Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ramps Are For Wheels


As powerful as the Christmas spirit might be, it clearly can't survive the Boxing Day sales on the streets and in the malls. Joe and I headed out to catch an early viewing of the new Sherlock Holmes movie, which we enjoyed tremendously, and then planned on doing a wee bit of shopping in the Eaton Centre. We came out of the movie theatre and joined the throngs of shoppers. Just getting into the mall was difficult. AB's are quicker than I so when Joe held the door open for me to get in, they all assumed he was holding the door for THEM and not the big guy in the bigger chair. Finally we had to be assertive and yell at people to get them to stop so I could simply get into the building. They had the nerve to be all pissy about waiting for a second for me to go through that door - even though there were four or five revolving doors that they could have gone through.

Not a great start.

The mall itself was wild. I was in a real, live, video game. Steering this way, that way, coming to a complete stop, but I managed to not crash into anyone. Oddly, all sorts of walkers crashed into me. Seems they didn't take the responsibility of walking with the same degree of seriousness as I did driving. They'd be yakking with each other, or texting someone and run into my chair from the side, from the back, and few would apologize, most would ignore the fact that they'd hit me, but some would be openly hostile, 'You people shouldn't be allowed in here.'

Not getting better.

The challenge though was the ramps. AB's love ramps. I get that, I truly do. But while they love them, I NEED them. I'd sit at the bottom of the ramp while a stream of people came down the ramp. Many of them smiling at me with a 'oh there's a cripple in the room, smile' but none of them stopping or diverting to the stairs. At each of the ramps, I'd sit there and hold my hand up ala Stop In The Name of Love ... but it did no good. Some actually waved to me as they continued on their merry little way. Finally we worked it so Joe would go to the top and stop people so I could get access to the ramp.

We gotta get out of here.

We found the store we wanted, talked to a clerk, placed an order, and fled the mall. It was horrible.

I don't mind sharing the ramps and automatic doors with the AB's. I just wish that they'd think to share them with me. Odd, that.


theknapper said...

another example of how accessibility is an attitude, a way of seeing and living in the world.......and the craziness of boxing day sales makes people's thinking ability and to really see gets smaller!

Kristin said...

I hate it when common courtesy gets left at the curb. Sorry you had to put up with that.

FridaWrites said...

Yes, exactly. Now Black Friday in the US--I'd be very surprised to see anyone in a wheelchair out at the major sales on that day.

Anonymous said...


Heather said...

I was in awe of your bravery when I read about going to the sales in a wheelchair.
I won't even go on a normal weekend because of all the bodies in the way. They get a kind of tunnel vision that doesn't register wheelchairs AT ALL. Until they end up in your lap of course.

Anonymous said...

Interesting your perspective, and I have to wonder if it really has anything to do with your being in a wheelchair and needing the accessibility.

At present I don't require any assistive technology for mobility. Also I'm relatively tall - a bit hard to miss. You woulldn't believe the number of people that run into me, cut me off, stop on a dime in the middle of the aisle, and behave in a generally oblivious manner apparently cheering for self-absorbtion and a lack of social awareness.

So many people seem to have forgotten that they are participating in community when they are out in public places.
(And don't even get me started on the sales clerks!)

Nice that Joe can clear a path for the both of you!

Good luck out there, and I do appreciate your safe driving!