"I'm not going to do it," my voice was resolute. "No way, not this trip!" Joe and I were pulling into Vancouver having driven down the sunshine coast in pouring rain (hmmmmm) and alighted from the ferry. We were talking about the day we were going to spend in the city as our flight home takes off Saturday morning. There is a store I particularly like on Robson Street and Joe wondered aloud if we would go there like we usually do.
My reaction was swift. "Not on your life."
It takes courage for a fat guy to walk on Robson Street. Vancouver, in my experience, is the most fat phobic city on the continent. Every time, that's every time, I walk on Robson someone in a car hollers out, "Lardass, Fatso, Piggypiggypiggy." And I don't feel up to making the walk. Some other fat person can take on the responsibility for integrating Robson. Me, I'll stick to Davies - they are nicer over there.
Then I remembered listening to the self advocates the other day talking about teasing and bullying and life in the mainstream. They hated it but they understood that for them the cost of community was higher than it was for everyone else. I, of course, encouraged them. Let them know what they were doing - that they were making it easier for every person with a disability that followed them, that they were standing up to bigots, that they had a rightful place in the community and that they shouldn't give it up to anyone for anything.
I meant those words.
But I really don't feel like walking Robson. I don't want to feel the tension of waiting for it to happen, expecting it to happen, fearing it happening. I don't want to deal with that - today. Shouldn't everyone have a day off from difference? From having to walk Robson?
But I believe that anyone should be allowed to go anywhere. I don't understand "white only" signs. I admire those that stand up for their rights - or sit down at their rightful place at the table. Really, I do. Seriously, I get it.
It's just before seven in the morning here. At 11 o'clock today, I'm hitting Robson. Writing about this has been good for me. It helped me find my backbone again.
Hey, not only am I going to walk on Robson. I'm going to sit on a bench and eat Cheezies.
Take that Vancouver.