Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pity About the Grapes

Have you ever seen skateboarders standing at the top of an impossibly sharp drop. They've got helmets, knee pads and balls the size of grapefruit. Well keep that picture in your mind for later on, oh, the picture about the sharp drop, not the grapefruit.

Joe and I are seasoned travellers and when we book a hotel we know all the questions to ask. Assessibility needs to be universal but it doesn't have a universal definition. So we ask about bars in bathrooms, wide doors, elevators (yes were were in a hotel where their accessible room was up a set of stairs). For the most part the people we speak to on the phone are very accomodating and quite truthful when they answer questions. So we are seldomly surprised.

Well, we were surprised yesterday. We arrived at our hotel in Quebec City to find that it's on a hill. The hill runs closer to 90 degrees than I thought legally possible. We parked beside the hotel and realized that they launch the space shuttle from a similar postion. Pedestrians were holding on to their hats and walk/running down the hill in order not to lose balance.

Joe got the wheelchair out first and then I struggled out. Given that I don't have much feeling in my feel my balance was now way way of and I had to hold on to the car in order to stay upright. Finally I was in my chair. I had my trusty gloves on. I am pretty good with hills and have strong hands so I can break the speed. Joe simply said, 'Whatever you do, don't let go.' We were off. I aimed for the door. We got in by the Grace of God, good aiming and grapefruit.

Getting out of the hotel was even more dificult because they park the car a block away, around a corner. This is Valet parking too. The Valet guy offered help but I think he was just wanting to see how this much human flesh could ride down that much slope. We said we'd be ok and we took of with a Vulture of Valets watching with morbid interest. We got to the turn on to the side street and I noticed that the sidewalk was ramped. As we were already pointing down, the ramp would put us at an even more dangerous angle.

We braked the chair. It wouldn't hold. We got my feet down and I stood up. Joe held on to my arm as we took a couple steps together onto the side road which was considerably flatter. Once in the car I wouldn't breathe normally again until somewhere around St. Louis de HA! HA! (Check it out, it really is a town and we really drove through it.)

Now we have a new question when booking a hotel. Do teenagers with Basketballs in their scrotum use the street in front of your hotel as a half pipe?

You may want to use it too.


CJ said...

Now, that is why I won't drive in San Francisco but it never occurred to me how it might affect a person in a wheelchair.

Both you and Joe are lucky you survived.

This hotel was more dangerous than the Bates Motel.

FridaWrites said...

Wheelchairs/scooters come with instructions not to take them on inclines exceeding a certain # of degrees--I don't know how to assess that quickly, but I did almost flip my scooter backward off a too-steep tram ramp. Be careful!

What's that long, curvy street in SF, CJ--Lombardy or something? I don't know that my scooter could do that, that the electromagnetic brakes on it would hold since it will slide back down even a moderate ramp if I stop.

Anonymous said...

i would have appreciated the point you were trying to make a lot more without the vulgarity. Isn't there enough of that in the media already, and could the point not have been made equally well in a less sexist way? Are females presumed to lack courage as well as a scotum?

CJ said...

Go away. You know who I mean.

If you do not like the words, don't read them.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hey, Anonymous, I find it kind of funny to be chided for how I write about 'courage' (although the post was more about lunacy than courage) by someone 'ahem' without the balls to post under their own name.

CJ said...

I suspect that Anonymous has a much bigger "grape to pick" with Dave than his choice of words in the post.

Much bigger.

liz said...

Well, we certainly know that you and Joe have some serious scrotal heft to have survived getting in and out of that hotel!!!

CJ said...

"scrotal heft."