|Photo Description: Wheelchair access symbol going up a ramp with a directional arrow below.|
We took a break from the zombies, as one must, and watched a couple episodes of a murder mystery series we've been watching over the past many months. There are a lot of seasons and a lot of shows, so we know the characters well. But then something happened while watching it which shook me up just a little bit. One of the characters was standing on a sidewalk outside a building, she was bantering with her partner. A very typical scene for the show. But I noticed over her shoulder a wheelchair access sign. It had the wheelchair symbol, the blue badge person, and an arrow underneath it pointing, presumably to the wheelchair entrance of the building.
That was it.
But I've been watching this show over several seasons. Several. I've never seen a disabled person in it. Not as a main character, something I'm familiar with, but, and maybe more importantly, not even in a background shot. You know the 'people milling around' shot or the 'people walking by' shot or even the 'people gathered around the police tape' shot. Never. Not one.
I thought through most of the television shows that I've seen and, again, I can't recall m/any where someone with a visible disability just happening by. Just being part of the crowd. No crutches, no walkers, no wheelchairs.
I don't need to watch zombie shows to see a post apocalyptic world. I see it in every show. People with disabilities, disappeared. The symbol, the person in the chair, is like a hieroglyphic, it represents people who don't exist any more. In TV world maybe we've all been 'mercyied' away. In TV world maybe the ugly laws are back and we are shut away from the camera's eye. In TV world, they'll show the symbol but not the people.
On the bus this morning, we had several pick ups and drop offs on my way to work. It was comforting to see, we still are here. We still exist in the world.
That symbol is only a symbol.
Not a sad reminder.
Of a people gone missing.