Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Duck ... Part 3

Finally the duck is in full view, we are all in awe of it's size, it's really big. It had been a lot of work getting there and the kids were thrilled to see the duck close up. They jumped off the end of the concrete pathway and down to the sand and ran right over beside the water where the rubber duck was moored. Beside the duck was a photo-op place with a 8 or 9 foot tall duck and a long line up of people were standing waiting their turn.

I knew that this was a costly duck, there had been controversy in the paper about the money spent to bring the duck to Canada as part of the celebrations of our 150th birthday. But, here's the thing, no money was spent on making it possible for people who use wheelchairs to get anywhere near the duck itself. The beach was full of non-disabled people getting selfies or drawing duck pictures in the sand.

Me?

I sat at the end of the concrete pathway and watched. Joe and the girls did beach stuff and I laughed and encouraged. I knew that this was an experience for the girls, we went for them to have a good time, they didn't need to have me yapping on about the inaccessibility of the area and the frustration of working really hard to get there, navigating crowds in a chair, pushing over uneven pavement, or dealing with attitudes that were less than welcoming. They had been ahead of me and missed the conflict that occurred when I had been backed into.

I had to do a lot of inner talk to stop me from doing a lot of outer talk.

I didn't want this to become about me, my disability, accessibility or anything else. It was fun, damn it, fun.

Once done with the duck hunt we turned and headed back. We talked about the duck and we talked about the sun and we talked about the fun we'd had. And all of that was true. We had had fun. We'd laughed a lot. I needed to remember that.

I need to remember that even with the shit you have to deal with when rolling, not walking, there is a reason to be out in the world. There are things to share with other people. I had to shove aside the feelings that tiredness brought out in me. Feelings of frustration about just trying to be in a line up or just trying to buy drinks, the feelings of anger at being told that wheelchairs, and by extension wheelchair users, had no right to share public space, feelings of aloneness when I had to watch everyone go to where I was not able to go are all real feelings. But they aren't the only ones.

We'd made memories.

That's what we set out to do.

And that's what we did.

Good ones. And not so good ones. But my choice is determining which one trumps the other.

2 comments:

SammE said...

Good attitude Dave. I would have been disappointed and alone too, but choosing to think about the good parts and the memories made, is best I think. Good that you all got to see the DUCK! I'm hoping they sail it down our canal in Welland. :) Hope you are enjoying your new place!

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Would have loved a picture of you with the gang and the duck.

I know why you didn't spoil other people's fun, but I hope you write a nasty letter (okay, polite but sharp) to the people who by their very creation of this place, spoiled yours.

If the people who try to go and can't get there don't speak up, no one will know, and the default is to assume everyone is happy unless they complain. Because why would your default be something that needs fixing?

If no one complains, it's okay. And it's NOT okay.