10. Sep, 2018



Exiting a hotel lift with our medium-sized suitcase, a 40 year old so TOLD me of his intention.  To my surprise I felt a sudden surge of anger.  I told him in no uncertain terms that "I could manage very well on my own,  thank you,"   it taking real self control not to add "you patronising git."

It was not until later that the reason for my anger dawned on me.  I had been OUTED  as being old  and so been introduced to my first whiff of Ageism..

Not so long ago I read of a Polish migrant having been beaten up by a bunch of drunken English patriots. Later in court he swore he had not known them while his assailants admitted they had not known him.  From the witness box the Polish gentleman perceptively  said that it was "if he, as an individual had become a nation!"  i.e. had been seen as the sole target for all the real or imagined prejudices against the entire Polish nation.  He had been seen as a stereotype.

Now substitute for "Pole"... "Woman", "Black", Jew, "Muslim", "LGBT". "76 year old pensioner." Apart from having been TOLD what I would do, I had been clocked as old and this had brought a series of knee-jerk assumptions   concerning physical and mental deficiency.

Ironically,  my would-be saviour was sweating profusely having waddled all of ten metres to the lift from the bar while the object of his pity had only six days before, rowed a half marathon in under one hour fifty minutes. 
Doubtless he meant well and yes, I should have been more charitable but if you do feel  the need to offer such  help, please don't make assumptions,  always ASK and never tell. We do have our pride, you know and as Seneca sugggested, "Before you judge, investigate!"