Monday, May 12, 2014


Whoa, now, hold on. 

Let me explain:

I received a carefully worded email about something in yesterdays post regarding being in San Francisco. The writer said she didn't want to post the question on my blog and she didn't want me to take the question as a personal attack. Her questions was a simple one, "Is it appropriate on a disability blog to promote a a business that isn't accessible?" She was making reference to the Wing Lum restaurant that I'd mentioned in the blog post.

Before going back to the WHOA! let me answer that question first.

I admit that I thought about the issue of inaccessibility and asked myself exactly the same question that was posed to me in the email. In fact, I almost didn't mention the cafe at all. I decided, however, to go ahead and write it because - well - that's what happened. We've been going to the Wing Lum for years and it's part of every single trip to San Francisco. Their vegetarian options are amazing and their welcoming attitude is quite embracing.

Joe and I stumbled into the cafe, decades ago, long before I was a wheelchair user, quite drunk, took a corner table, and had a wonderful meal. We were giddy with youth and intoxicated with both alcohol and being on vacation in San |Francisco. The food was terrific, we could hear the chatter and the laughter from the bar, Reflections, which we just left and which was right next door. We are always creating memories, and that one is such a pleasant one.

We've gotten older, the whole area has changed drastically, but the Wing Lum goes on. We hadn't been to San Francisco for several years and just before leaving we looked it up on line to assure ourselves it was still there. It was and we were really pleased that the tradition it does continue.

This is maybe my third trip to San Francisco as a wheelchair user and, of course, The first time we went to San Francisco after becoming a wheelchair user we determined that we were still going to get food from the Wing Lum. We called them, we ordered, and we drove over to pick it up. The fellow that we see all the time speaks English haltingly but effectively and, once he knew I was now in a wheelchair, he explained all the things they could do to make sure we still got service. Not once did he act like my disability was anything more than something to be accommodated for. The building, an old one, isn't one that could be easily made accessible but, for me, all that mattered was that I was still welcome.

I didn't stop being friends with people who's homes were suddenly inaccessible to me. I didn't cut my life in half, taking huge scissors to separate before and after. I felt that stopping going to the Wing Lum would be a loss to me and require me to revalue my memories and my past history. I didn't want to do that. So, we still go.

There was one more small reason that I wrote about the restaurant yesterday. Joe and I are not really picture takers. Even though I used a picture yesterday on my post, I got it from the web. And because we aren't picture takers, this blog is kind of a verbal photo album of parts of our life. I want to remember this trip, and I want to remember our first day back in a city that I thought maybe I wouldn't see again. I wanted to be honest in what I wrote for you, yes, but for me too.

Now, to the WHOA!

The woman who wrote the letter said that after the post I wrote about the comments, which I thought suggested that disability prejudice is something I created by looking for it and that I put on the cloak of victimhood, she was a little nervous in leaving a question that could be seen to be critical of a decision that I made about going to an inaccessible place and 'promoting' it. I assure you, as I assured her, I loved the question. It needed to be asked.

I am not sensitive to questions or even criticism - in the whole history of this blog, I have had lively debates on several issues and discovered, shock, I'm not always right. The two comments that I wrote about, were different in a way that I can't really explain. I really don't want people to tip toe around me and my feelings. If you've got a question, ask it. If you've got a criticism, make it. Just remember that I there is a person on the other side of the computer screen and we'll all be good.

We had leftovers last night, and as is our new tradition, we bought enough for there to be leftovers tonight as well. New memories rising from old - ain't it great.


Just Heidi said...

I read all your Blog entries, including the two you are discussing in this entry. As for your first Blog in regards to having to rely on other's choices when traveling; I don't see it as you 'playing the victim'- instead, I see it as you being real about your day to day experiences as a disabled person/person with a disability.

In regards to the Chinese food...from what I read, they made accomodations to make their services accessible to the best of their ability at that time.

This Blog is based on your experiences and how these experiences shape/impact your day to day life. Keep sharing, keep it real. :)

Have a great week!
Your BIGGEST fan on PEI,

Anonymous said...

It's your blog, you can and should post whatever you want.
Sometimes accessibility just takes willingness and is easy. Some older buildings just can't be made accessible. But doing what you can to be accessible always helps

Anonymous said...

They accommodate to the best of their abilities and cheerfully so. That's decent. And if it lets you savor:

- delicious Chinese food
- leftovers (just as delightful!)
- wonderful memories

I can understand why you choose to continue patronizing them.

Cheers! Sue