Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aw Shit

Some times it takes a mammoth act of will to keep one's spirit from becoming bitter or endlessly outraged. I know people, many people, who because of one circumstance or another have ended up having their soul's overtaken by anger - terrifying people who live at the edge of their temper, looking for reason to fly into tantrum. I do not, WILL not become one of their number. I WILL to hopefulness and optimism.

There is a fellow disability blogger who feels and has stated that my approach to life and to activism is endlessly naive, that the world has gone to hell in a handcart and that there needs to be more 'rage' and less 'inspiration' in what I write. To that I said, 'I asked for advice?' Of course I have the capacity for rage and I tilt against injustice, but I choose these as moments not as a lifestyle.

But as I say, sometimes it takes a mammoth act of will.

Joe and I were on our way down to a store a few blocks south of us to pick up a wool duvet (there is another story there but you'll only hear it if I can get Joe to write it, he tells the story so much better than I) and we noticed a Mexican restaurant that was accessible. I gingerly suggested that we stop there on the way back, it was after dark, we are seldom out after dark, Joe had been planning on ordering pizza. I could see that his whole body was repelled by the idea of stopping at a restaurant for dinner but he said 'Yes.' I think because Christmas is coming and I am the primary source for his loot.

So we headed up towards the restaurant. We got there and Joe went to open the door that would allow me flat and straight access. It was locked. He undid the top lock but it still would not open. He couldn't find the bottom lock. The waitress came and tried to find it, she could not. The entrance had two outer double doors which led a few feet later to two inner double doors. It was set up so that the right of the outer door opened and then the left inner door opened. This meant that I'd have to go in make a sharp turn followed immediately by another sharp turn, my chair was just too long to do it.

I then suggested they open the other inner door. They'd just have to move a few chairs for me to get in. The waitress was willing but the door was not, it was nailed shut. We could not get in. The waitress was really apologetic and said she'd speak to the owner and get it fixed such that people with disabilities like mine could get in. She was very nice about a situation that she did not control.

We left on our way home to pizza. We, neither of us, spoke for awhile. I wanted to get really upset and rage against the fact that ONCE I want to go out for dinner and the frigging restaurant is set up to frustrate that desire. I wanted the entire evening to fall into disrepair and for my mood to dominate the next several hours. I stopped my chair, took a breath, told myself to let it go. It was hard, but I did.

I refuse, refuse, to be 'that guy' ... 'that guy you don't want to be around because he's just so damned depressing'. Yet, I also refuse to the that 'other guy' ... 'that other guy who just let's things roll off his back, the guy with a smiley face for a heart'. I'm going to follow up with that restaurant and I assure you it will be accessible before the New Year. Anger is OK if it turns to action, it's not OK if it turns to a way of living.

At least in my view.


Rebecca A said...

Could not agree more, thanks Dave. I found myself moaning yesterday (about a number of recent problems), but then I realised (again) it's a waste of time and energy, and it only makes everything worse. Stay positive, but don't let them get away with it!


BenefitScroungingScum said...

You're absolutely right about this one Dave, not becoming bitter is a choice, one that can be initially difficult to make, but one that will bring boundless rewards if it's stuck to.
Best wishes to you and Joe,

Kristin said...

Anger is OK if it turns to action, it's not OK if it turns to a way of living.

I really, really like that sentiment. As for you being naive, I never got that sense from your posts. I always got the sense that you were someone who chose to make the most of life and that was why you had such a positive outlook.

liz said...


Anonymous said...

I think it's easier to be outraged, angry and strident. Takes a lot more energy to make the best of things and carry on. Anger doesn't go anywhere, doesn't fix anything.

Monica said...

YOu are so right... If we scream about being wronged because of our disabilities we will never be heard. We have our disability to make a difference in the way the world sees us and reacts to us. With being able to bring awareness we might keep a child in our possition from feeling down and that life just totally sux. We are alive and are alive for a reason.

Cindi said...

Oh Dave I had a good chuckle at this one. If my memory doesn't fail me (as it often times does) recently you stated that someone had written that you did to much attacking of people and things that were not accessible. (Sorry I remember the event not the words.) So, I guess the adage is true you can't please everyone all of the time and there are those that you can never please. The people that "Get It" do and the rest, well we will just keep praying and hoping they will see the light. Never-the-less, I continue on my quest. For me life and support of people with disabilities is about balance and making errors to both sides, doing too much, doing to little. And, yes people will complain, but as long as we feel we have done our best that we can do—to hell with them.

Anonymous said...

Dave I absolutely agree with your way of handling the situation. One of my favorite ways to deal with the issue is to quietly and respectfully ask..Hmmm, what can we do about this? Tantruming has never been as successful as the asking. Instead of wanting to change something because it's the right thing to do; it goes to F*** her, I don't want her business anyway.
And, Hey It's YOUR blog. WTF?

Bibliotekaren said...

"...I choose these as moments not as a lifestyle."

Well said - thanks.

Shan said...

Now that is an interesting post.

And comfort yourself - with new-to-you Mexican restaurants you never know about the food...and had you eaten there, your post title might have been entirely too apt.

Reaching? maybe.

theknapper said...

YOU NAIVE???!!!!

Tessa said...

Dave, I think you coined a phrase! I love it.

Anger is OK if it turns to action, it's not OK if it turns to a way of living.

I want that on a bumper sticker.

People sometimes tell me I am too unaware to realize life is miserable. Dang, I am sooo ready to respond now!

Thanks Dave!

Amanda said...

People have responded to my recommendation of your writing before with "THIS guy is supposed to be so great when it comes to disability? But he..." and then go on to say that you haven't displayed one or another of The Proper Ideas that are generally memorized in cookie-cutter fashion by many disability rights activists.

But I always tell them the whole point of your ideas is that you come up with most of them yourself. You don't just memorize the exact same thing everyone else is saying and apply it to various situations. I think people who expect all those memorized ideas (I call those ideas mental widgets) don't know how to handle it when they see someone who makes ideas.

CJ said...


We should be moved to action without it controlling our souls.