Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maybe Too Accessible

Our room in Gravenhurst is in a hotel that takes accessibility fairly seriously. We stay in a lot of hotels and this one meets my needs in ways that few others do. It has a room that isn't just accessible, it enables me. I look forward to staying here whenever we do, for business or for vacations. Our room in a one bedroom suite and we stay here often enough that we even know what room number we prefer and request it on booking. It's a great place, with great staff and maximum accessibility. Saying this worries me a little because someone with a disability different from mine may find it lacking, but for me, it's simply wonderful.


We'd had dinner and Ruby wanted to play 'Pop up Pirate' and she really wanted Joe to play. Joe was about to do the dishes (even though there is a dishwasher) but Ruby was being persuasive. She likes Joe playing because he finds the game very stressful and has a huge startle effect when 'that damn pirate' jumps out of the barrel. Ruby finds this very funny. In truth, so do I. So I was encouraging him to join the game and he was giving me that 'please no' look. I pretended not to see it.

Now at home our kitchen is small, my wheelchair can get in to the counter where I help prepare meals, but dishes are just not possible. It's become a job that only Joe does because only Joe can do them. But here the dishes are a task that is accessible to me. I noticed this without noticing the implication. You see Joe and I just fell into the old routine. I helped prepare the meal, Joe does the dishes. But, without thinking, I said, 'You play 'Pirate' and I'll do the dishes.'

You could see the realization hit Joe's eyes too. Ah, ha, dishes is now a chore to be shared, at least for this week, at least in this place. As I rolled over to the sink, I was thinking 'Damn, damn, damn, damn!' I heard Joe behind me saying, 'Thank you Ruby, maybe we'll play 'Pirates' every day this time.' She, delightedly, yelled, 'Yeaaaaaaa!'

I muttered something much different under my breath.


Kristin said...

Too funny.

Manuela said...

Its kind of funny you wrote about this today because last night my husband said - Dave has stayed at that hotel a few times - what is it about the place he likes (other than the location and view which alone makes it great) and we got talking about accessibility and how that room is different than others (like the accessible?? room in North Bay!). I specifically mentioned the kitchen. Enjoy your break Joe. Guess you'll be doing the dishes on your next visit Dave!

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

I love how "Pirates" suddenly became accessible to Joe!

Anonymous said...

Good visual of a startled Joe and that "damm pirate" and Ruby laughing in the background.

Glee said...

you know that screen saver called "Marquee" on Windows where you can type in words and then they float across your screen like a banner? Yeah? No? I used to have as mine "Love your disability it gets you out of doing the dishes". HAHAHAH I could see it coming!

And - a few years ago after my new accessible kitchen was installed a friend Tim came around in his chair. I said "go try the sink" "No I can see it" "No go and get up to it". He reluctantly went over and sat there. He turned and looked at me with this huge grin on his face which did not stop. He "it's amazing isn't it?!!!" Grin grin grin. Yup.

A middle aged man looking like he'd just won a million dollars. An ease, an access he had never experienced before!

It struck me almost like an arrow to my heart what deprived and imprisoned lives we lead. Disabled for sure!

I knew what sink access was like as a wobbly walker and how easy it was to get water out of a tap and do the dishes etc. I had my kitchen changed when I split from hubby and I was using the chair more and more. So as it is my kitchen now it is all low and mostly no cupboards except for a 30" section for any uprights, such as support workers, to use.

That was such a glaring example of how our environment affects us, stops us, disables us, makes us DEPENDENT!.

I can still see the delight on Tim's face! :))