Saturday, May 04, 2013

Getting Ready

It was a long week, lots to be done, lots to be accomplished all mixed in with unexpected surprises, some good, some not so good. Today is a transition day. We prepare for a week long trip to Saskatoon. On the one hand, we both love Saskatoon. On the other hand, we've got to get there. That means airplanes and airports - always a gamble at best. Sunday, early morning, we begin the process of 'getting there.'

This is where it is clear that the physical aspects of travel are not the problem. We know what to do, we know how to make it work. Trouble is, we need some assistance to get it done. This shouldn't be a problem because their are people who's job it is to help us with this. You'd think that, as their jobs depend on people with disabilities travelling they'd want people with disabilities travelling.

And many do.

Some greet us.

Some ask us what type of assistance we need.

Some help us because it's what they like to do.

But some don't.

Some seem to think it's their job to look helpful - not actually be helpful.

Some seem to think that their training gives them the right to look at us and determine, from a professional 'once over' scan what it is we need ~ and give us that, rather than what we need.

Some seem to think that their certificate in 'airport' helping out gives them medical expertise and the right to ask intrusive questions about things that are none of their business.

Some seem to be bothered that we've interrupted their conversation on their cell phone.

The process of travel involves the process of putting one's self at the mercy, first of chance, then of another's 'care'. That gets harder and harder for me to do. Joe, too, said yesterday, "I wonder who the Airport God's, in their infinite mercy, are going to send to help us?" Again, it's not the disability. It's not the mechanics of the trip. It's the attitudes and the personalities of those we will encounter from arrival at the desk to being seated on the plane. That's the issue.

So we've decided to go see a little film out of Norway called Kon Tiki just to remember that, whatever happens, we'll be in a seat on a plane, not strapped to a balsa wood raft. We're assuming a better trip.


Kris S. said...

Just watched "Life of Pi" with my youngest daughter last night. Recommend it. And would add that traveling by airplane is also preferable to traveling by either freighter or lifeboat...

Dave Hingsburger said...

Kris, Life of Pi was awesome. Great movie. We're excited that Kon Tiki is playing across the street, it's from Norway, our nearest theatre plays both the hyped hollywood stuff but also smaller more independent films.

Just Heidi said...

Safe travels, Dave! :)

Belinda said...

It's too bad that you couldn't officially be a "Secret Shopper" on your travels, where the airports and airlines pay you to give their staff marks on how well they do, and how they as an organization do, too. Of course you don't want to have to work and fill out checklists on your travels, I'm sure. All you want to do is relax and enjoy the trip, and I wish it was less fraught than it is!

Anonymous said...

I was recently travelling via Greyhound. I made a friend in the terminal and we planned to sit together. When time came to line yup, we lined up and stood for half an hour. No problem (I have a life long disability - I'm used to - I can stand, walk etc). But suddenly the Greyhound worker decided I HAD to pre-board because they *HAVE* to
help the "ADA people" as he referred to me. We got into an argument (I asked him politely to stop several times), I almost missed the bus and I got seperated from my friend and ended up riding through the night with a stranger - and all because someone decided he knew better than me what I needed (I didn't even NEED anything - I was just doing my own thing when he pounced on me).
To some people, it might not be such a big deal - I know far worse happens. However for personal reasons, this was really a traumatic event - maybe one reason is that I had absolutely no control over my situation once the guy stepped in. I became a voiceless child.
I can't complain because they'll just say he was trying to help and I'm the bad person for not appreciating it. But in reality his 'help' was harmful (not just unhelpful, but it caused actual harm). To me, the know it all helpers are worse than the helpers who slack. If you make enough noise then someone will help sooner or later. But the know it alls - you just can't communicate. Without communication, effective help is unlikely.
Thanks for reading.