A friend of mine was describing a vacation she was about to take. Her face went all smiley as she described going to a place where there's no wifi, no television, no cell phone service. She will be completely unplugged for two whole weeks. They are planning on hiking and boating and exploring the forest around the cabin they've rented. I told her that it sounded wonderful.
I wasn't lying.
It sounded wonderful - for her.
I had no intention of bring a disability perspective to the conversation because, it really wasn't needed. This was about her and her vacation, I could easily say, that it sounded wonderful because her voice told me it was wonderful, her smile told me that it was wonderful, they way she relaxed even as she described it told me that it was wonderful. For her.
Then she asked if I could unplug for a couple of weeks.
I said, "No, I couldn't."
"Not even if you were up at a beautiful cabin in the woods and on a lake?"
"No," I said. But I didn't want her to walk away thinking of my answer as being about my inability to 'unplug' ... because, that's not it. I didn't want her to think that I was a real life forest grump. So, I brought disability to the table, "You have to understand that if I rented the same cottage, I'd be stuck in the cottage. I'd not be able to hike, or explore the forest, or go boating. So, what I'd be doing is sitting watching the people I was with go do those things. It would be incredibly isolating for me."
While I get annoyed at people who are constantly on their devises, even when out walking on the street, making hazards of themselves because they aren't paying attention to their surroundings, you will not hear me go on and on about the evils and perils of the Internet. In fact, for me, the Internet holds many blessings. Beyond seeing cute inspirational quotes decorated by kittens and puppies, of course. The Internet reduces my isolation as a disabled person. It gives me quick and ready access to the disability community and allows me conversations that I would not be able to have in the real world.
I am surrounded by non-disabled people, for the most part. I am also surrounded by straight people for the most part. Now, I'm good with both those things, but sometimes I feel a bit lonely. But when I'm feeling like I really need to have gay conversations with gay people about subjects understood by lgbt people, I hop in my chair and go to our friendly neighbourhood accessible gay bar. However, there isn't such a thing for me when it comes to the disability community - except here, on the Internet.
I don't choose, or haven't yet chosen, to unplug from the support and the conversations and the humour and the insight and the warmth of the disability community, in all its forms here on line. Even when I stopped blogging for a month, I still connected through Facebook and through various other means.
I do not wish to be alone in a forest.
Or, really, anywhere.