I've scoped out a parking spot. Right beside my desk actually. We'll have to move a huge filing cabinet and find space for some of the other stuff stacked against it, but everyone is willing. Yep, I'm going to have the ulitmate disability office, it'll come with a disabled parking bay a couple of feet from my desk chair. I'm a man with wheels. I've got two manual chairs, two scooters and one power wheelchair. I know that seems greedy but people keep giving me these things. I have one scooter here for when the power chair breaks down, as it has once or twice. The other I'm going to take to the office and park it there.
Once in my office, I'm kind of stuck there. Sometimes folks go out to grab a coffee or a bite to eat. I don't go, in my manual chair, everything is just to far away to get to. But, with a scooter, I'll be able to increase my sociability in the office. I tend to go to my office and stay in it, except to go to the washroom, for the whole day. As the washroom is right by my office, often people never see me, many express surprise when they see me out getting ready to go home. "Oh, you were here?" they say, startled.
With my mobility increased, I can even imagine zipping around more and saying 'hey'.
I'm so lucky. The whole building was designed with accessibility in mind, it's wonderfully adapted to people with varying mobility needs. When I suggested a disabled parking space beside my desk there was an immediate 'can do' attitude and we've planned out how to get it all done. My co workers all get that accessibility is a right, not a gift, but even so, because it isn't a right for all, it seems like a gift to me.
We shouldn't, as disabled people, have to depend on luck or good will, nor should we be required to feel gratefull to have what others take for granted. Even so. I feel both lucky and grateful. Probably because I'm mindful of the fact that what I experience here, in terms of acceptance (and no, I'm not the only person with a disability who works for the organization) is still unusual. People with disabilities, the world over, the country over, throughout the city of Toronto, are still fighting for accessibility, both in the real world and in the attitudinal world.
One day I want to have what I experience to be a universal experience. An experience of systemic welcome. A sense of belonging that doesn't differ from anyone else's experience of belonging. When I notice the feeling of belonging, I live in a world where we still don't belong. If that makes sense.
But for now...
I'm getting a parking space beside my desk. Soon my scooter will sit there. Soon my experience of my working world with change. I wish, just really wish, that we could simply move prejudice to the side as easily as we do a filing cabinet. It is that easy to change the world. Really, that easy. But the problem is, the issue isn't the filing cabinet, it will go where it's told, it's finding people, like I have, that are willing to move it.