Little Miss Turtle | I only want to buy a toothbrush

I only want to buy a toothbrush

Strange encounters


When you are in a wheelchair, people tend to tell you their whole life including all their diseases and worries. I mean situations like this one: About a year I ago my brother and I were strolling through Hamburg when suddenly a strange woman came towards us out of nowhere. She stopped next to me asking loudly why I was sitting in a wheelchair. She didn’t give me a chance to answer her question as she continued holding a monologue about her friend suffering from multiple sclerosis and about all her own health issues. Just like that – out of nowhere. Kind of strange, isn’t it!? The idea of asking a stranger anything about her or his health would never even cross my mind.


Up to now I’ve never found an explanation for the WHY? Is it my wheelchair that invites people to explain their “suffering” or their troubles in life? Or is it my friendly smile? Is it to make me feel better? Or to make them feel better? Is it to show, that valid-looking people also have problems with health, relationships or what ever? Is it because people expect me to understand? Or simply because they need to pour their hearts out? Please let me know if you have any ideas! Most of the time I listen patiently to people’s stories but sometimes I simply don’t want to hear their private stuff. I’m not yet a therapist – I’m only a young woman sitting in a wheelchair.


The other day I was in a big drug store with the intention to buy an electric toothbrush. A simple plan. While I was standing in front of the shelf, studying the different models, a pleasant salesman joined me. I briefly told him what I was looking for and asked for his advice. He told me that he would buy model XY and started to ask about my disability right away. He was kind of a funny, nerdy guy and within 5 minutes I knew about his relationship, his divorce, his taste of women (luckily I didn’t fit) and – of course – about all his health issues. I nodded and nodded and after 20 minutes I finally managed to escape with no toothbrush. I’ll get in on Amazon!


What kind of weird experiences with strangers did you have? Let me know by contacting me or by leaving a comment below.



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One comment

  • Lenoir Françoise 21/02/2016   Reply →

    Coucou Mélie,
    Tu es avenante et de plus en fauteuil roulant. Mon hypothèse est à prendre sur la pointe des pieds: Avenante, en fauteuil donc inoffensive. Ils sentent bien que tu ne vas pas être agressive ou leur foutre ton poing sur la gueule et puis bien assise, position cool: tu as tout ton temps. Tous les bipèdes sont pressés, courses, R.V., boulot, épicerie, faire à manger… Donc inaccessibles pour être à l’écoute des autres et pourtant, il y en a un paquet qui ont besoin de parler de leur propres soucis, de leurs misères et pensent que, vu ta condition, tu es à même de les comprendre et les écouter. C’est intéressant car avec ta jugeote , tu vas vite cerner l’âme humaine et la solitude dans laquelle les gens sont, sans pouvoir se confier…Bientôt tu pourras ouvrir un cabinet, être thérapeute: une nouvelle fenêtre s’ouvre pour cumuler ce métier avec tes autres centres d’intérêt, bien sûr si tu te sens une Mère Térésa non bénévole car aider le no man’s land de notre société a un côté passionnant.

    Gros bisous , Mélie,

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