Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hmmm, The Future?

As I mentioned yesterday, Joe and I had arranged a leisurely day off between traveling and lecturing. We got up that morning and had time to read, mess about on the computer, linger over tea and breakfast, it was a great start to the day. We then decided that we'd catch an movie, the one we wanted to see started at 11:40 am, a perfect time for us, so as it got closer to the time, we headed out.

And ended up having a very odd, a bit disquieting, but wonderfully hopeful, adventure.

The mall, itself, was perfectly accessible. I mean PERFECTLY. For example, when you pushed the auto door opener, both large doors slowly swept open leaving lots and lots of room to go through.We felted as if the mall had thrown it's arms open to us, welcoming us in. We headed to the movie theatre and saw Everest, a literally chilling movie, and then had a late lunch and wandered about. Here's what we encountered:

- a restaurant that had a sign up stating that they were able to substitute veggie chicken for real chicken in any of the dishes that they had. Their menu was varied and fully catered towards meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans.

- in the same restaurant seating was available at various heights, making it perfect for me in a tall chair.

- a tee shirt store that had all sorts of tee shirts hung up on display, two of which had rainbow flag motifs with the word 'pride' on them

- a movie theatre that had it's accessibility policy displayed right at the box office, including stating that for persons with disabilities who had a support staff, the support staff would not be charged

- staff in store were the picture of diversity, and that picture, as isn't typical, included those who had both physical and intellectual disabilities

It was simply, and oddly, amazing.

I say it was disquieting because I'm not used to being in a place where welcome is just naturally present. Nothing seemed forced, nothing was done to draw attention to the various ways that the mall was inclusive. It just was.

It just was.

As Joe and I were stopped in our tracks looking at the LGBT tee shirts, I said to Joe, "I don't know how to feel, I'm so used to feeling unsafe as a gay person or unwelcome as a disabled person that I don't know how to react to this place. It's disquieting in a strange way."

Joe agreed.

It's like this is the future we imagined, we fought for, and now that we stumbled into it, it's hard to believe it's true.

But it was.

It was hard to leave to go back to the hotel.


Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

The name of the mall? They worked hard for this - they deserve the credit, even if I never get there.

What a nice change from the not quite accessible hotel!

Our son brought his girlfriend home for a visit. She doesn't eat meat. My husband made chicken paprikash - and they put in hers the chicken substitute they stopped to get.

Not that hard to accommodate folks in the food department - there are so many options out there.

The rest you ran into - doors that work and tables with some foresight - those DO require work - until they become just standard design.

I wish they would put things closer, though, because walking hurts, and it seems I often have to decide between a short hard way to get in somewhere and a long walk to an easier way.

Anonymous said...

The other night my family ate out at a local restaurant. Just in our small seating area at one table there was an African American family, at another 4 Asian college students, and at another a mixed race couple. My own table included my daughter with Down syndrome, my son with hearing aids, and my mother in law with Alzheimer's. And other than me noticing, there was nothing special about any of this, no problems for anyone (that I was aware of).

I wanted to "say something" to someone because it still seems amazing to me. But I didn't want to make an issue of it to my children. Is that good or bad?