Saturday, September 13, 2014


At the intersection of Yonge and Bloor there are three pedestrian crossing possibilities. North <-> South. East <-> West. And then there's 'all ways' crossing where traffic is stopped in every direction and people can cross from whatever corner they are on to whichever one they wish to go. It's kind of cool when you get there and it's 'all ways' because it still feels kind of wrong going both North and East or South and West both at the same time.

Yesterday we were one of the cars stopped right at the crosswalk when the 'all ways' crossing blinked on. We saw a woman in a wheelchair with bright red hair; brightly multicoloured stilettos on her feet; fashionably cool clothing and with the most amazing cape draped over the chair behind her back. She entered the intersection and then wandered in a lazy kind of lovely meandering route. She looked to be simply enjoying the chair and enjoying her ride out and enjoying the opportunity to do a wheelchair ballet in the intersection. Joe had classical music playing on the radio and it was the perfect soundtrack to her movements.

She made it to the curb and continued on her way, the light changed, and we were off. But I was so glad that we had stopped there. I was so glad we had seen even for a few moments. She managed, in front of an audience of cars and fellow crossers, to demonstrate that wheelchairs free us. Free us to move. Free us to travel. And more than that ...

... free us to dance.

1 comment:

jesse-the-k said...

That diagonal move, "all pedestrians, all ways" is called the Barnes Dance, in memory of the civil engineer who advocated it.

(It may very well have been independently invented in non-English speaking countries.)