A few weeks ago I was on a WheelTrans bus going to work and we picked up a woman who was chatty by nature. She explained that since she became disabled she had become organized. "You can't be lackadaisical and be disabled" she said with me realizing that I typically like people who use words like 'lackadaisical'. Apparently before disability she was late for everything, now, with the 'be on the bus or bus be gone' and 'be at appointment or appointment be gone' lifestyle she has learned to get up early, get ready before, and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. 'I'm amazed at how much time there is in a day when you aren't rushing.'
For me, this is also true. Without organization, planning and foresight, life with a disability would not be survivable. Take travel. We know what we need and we take care to ensure that it happens. I book hotel rooms with disabled access. I call the hotel on the day of, several hours before arrival and double check the accessible room. This gives them time to fix something if it's been noted wrong. That way, everything is fine.
Until yesterday. We arrived at the Courtyard Marriott in Ottawa after booking an accessible room, calling to double check its availability. We arrive to be sent to a room that isn't accessible. (I think they thought we wouldn't notice.) We came back down and I was pissed. The room they sent us to was a very long way down carpeted hallways. I explained that I was upset and they explained that all the accessible rooms were taken. I had no room.
I stay here a lot when visiting family. This is 'my hotel'. I'm stunned. Eventually I get them to call hotels in Montreal to find an accessible hotel and we get in the car and drive two more hours to get to a hotel that doesn't have Internet in the room. Thereby this post isn't written and published until much later than usual.
Even meticulous planning can't trump 'I don't care service.' Even calling ahead can't trump, 'Oh, well, if you weren't crippled you could use another room' attitude. They did give me a certificate for a free stay in the future - ok, but that doesn't fix the problem.
The problem is that I had a system that worked. Planning, double checking ... it always meant that I arrived with no hassles. I can never trust that system again. I can't trust it because non-disabled people don't get what it is to have a disability, what it is to suddenly be left optionless, what it is to sit in a lobby of a hotel as people pretend to care and pretend to take action.
So, a late post and a frustrated writer.
Is there something else I can do to ensure that my travels are safe, for me. Is there something else I can do to assure myself that I'm not going to have to make a scene to get something which should be a right.
If you have answers, I have ears.