We almost didn't go. Both of us were tired from the lectures and the travel and we have, in recent years, developed the courage to be in a city without the need to be a tourist. We have even, for example, layed in a hotel room in New York and read newspapers and books. But we both felt like doing something and we'd been to the aquarium a few years ago and enjoyed it. It seemed relatively low impact so we checked the website to see if it was accessible and finding that it was, we went. Don't let anyone ever kid you about the fact that disabled parking is the best thing about having a disability. It absolutely is. We arrived a bit later in the day and there were cars everywhere. But a beautiful parking space awaited us. We pulled in to the glares of others ... until they saw the wheelchair ... it seems everyone mistrusts blue badge holders. On arrival, we were told that we could get a disability discount if I had something that proved I was disabled. I looked at the guy and asked, 'The wheelchair doesn't do it?' Apparently not. I pulled out my WheelTrans card and WHAMO suddenly the chair mattered and we were in with the discount.
The building is fairly accessible but there are spaces where it's difficult to get close to an exhibit because of how it was displayed. Both of us enjoyed both the beauty of what we were seeing and the sense of experiencing it with so many others. Because the floor was wheelchair friendly, I could wheel myself from tank to tank and Joe could wander off and check things out himself. We've always been like this at exhibits, come together, part, come together. I rounded the corner and saw the tanks full of jellyfish. I have always found them stunning and mesmerizing to watch. I pulled up and parked just off to the side of the tank. I didn't want to block the view of others. After several minutes of watching these creatures, who seem to exist and not exist at the same time. I felt that creepy feeling you get when you think you are being watched. I glanced around and saw a young couple staring, not at the fish but me. OK, that happens, but shit, it's my day off. I went back to watching the tank.
Then I heard one of them say to the other, "It's wonderful that he can take pleasure in such simple things." Suddenly, anger flared up in me and a nasty comeback began to form in my mind. Then, I realized, that it was true. I do take pleasure in simple things. I'm a lonely-hearts ad waiting to be written "takes joy in the simple pleasures of living". I just didn't like it being related to my having a disability, to my being child like or childish. But my attention was drawn back by a quick movement in the tank. They disappeared from my notice - because simple things are beautiful. Including patience and tolerance.