Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guessing Game: A blog written naked

Here was yesterday: get up and pack, go the lobby, load the car, get in car, drive to work, get dropped off on sidewalk, watch car be parked around the corner, go up to lecture hall, lecture for day, go downstairs, wait on sidewalk, watch car get picked up, load lecture stuff into trunk, get in car, load wheelchair, drive 500 miles home, get home, go upstairs, take care of work emails while car is unloaded, go to bed. This will explain why, at just after 6 in the morning, 5 hours sleep, I am up and sitting, naked, at the computer writing my blog. No, the only thing that will truly explain that is that I've got this weird compulsion about keeping the promise I made to you via myself to keep a daily blog.

There was no way I could have written a blog last night after getting in. I had talked all day, dealt with the anxiety of giving a lecture that I'd only give once before, rode all through the afternoon and evening home, after making sure my work emails were done. I've told my staff and my agency that my commitment was that no more than 24 hours would ever pass without my responding to emailed questions and concerns. Yesterday was rare, people had to wait more than 12 hours. After doing that I opened my blog to write. Then I closed the blog and padded down to bed and collapsed.

The blog therefore has become a big part of my life. Joe's too as it turned out, on the way home, with about an hour to go, he asked me what I was going to blog about. I said, 'I don't know, why?' He said, 'Sometimes I like to guess what you are going to blog about.' I thought that was kind of cool and told him so. 'But nothing much happened to blog about,' I said. 'Nothing!' he said with surprise.

He brought up two things that were, in his mind, in contention.

1) the hotel room. Again we had booked a hotel and again we called to tell them I was a wheelchair user and that I needed a wheelchair accessible room. Again I was told it was accessible. Again we arrive to find the the hallways were so narrow I had to take the footrests off the chair in order to get off the elevator and to make the turn into the room. The room was so small that the wheelchair could get inside the room and then had to be parked. If I sat on the end of the bed, Joe would have to crawl over the bed to get to the other side. The bathroom was lovely and large but you had to fold the wheelchair up and manoeuvre it around to get it in.

2) At duty free we stopped to pick up some stuff. Usually I wait in the car but, um, we'd driven from New York City and I had to pee. We got up to the building and there was a fairly steep slope up to the door but no door opener. It was wildly difficult to get through the door. I couldn't take my hands off the wheel or I'd roll back, Joe had to try and get the door open and I had try to get up near enough to get hold of it without losing balance. We got in but it was tough. After going to the bathroom we went into the store and instead of shopping I asked to speak to a manager. Now this was close to midnight. I'd gone a fair bit into the process of turning into a pumpkin. The manager comes and I told him of the struggle and how inaccessible the building was. He rolled his eyes and started to talk. I interrupted him. I said, 'Listen, I don't expect anything's gonna happen with this complaint, I don't expect that anyone really cares about my concerns, I expect that people just want me to get the hell out of the store and take my complaint with me, I've been disabled for years, I get that, but I figure I gotta make the complaint. You're the manager, you gotta take the complaint, you can at least pretend you care.' He shook his head so all those words would fit in and then said, 'I've made that concern clear to corporate but corporate doesn't care.' I looked at him in shock, firstly he doesn't realize that if what he's saying is true, it's a horrific thing to say. Secondly, if he's just trying to shrug the responsibility away from him caring guy he is, to an anonymous 'corporate' then he is doing a poor job of it. I looked at this guy, barely out of his teens, wearing his manager role like Ruby wears a Princess dress, and thought, 'And this is my Knight, this is my champion, THIS is my advocate?' I simply shook my head and wheeled away.

I said to Joe, 'Nah, I can't write about those incidents.'

He asked, 'Why?'

I said, 'Cause I've written about hotel rooms too much, I've written about inaccessible buildings and attitudes too much, people will be bored by it.'

We drove in silence for a long time.

Then Joe spoke up.

This is what he said: It's a sad thing that discrimination that leads to inaccessibility and a lessening of participation in life becomes so routine that it's a cause for boredom, not outrage. A sad, sad thing.

As we were driving up Yonge Street, I said, "I know what I'm going to blog about." Joe said, 'Oh, what have you decided?'

I said, 'You'll have to guess.'


Heather said...

I get like that too.

I think maybe it's another side effect of being a bit depressed at the moment? Like you are subconciously protecting yourself from those negative emotions that inevitably surface when you blog negative events. Maybe?

Joe is right though. It's sad that shrugging your shoulders is necessary sometimes.

Sending you both big hugs xx

Belinda said...

Now there's an attention grabbing blog title! And then I found it was true. Yikes! :)

Emily WK said...

I don't remember how I came across your blog, but I'm an able bodied woman living on the East Coast and when I was visiting family recently, my husband and I were given a wheelchair accessible room.

And it bothered me and bothered me and finally I stopped by the front desk and I said, "Look, we're here for two night, so if someone comes in who needs to use this room, please feel free to ask us to move. We'd be happy to."

And of course, they didn't, and I can only guess it is because they didn't need to. But I wanted to make sure that if that situation arose, they didn't have the excuse of "Oh, the room is booked" to fall back on.

So I guess I'm saying - thank you. Thank you for perspective.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this naked. Does that mean I'm going to get pregnant?

Princeton Posse said...

Oh, the strong slient type. Good one Joe!

Susan said...

TMI. :)

Daisy Deadhead said...

I was just in a hotel room deemed "accessible" and believe me, I could simply eyeball it and see that it wasn't. If you fuss enough, I've heard they will give you a free room next time! (if its a big chain like Motel 6 or Hampton Inn)

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