Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Scott and the Explanation

I was sitting next to Scott, a fellow wheelchair user who I know lives in an accessible apartment, and talking about our move to Newmarket. I was explaining to him about having been on the wait list here in Toronto for 10 years for an accessible one to become available and how we decided to take the one in Newmarket because it was becoming increasingly dangerous for me, and for Joe, in the apartment here. I fell a couple days ago in the bathroom and though that time I wasn't hurt badly, who knows about next time.

Then I was describing the kitchen, and the accessible feature, and the bathroom, and the accessible features, and the hallways and the doors and the flat entrance, and the ramp down to the ground in the back yard. All the while Scot is looking at me with a bemused look on his face. I suddenly realized why. He's a wheelchair user, he KNOWS what an accessible apartment looks like and the adaptions made. I stopped and started to laugh. He joined in.

I'm so used to explaining to people what an accessible apartment is that it has become habit. Most people really have no idea that accessibility includes the kitchen and the bathroom, and the hallways and the doorways. Most people have no idea that inaccessibility isn't just about 'getting in' but about 'what you can do' once you are in. There are lots of stores I can get into but because of displays and furniture placement, I can't actually shop inside.

So, poor Scott, he had to listen to what he already knew. But though he teased me about explaining accessibility to him, it was nice to be able to talk to someone who knew it, who got it, and who understood why it was important. No explanation necessary.

Being there talking to him was like being able to relax and take a breath. No explanations necessary. Either about the accessible apartment. Or about the wait lists for them. Or about what moving means. Because of that, we changed the subject and started talking about a couple of the cute guys nearby.

1 comment:

Ettina said...

Reminds me of two incidents in my life:

First, as a gifted autistic kid fascinated by chromosome differences, talking for the first time with someone who worked in medical genetics, and therefore didn't actually need me explaining what 'cri du chat syndrome' meant.

Second, just earlier this week, talking for the first time at length with another asexual person, and I started talking about the kind of relationship I'd like and they commented 'queerplatonic', and I was hit with the realisation that this person has heard of that kind of relationship before!