I knew what this blog post was going to be before it happened. I'd had it all planned. I got to work and felt sluggish in my chair. Since I've been home for a few weeks, I've been using primarily my power chair. I use the manual for work and home but the power for going any distance. I sent Joe an email and asked him to bring the shopping list when he came to pick me up and then suggested a huge grocery store on the way home as a place to go shopping. We'd never been there and I've always wanted to try it. I figured I'd get in the store and get a real good 'run'.
We parked in the lot and then made our way to the store. They had a gate for people with disabilities which was locked. LOCKED. It was below O temperatures and the freaking gate was locked. With a padlock. I had to sit in the chair as Joe went in search of someone with a key. I got colder and colder and colder. People, the valued ones who could walk, sauntered by me. Not one asked if I needed help. Not one even glanced over at me sitting freezing at the barred entrance. Finally someone came with a key and I raised hell about them locking disabled people out of their store. She said I was right that it was cold but they had to keep control of the shopping carts.
I got in and was steaming mad with frozen toes. Joe kept suggesting we leave. He could feel a scene coming. I saw a manager type person and asked why they locked disabled people out. She explained, as to a six year old, that the carts weren't to go into the parking lot so they had to lock the entrance. I asked why they didn't put up a sign that said there was no wheelchair access. She said that there was. I explained, as if to a five year old, that if you have to sit in the freaking freezing cold while someone went to get someone else with a key, it wasn't accessible. She apologized. I asked what any apology, that didn't lead to change, meant. She said she'd talk to management. Code speak for 'shut up and leave me alone, I don't care'.
Then I shopped.
Don't tell me I should have left in a huff. Why should I? This was my plan. This is what I wanted to do. So I did it. I rolled and I rolled and I rolled. I put the inaccessible gate, the stupid padlock, the fact that they were more concerned about carts than customers, aside. I wanted to run my chair. I wanted to exercise my arms. I wanted to find empty aisles and race down them. And I did.
My intention was to have a blog about going out and racing around just for fun. Like kids running for no purpose in a park. And by gum, I'm going to have a blog about racing around just for fun. I love having a great floor to roll on, space to roll and sharp corners to turn. I'm always careful should I happen upon someone walking and I'm pretty good.
I got glared at a lot by most of the employees. They'd all heard about my complaints. I could tell by the stares and the hostile glances. But I didn't give a flying fig about any of them. I was in their territory. I'd made my point and they'd simply have to deal with me. Joe and I chatted, looked at stuff, laughed. I'd let it go. It's easy when inaccessibility and uncaring responses to complaints is a fairly regular occurrence. Same shit different store. My goal was not to increase disability awareness. It was not to create accessibility where it wasn't before. No. My goal was to get out and have a run in my chair. My goal was to have fun while doing it.
And I did. Both.