Some things just plain impress me. Some people just plain surprise me. These two often go together. My last couple of days were down in Simcoe for Norfolk Association for Community Living and I presented this year like I did last year in the Strand movie theatre. It's a great venue and if they will forgive me for being 'big city' ... it's as cute as a button. It's a multiplex, if multi means 2, that plays first run movies right in the heart of the town.
Last year when I presented there I loved the atmosphere of the room. And given that I was, then as now, teaching a lot of teenagers, the theatre is a perfect space. They come in associating the theatre with fun and anticipate enjoyment - it's a great place to start. I think the same phenomenon happens for staff and care providers as well.
My only complaint was that the floor sloped all the way down to the front. This meant that I sat in my wheelchair lecturing and teaching on a slant. By the end of the day I felt odd in my body and uncomfortable in my joints. I found breath control a little more difficult and often felt that I was in danger of rolling backwards. I explained this to the NACL folks last year but told them that when I came back, I'd still vote for the same location. The plus column was longer than the minus column.
So imagine my surprise when I went into the theatre and found that the management of the theatre, upon hearing my feedback. built a small wooden structure that I could simply roll back on and be perfectly level. They had made it such that the lip that I had to roll over to get on it was level with the floor and there was no extra work in getting up and on to it. It was incredibly comfortable.
After I was on it for about 15 minutes the guy who made it popped in to see how it worked. He and I spoke for a couple of seconds and I tried to convey to him how much I appreciated what he did. He smiled and acted like he hadn't done anything particularly clever.
This is the kind of attitude that I wish we could clone. He just seemed to think it was a responsibility of the theatre to make me, a disabled guy, comfortable. He just seemed to think that access was a right, comfort was to be expected and inclusion was an obvious goal.
I know, I know, this isn't the most exciting post in the world and in the words of an email I got today "some times your posts are boring" ... but I don't live on the constant edge of adventure and excitement. And I'm sorry if I think a contraption that was made, without expectation, and designed, without complaint, to make access possible is cool. Maybe not sexy. Maybe not funny. But cool. And to me, even in winter, I'll take a little more cool.