Well, we are ready to roll.
Next stop New York City. I'll be presenting at a conference there and meeting up with friends for 'food and fellowship'. I'm looking forward to it a lot. We've adapted fairly well to the life of sometimes here, sometimes there. The wheelchair and my disability has added to the complications of travel but after three or four years it's just something else you plan for.
We know already from having been to NYC AD (after disability) that my movements will be quite restricted. We found the curb cuts to be a bare hint of, or a nod to, accessibility. 'See, we thought about it.' Too, the massive crowds make it difficult to simply get around or make turns. But that's probably just me, I would imagine that NYC disabled folk just get on with it.
What's fun is simply being there, even if being there is different now than it was before. As I grew into disability I had to come to terms with some real changes. Those changes physically are sometimes, I admit, stark. When we used to go to NY we had our favourite haunts, our favourite routines, our little rituals that are private and personal and made for 'just us'. Well, now not one of the old haunts is wheelchair accessible. It's not possible to attempt the routines and rituals. They were gone instantaneously. Gone as rapidly as the change from standing to sitting.
My first trip back to NYC after becoming disabled was awful. I went outside of the hotel and tried to negotiate the throngs of people. I got frightened. The very first curb I came to was simply impossible to navigate. I sat there with people swirling around me looking across the street to my destination - and I was alone on an island. I had moved to the land of disability. I was isolated from every single person who flowed by me. The world felt and sounded hollow. We went back to the hotel room and I only left it to go to work and after work I came straight back. I urged Joe to go out for a beer and have some fun. He didn't. It was horrible.
As we drove back home we had probably the most serious discussion we had ever had about my disability. I knew Joe loved NYC and our time there, our time 'Dave BD'. I knew he had had a distressing and depressing trip. We talked about what this meant. What we realized was that it meant the end of one era and the beginning of another. We'd have to be right creative if we were going to learn new rituals. And we have. I don't sit in the hotel room all the time, I find what's available to me and use it to the maximum. That means that my world is both smaller and larger at the same time. I could explain that but I think that anyone acquainted with the world of disability will get exactly what I mean.
So we're going down to NYC, staying at a new hotel, don't know what's there. Don't know if the curb cut will let me cross the street or if I'll have to find my own space, my own rituals on the side of the street that's mine.
NYC - the city that never sleeps is about to welcome the guys who go to bed at 8!!