I'm used to a fair bit of ignorance. Although awareness of M.E. is now increasingly wide-spread I've no doubt that I'll still spend a great deal of my life readying to answer the "Isn't M.E. just about being tired?" question. I can deal with a bit of ignorance. More frustrating is ignorance combined with an inability to listen to a simple reply and take on board the information. But that's a topic for another day. Ignorance is acceptable up to a point. Today however I encountered a human being of such ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and thoughtlessness that I was rendered mute.
On leaving our holiday cottage today and giving our thanks to the owner, my parents and I had the misfortune to meet a photographer, at the cottages to take some professional photographs for advertising etc. My mum had been chatting quite happily to both the owner and picture-snapper and we were about to get in the car and on our merry way. It happened to be mentioned in passing that it was likely I would be accompanying my parents on holidays for a good few years to come. The man in question burbled something about getting rid of his kids as soon as possible etc. Fair enough. He doesn't know the circumstances. My mum chips in to explain that things are a bit different for us due to my illness. The moronic photographer responds with, "Oh, they all have illnesses these days!". Mum clarifies that I've had this illness for over 10 years. She may as well have not spoken for all the notice he took. "Independence is the best thing for them. Get them living out on their own." Good grief man. For a start, before mum had explained the 10 years part it was most unclear what sort of illness I had. For all he knew I could have had cancer or some sort of degenerative M.S. like disease. How awful, if that had been the case, would it have been to hear someone say "Oh, they all have illnesses..." With regard to his opinions on independence, did he think that I would be on holiday with my parents at the age of 23 out of choice? If so he must be living in some sort of skewed reality. I would like nothing better than to have my independence. My enforced reliance on others is one of the most upsetting aspects of this illness.
Sorry to say that at the time, none of these thoughts were verbally expressed. I was simply shocked into silence at the absurdity of what he said! When I did get to thinking about it I was more incredulous than angry. I cannot believe that there are such people around these days. I am convinced that no matter what I had said to him in reply he wouldn't have taken in a jot of it. He blatantly had his opinion and would hear nothing of anyone else's. What a complete muppet. Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is quite another.