My girlfriend passed me the salt at dinner last night and I quickly slapped her in the face. "Stop patronizing me, I'm perfectly capable of reaching the salt despite these T-Rex arms!!!"
My training schedule was in sync with a wheelchair athlete a few summers back, and I would often pass him going up Thompson on my bike. There's no way on earth I could ever get up there by armpower, and I had a ton of admiration for the guy...but because I was biking, I was moving a fair amount faster. Is there a way to compliment him that's not condescending? I could never figure out what that might be, so passed him every time in silence. He probably thought I was an unfriendly asshole.
It sounds frustrating. That sucks. Look, you don't want my help, that's fine. I'm happy to ignore you and your troubles just like I fully ignore most of the people I encounter out in the world. But remember, I don't know you (you're "anonymous" here). So, what you're asking is for me to treat everyone like you want me to treat you, just in case. So, when an old lady gets on the bus, I'll have to make her ask me for the seat if she wants it, instead of assuming (apparently insultingly) that it is easier for me to stand there than it is for her. When the downs kid I see around the neighborhood drops a quarter, apparently I shouldn't assume that it means more to him than to me, so I shouldn't say anything. Maybe he'll figure it out later, maybe not, but it would be insulting to assume that he has less capacity for retracing steps to find lost objects than I do. And when I see someone in a wheelchair reaching for trail mix at the grocery store, rather than give him space and let him finish, I should just maneuver around him and get what I'm there for, the way I would any other shopper. Apparently it would be insulting to assume that might not be able to slide sideways as easily as other shoppers, so I'll leave it up to him to solve that problem.

The thing is, if I behaved that way, I would be an asshole. So, instead, I'm going to go on trying to be aware of other people's needs, and tailoring my interactions accordingly. If you would rather that I ignore you, as I do most able-bodied people, just put that on your t-shirt. I will happily comply. You see, I don't actually care about whether or not you are able to do anything at all, and I get no personal joy from helping you. It consumes my time and distracts me from whatever it is that I'm thinking about at the time, which is always going to be more interesting to me than whatever you're doing. But I offer help because we live in a society, and helping each other is what makes it work. I like the benefits that society offers (like clean water, television, and burritos), and I believe that helping others is just as much a cost of those things as the dollars that I exchange at the point of sale. But if you want to waive that cost as it applies to you, then I eagerly accept your offer.
^ good morning probably would have been sufficient.
Agreed. You don't use someone else's disadvantage to make sure you're perceived as a "good person" because now you just sound like a self-serving asshole.
Cool, this is just the post I needed to put aside my guilt and return to acting as if handicapped people don't exist.
Welcome back, Torgo! Thanks for saying what I was going to keep to myself for once.
radical, body positive, but privileged rant
@FWTBT, Thanks! Glad to see you're still kicking around here. I really needed that break. This site can get pretty depressing if you check it every day. I don't know why I was doing that. Maybe I should write an IA about it....
Well, look at you go! Keep it up big guy!