It was weird. After the presentation here in Corning yesterday, I was tired. But I wanted to go out for a bit and get away from the hotel and the lecture hall. I love presenting in the same hotel as it makes the morning so easy. But by the end of the day, I feel institutionalized and like to get out into real air for a bit.
We drove through downtown Corning, its only a few blocks long but it's pretty. A couple of windows display incredibly glass work and even thought I'm a 'bull in a china shop' kind of guy, I can admire the beautiful fragility of the artwork. From there we went to the grocery store for a wheel around. I found this amazing keg of Root Beer complete with it's own tap - perfect present for the guy who has everything.
The store is well desgined in that it has two wheelchair lanes that are just a little wider and people like me can glide through with ease. We chatted with the nice young woman as we went through the till and suddenly we were back in the hotel. Joe had to go out and do laundry so I had an hour in the hotel on my own.
I couldn't concentrate on the television and didn't feel like surfing the web, so I thought. Something had bothered me about our outing. I hadn't been stared at - excessively anyways. No one said anything either nice or nasty. So it wasn't anything about being disabled in the world. Then it struck me.
I never saw a single guy with an intellectual disability, none with a physical diability.
None bagging groceries. None out with family shopping. None in the cafe attached to the store. None wandering downtown Corning.
Now I know this is pure chance. That I'd gone out during a small window of time where every single person with a disability was off doing something other than being in the world.
But the image of a space free of 'us', free of Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida and manual chairs and motorized chairs and walkers and canes - chilled me. For a second I saw the world that Hitler wanted, that the gene hunters think as utopia.
It's like a world painted with a pallette that's missing colours.
Who could want that?