son (and his girlfriend) making dodgy looks in my groups general direction. Normally I shrug it off, I mean virtually everyone in the queue was doing the same while we were waiting for the boat to moor at Greenwhich earlier in the day, but for some reason this woman seemed to grate me more than most. It didnt help the fact that she was moaning under her breath and the son was giving me daggers too.
Anyway, lunch was nearly done and one of the group, Katie, decided she would start singing. Not loudly I hasten to add, but not queitly either. Now Katie is highly autistic and has a very limited vocabulary. She hardly talks let alone sings and she is usually very depressed. So there was Katie, singing away to herself, and me sitting there delighted in the fact that she was actually expressing herself, when most of the time she is very subdued, with me having no intention of repressing her whatsoever (unless it really became unbearable!)
About 10 minutes of this singing went on and the woman gets up (I say gets up, she stumbled to her feet and staggered over to me - she and her entourage had been on the Magners for the hour we were on the boat). She says..
"I work with people like that all day and I find your inability to control her disgusting. I dont need this on holiday and you should not be allowed to look after these kids. If I was not getting off soon i would be reporting you to your manager."
(just to clarify why I think she was talking out of her @rse here... I have never in the 5 years of working in mental health heard anyone classify a person with a learning difficulty as "people like that", and if for some odd reason that she did actually work in mental health, she would have more understanding of the situation and the way people with impairments behave in social settings.)
So anyway, I said in my calmest voice...
"I'll get a pen and paper if you like and will give you my managers number".
She was not expecting that I dont think and staggered off the boat mumbling some rubbish under her breath, her son and his girlfriend following. The son was just at the door and he turned back, walked up to me and says "I'll have that number mate" (all smug and grinning like I was goning to get in trouble). So I gave him the number, gave him my name told him that anything he wanted to say could be said to my manager who would deal with it appropriately. He left the boat thinking he had one over me.
Before I had time to think, a guy came over from another table and said that what the woman was mumbling under her breath was outrageous, saying that she thought that "people like that should be in homes and should not be out mixing with normal people" etc etc, and that he had heard the conversation she and her son had had with me and thought that I had handled it as well as possible.
On the other hand, some 20 minutes later and on the top of the boat, an American lady came up to me and congratulated the group as a whole on their behaviour and what a pleasure it was to see those with difficulties mixing with the rest of society. She went on to praise one of the other members of staff on his ability in his job and hoped that there were more groups around for those who are disadvantaged in some way or another.
Oh and for the record, my manager told me that I should have told the guy and his mum to f**k off. Yeah, would have gone down well I think. No.
Off to the London Eye tomorrow, I'm sure to bump into another ignorant **** or two. Great!