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.