A friend of mine linked to a Facebook page called “Fake Outrage,” and an entry where they showed a “self-stirring cup.” She found it funny. I do, as well.
The tag line for the short clip was “We all have one friend that is that lazy…” I find this considerably less funny.
I could really use this cup. There are days when I have to use two hands to hold my mug, and I spill my coffee when I stir it, unless I have put whipped cream on top. I use whipped cream not (or at least not simply) because it tastes good (as one person at my workplace put it, “who doesn’t need whipped cream in their coffee?”) but because it damps out sloshing, making it possible to carry my coffee to the table from the counter without leaving a trail of brown puddles behind me. (Jameson’s helps too, but is not alway practical.)
There are many people with worse disabilities affecting their motor skills than I have, for whom having a cup like this might mean the difference between having coffee or not, or at least not independently. Before I discovered the whipped cream trick, I was having to ask people to take my coffee to the table for me, which depends upon having other people available, and is frankly frustrating and embarassing.
I suspect that many of the people who view this clip laugh at the poor slobs who can’t even be bothered to stir their coffee. All the people in the clip are able-bodied (and young, but that’s a different issue). It doesn’t show anyone with tremors, or Parkinson’s, or any other disability that makes it difficult to control the movements of your hands.
A few years ago, before my tremors got so bad, I too would have laughed at people using a self-stirring cup. It isn’t that I lack empathy, but I lacked understanding. (My friend, who is a thoughtful and caring person, understood when I explained why this cup might be a good idea, and thanked me for enlightening her.)
This ties in with the current straw bans going in place like Seattle and San Francisco. (The worst that I can see is Santa Barbara: it provides for JAIL TIME for repeat offenders, and individuals who need straws have to apply for a permit from the city to get a straw for “medical necessity.” Although they have postponed implementation of the straw ban, rest assured I will be giving Santa Barbara a wide berth when I drive to Southern California in a few weeks.)
According to Julie Andersen of the Plastic Oceans Foundation, “the straw, it’s a small change in our habit. To force a behavioral change to where it actually impacts what you want is going to be harder to adopt.” In other words, forcing everyone — including the able-bodied — to change is too difficult, so lets go for something that is a simple convenience for most but a necessity for some.
Go to hell, lady.
It’s not just the bans themselves, as bad as they are. It is the support they give to a certain brand of self-righteous ideology that ignores the needs of real humans. It’s just a matter of time before servers refuse to wait on people who need straws.
I know, because it nearly happened to me.
My husband were at a restaurant that we USED to go to occasionally. We had gone for their tremendous biscuits and bacon onion jam. We were brought our drinks with no straws. When I asked for a straw, the waitress told me that they didn’t carry straws. When I insisted, she went to talk to the manager, who told her it was because of the sea turtles. (He didn’t come to talk to ME about it.)
At this point I was feeling completely humiliated. I explained that I would not be able to drink my ginger beer unless I had a straw, or else I would spill it all over myself. After some hemming and hawing, she went to the bar, where the bartender had straws. I was nearly in tears. We finished our dinner and got out as fast as we could. Guess where we’re never eating again?
Note: This was in a city that did NOT have a plastic straw ban. How it would have been in San Francisco or Seattle I can only imagine.
It is hard for me not to hate people over this issue. It is hard for me to say, “they’re not bad people, they’re just ignorant. They just don’t understand why this matters.”
Except I know a lot of them wouldn’t care.