Saturday, August 02, 2008

Phone's In

I created a fuss.

Our phone was supposed to be installed two days ago. As the day dragged on, with no dial tone, we began to suspect that something was wrong. It may not appear it here, on the blog, but Joe and I are the kind of people who have things go wrong - we now anticipate it, live with it, hardly notice it any more. Sure enough, no phone. The following morning I got on the phone with the company and explained the problem. I was told that we did have phone service and if it wasn't working I needed to talk to repair.


Doesn't repair imply that something that worked was now broken. How could we break something that never worked? We actually got the comment, 'That's not my department' and suddenly I was switched over to repair.

The repair guy was a bit confused about having to repair a phone that was installed but never worked. "How do you know it was installed?" he asked. I had no answer to that. He said, "Let me see when I can schedule someone to come out and take a look."

I began picturing a life without a phone.

Then I did it.

At first I thought I was 'using' my disability.

Only at first.

I said, "I need to tell you that I have a disability. Right now I am talking to you on our cell phone but whenever my partner is out with the phone I am left completely isolated. I can't call anyone. If I need help I'm stuck. Without the phone I feel quite vulnerable."

And then I realized.

I wasn't using my disability.

I was telling the truth.

The guy stuttered a bit and said, "I understand." This is a phrase that I have come to despise in the mouths of the non-disabled. They don't understand. They think they understand. They want to understand. But they don't. Can't. Impossible.

I once thought I understood. But I didn't. I guessed. That's not the same as understanding.

He said that he could have someone to me the next morning between 8 and 12. He apologized for the problems and we said our goodbyes. Later that day I got a call on the cell from some young guy who worked for the phone company. He had finished up his jobs, was still in the area, would we like him to come over even though it was after 6. He worked for about an hour outside on the box, then came in tested some things, went to the phone center in the basement and then was back up. The phone was successfully installed.

I thanked him, he shook off the thanks, 'No one should feel unnecessarily vulnerable," he said.

Maybe they did understand.

A little.


Glee said...

I have just discovered you Dave and am very pleased as one of the best things in life for me is to find other like thinking crips who are speaking such wonderful sense.

I have been reading many of your blogs back in time and left a couple of comments in July somewhere. Hope you get them.

to this blog - I used to say to friends when I had something done quicker or took advantage of "special" (urgh) treatment cos of my disability that it was a "perk" . Later I realised I was doing what you did (or thought you did) when you said you created a fuss.

You did not create a fuss. You stated the truth instead of soldiering on and being "normal".

And to stretch it, When I was a wobbly walker and I went to answer the door to a disability service provider I would think "now am I meant to be competent or incompetent today to get the service from these people?" and the answer to that would determine whether I took my walking stick to the door with me or not.

So what I get cos of doing that is not a perk it is what I deserve and need. If I work it to make sure I have the best case then good on me. Go Glee.

Even if we get something major "perk" wise then that really only goes a little way towards compensating us for the day to day constant ongoing relentless and sometimes acute discrimination that we suffer.

Oh I have had to restrain myself from swearing quite a lot here.


Unknown said...

I'm glad someone at the big ole phone company had some common sense!

My hubby has accused me of using our son's disability to get something done... you've worded it so much better than me (yet again). It is the truth...and that's that!