Part five in our non-weekly series.
Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks. You can't dance the Cha Cha Slide at weddings, people who are 5'2" make you feel short, and sagging your jeans doesn't have the same effect as it would if you were able-bodied.
But there are perks to using a wheelchair. One reason is that you are memorable. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Let's take a look at some pros and cons.
As wheelchair users, we stand out in a crowd (even though we can't stand). We're recognizable after fewer meetings or visits than the average Bartolo. First impressions are always important, and we make a pretty unique one.
The advantages to always being recognized is that you often get better service in a restaurant. They will know you as a frequent customer and make sure your rootbeer doesn't have ice and your salad doesn't have cheese. You may get a nicer table, and faster service. Being more recognizable also helps you keep acquaintances and contacts longer without having to do any work. This can lead to more connections, opportunities, job offers, and friendships than you may not have had otherwise. You also stand out to girls (or boys if that's your preference) and have an aura of mystery over other males (or females).
The disadvantages to being so memorable is that you are then expected to know who all of these people are. People honk at you as they drive past in their cars and make you feel like you're being stalked. Professors stop you on the sidewalk to chat and you don't remember them. This makes it difficult to introduce others, because you don't want to admit you don't remember them, and they just know you because you were the token wheelchair user in their classroom.
Our advice for this situation is to introduce your friends and ignore that the person you're talking to has a name. Try not to suddenly shout out their name once you remember them, as this will draw attention to the fact that you didn't recognize them in the first place. And always travel in pairs, so your partner in crime can introduce themselves and save a potentially sticky situation.
If these solutions don't work for you, the best way we can think of to be less memorable is take what you can't do, and just do it. Get up and walk.