Yesterday we went to vote. We will not be home on the day of Canada's national election, so we headed dutifully off to the advance poll. Neither of us has ever missed voting in an election, we both love to complain about the government - so voting is a must. We talked several times about how we were going to vote, typically we vote for the same party election after election, but this year we figured to change up. We have, on occasion, disagreed and each voted differently, but typically we form the mighty hingsburger/jobes voting block.
We were second and third in line and we there minutes before the poll opened. By the time we got in and registered the small waiting vestibule was full. Jam packed full. Of people with disabilities. There was an older woman in a huge and mighty electric wheelchair, a young Chinese woman in a sporty manual, a whiny older guy who constantly said in a high pitched voice 'I have a heart condition' to any and sunder. Then there was the guy with cerebral palsy who nearly toppled over the crutch of a young guy in a cast.
I was trying to make it around the cramped area while the Elections Officer tried to retain composure when in fact he seemed to be, pardon me, freaking out. Everyone was orderly, everyone was quietly waiting their turn, but our very presence, in such large numbers, threw everyone off their game. The woman who first checked our identification kept glancing from me to the hordes of disabled folk sitting, standing, bobbing, weaving, whirring behind me. Like I was the first in the deluge of disability. She kept trying to get the Election Officer's eye to indicate to him that we were all there. She kept pointing to us all with a quick movement of her head. She looked like she had a tic.
When I turned to leave, he said to me, "I don't know how you'll get out!" as he looked at the seething mass of mobility aids in front of me. I assured him there would be no problem. As I pushed myself out, everyone quietly and efficiently moved creating a passageway.
See, we know how to be disabled, even if they don't know how to handle it.