What's in a number?
If I was a child that would be a 'jingle jangle' of pennies.
If I was a dog that would be a 'need to bury' of bones.
If I was a bird that would be a 'peck peck peck' of crumbs.
178 of anything is a lot.
This morning on my way to work the bus took a circuitous route. We were going to pick someone up way over in a part of town I've never been to before. We drove through residential neighbourhood after residential neighbourhood. I was tired. I was bored. Suddenly I notice, as if with new eyes, that all the houses had stairs leading up to the front door. If I had friends or family in any one of these houses, I would not be able to visit them - ever. I'd never sip tea with them. I'd never laugh while looking over old photographs. I'd never put a comforting arm over sobbing shoulders. Never. Ever.
So I started to count. Blocks. How many blocks would go by before there was a house with an accessible entrance for someone in a wheelchair? I decided not to count apartment buildings, but that didn't matter, none of the blocks I counted had a new apartment building with a flat entrance. So block after block passed by. Suddenly I was up to 65 then 90 then 133 then 158. I was astonished. I looked at house after house. Home to all, except people like me. Finally, on block 179 was a small, sad little house that had a flat entrance. I was relieved. Partly because the search was over, partly because my fingers were tired from counting.
178 blocks without an accessible house.
Then, consumed by my informal study. I started counting to see how many houses on a typical block. The first block there were 21, the second block there were 17 the third block there were 32. So that averages 23.33 houses per block. Now let's multiply. That's 4153 inaccessible houses to 1 accessible house. By accessible house, I'm being generous with the definition - here it just means 'can get into'.
I don't know about you but when I am out and about, I notice more and more people struggling to walk as age 'f''s you over. You know adding the 'f' which converts agile to fragile. I see more and more walkers, and canes, and braces and scooters and chairs. Where do these people live? I don't know the answer. But this morning I saw 4153 places with a 'no disabled allowed' notice. What you call stairs, I call exclusion.