Today is our 38th anniversary. Not bad, huh, that in a world where couples divorce because of a disagreement over which brand of peanut butter to buy, we've made it another year. We've got the day planned. It's a 'guy' anniversary for all the obvious reasons. We're going to one of our favourite restaurants for lunch, we've been going there for years. They know us and greet us as a couple. Then we're going to see "Live Free or Die Hard" at the theatre up here we go so often that they know us as 'those two guys'. From there we're going to pick up fresh veggies at a market we love. Then a quick stop at a beer store to get, um, beer.
Then it's home to make potato salad and grill veggie hotdogs on the grill - which we'll have smothered in grilled onions and peppers. We'll eat on the deck, drink a couple of pints and talk about "Die Hard" like it was serious Russian Literature. That's it. That's the day. The perfect guy anniversary.
We've been chatting about what we were going to do to celebrate over the last few days. And as we talked we've slowly worked out this plan. Now, most of the women I know that I've told about this don't see the 'plan' in it - nor do they see the 'anniversary' in it. But we've never lived our lives seeking approval from others.
What was cool about the day, is that we planned it all. Every bit of it. Without ever once thinking about accessibility and the wheelchair. It just never came up as we talked. It was weird, for a year and a half, every time we wanted to go somewhere we had to check that I could get into the place. Like yesterday, I was a contestant on our radio stations quiz show (out on the first question- Alice Cooper is the answer to all sorts of questions that I wouldn't get) and I get a fairly cool prize, just for participating. Had to check if I could get into the station. Apparently I can.
But we planned the day we wanted. Never thought about the chair until only about a half hour ago. Every single place we plan on going is accessible. Several of the places we're going we've been going to for years. It's cool.
Thirty eight years ago we thought about accessibility, but in a different way. How many places were there that were accessible to us together? How many places turned us down when we tried to rent an apartment together? How many banks refused to give us a joint bank account? How many jobs demanded that we pretend our way through the day? How many family members turned their back on us - never to really look at us again?
We knew what it was like in a world of hatred, violence and murder; in a world of deceit, deception and mistrust; in a world of hypocracy, conspiracy and war to be told that loving is the deepest sin.
They say that coming out to oneself - as gay -as disabled - as different is the most difficult process. This is untrue. Coming out to the world as different and as human - standing face to face with bigotry, toe to toe with oppression while standing shoulder to shoulder with each other, that's a more difficult route. The road that must be travelled.
Today we just want to be an old couple going out for lunch and a movie before going home for beer and bbq on the deck.
Today we acknowledge that some prejudices have been ramped. Some places made accessible. For all of me, for both of us - and for my chair.
Today is our anniversary.