Well, that was something else. Disability gives you such way cool experiences - if you choose to see it that way. We arrive at the airport in Dublin and wait until everyone else gets off. When I make my way to the front to see if my wheelchair was there, I found a small group of people gathered, waiting, looking concerned. As it turned out there were three wheelchair users and their friends and family. I asked what was up and found out that there was no jetway, all the other passengers had gone down an enormous set of stairs that had been pulled up to the plane. I was stunned, this was a big, big, plane holding hundreds and hundreds of people, the ground was more than a shout away.
I expressed my concerns and was told that they were going to take us down in a cherry picker. A cherry picker? I pictured one of the cherry pickers from my youth in the interior of British Columbia ... a scruffy faced, skinny, boy. I thought to myself, 'After throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me to the ground I willing to bet he never picks a fucking cherry again.' The two other wheelchair users were women, one with wild hair and a whiskey tenor voice, the other with perfect hair and Betty Boop lipstick. We were an odd grouping but we were all feeling tense.
I was the second off. As it turned out it wasn't a cherry picker. What it was was kind of strange. It was a room, complete with chairs and spaces for wheelchairs that was raised high in the sky. You accessed the room by walking across this ricketty looking metal walkway over to the room. Luckily I could walk over, one of the women had to be carried, I can imagine the fear there. It was a long drop. But as she was set in her chair she said, 'Nah, I wasn't scared, so what's the worst that could happen if he dropped me, I already can't walk.'
Then once we were all in, the room slowly decended. We were then driven over to the terminal. But to get out of our mobile room we had to wait for them to attach a porch to it. This porch was also on hydrolics and would lower us to the ground. Then two women, wearing vests with a variety of disability symbols on them, wheelchair guy, blind guy, guy with ear, kind of a hieroglyphics of crippledom, showed up. They assisted me right through to where we could get a rental car.
Overall I was impressed. Where there was inaccessibility built into the system, creativity created another way of doing things. I reminded myself that though my body may not be flexible, my mind and expectations must remain so ... perhaps a hidden benefit of life with a disability ... learning to adapt, adapt, adapt. And besides, who else gets to drive around the Dublin runways in a motorized room?