I thought about it before I even got out of bed. After all I did train to be a behaviour therapist and we all know that behaviourists like to take data. Laying there I tried to guess the exact final figure. My mind jumped all over the place so I settled on a number somewhere between 50 and 60 for the day. I began counting almost immediately and knew within half an hour that I'd guessed low.
The final total you ask?
Two Hundred and Forty Seven
That's a lot. But I included everything. Bathroom stuff, front room stuff, out of doors stuff, in other doors stuff. Everything. And it I used it twice, I counted it twice. If I used another somewhere else and was now using it again, I counted each time. It wouldn't be fair otherwise.
I'd crossed a hundred before noon struck. A hundred. A couple of times I almost lost count but I'd stop, think, recalculate and go on. So I might be off by one or two, at the most three. But I kept pretty rigourous data. Things there, things not there, space created, space made, each one was diligently added to the total.
Some of you have probably guessed what I was counting.
Yep, I was counting each and every adaption that I used as a disabled person that made me more able and more mobile. I counted the bar grips in bathrooms, the couch lifts, the manual chair, the power chair, cut curbs, the wheelchair space in the movie theatre, the accessible bathroom in the mall, the table with the cutaway chair, the automatic door openers - well you get the idea.
In the end I used 247 adaptions.
I was grateful 247 times.
I am astonished at how the world has been modified for me. Don't bombard me with complaints about how far we have left to go - I already know that. What I didn't know was statistically, how far we'd come. So, I felt, as I said, grateful. Not grateful that those adaptions and modifications were there. No, I felt grateful for the thousands of hours of protests, of struggle, of perserverence that those who came before put in. Those nameless, faceless, disabled people who fought for laws and for changes. Who fought for cut curbs and lowered counters. Who understood access as a justice issue, accessiblity as a civil liberties issue, adaption as a measurement of welcome.
Here here to those who made it possible for me to go there there.
247 opportunities to be free.
247 choices that were possible to make.
247 rights that could be exercised.
Count your blessings; name them one by one
A childhood challenge.
I took it.