"Are You Okay?"

Strangely (or maybe not so strangely because it's so obvious..) I am usually asked that question when I am perfectly fine.

It's when I'm waiting for an elevator. When I'm just sitting in the patient waiting room (but really, is anyone actually "okay" in there?!) When I am scanning the sidewalk for a curb cut. As I am about to cross the street. Or if I am looking for something in a store. "Are you okay?" A head pokes out from around the corner, or someone backtracks in their steps to where I am. There is uncertainty in their voice. Uncertain as to whether or not I am okay, or maybe if they should even be asking? I'm not sure.

No one ever asks "are you okay?" When I am sweating bullets and gripping my arm or leg. No one ever asks if I am okay when I am stuck in an elevator. No one asks if I am okay while crammed into a packed subway car. No one asks if I am okay while standing on top of my wheelchair to reach the bank teller.

I totally get it that this is a question being asked by folks who are offering assistance. By no means would I ever complain about that, that would be shooting myself in the foot! But I would just like to point out quickly, and very briefly that this is typically, and a majority of the time it is asked when I am doing regular everyday things.

Let's get a little ridiculous, even a little snarky right now:

Should I not be okay? Is it not okay that I am waiting for the bus? Or that I am waiting for the elevator? Is it not okay that I can't find the curb cut on a poorly shoveled sidewalk? Is it not okay that I am just looking for something in a store or at the library? Should I respond: "Is it strange to you that I am going about my regular life?" "Are you okay with what I am doing right now?"

Maybe you get what I mean because you have been the recipient of such amusing situations. Maybe you get what I mean because you realize the difference I am pointing out. Whichever line you fall on (and maybe it's both), I'm glad that we connected on another of life's confuzzled moments.

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