Monday, November 25, 2013

AAaaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!! But...I smell something brewing....

This weekend was interesting. Friday night saw me at a friends having dinner and conversation. The dinner, the conversation and the company left me feeling full and satisfied. A good night.

On Sunday there was a family meet up, to celebrate a birthday. Several attempts had been made to find somewhere with suitable wheelchair access and a disabled toilet. The two prerequisites to allow me to join in and have a stress free easy time. The place that was finally settled on declared themselves accessible and with a disabled loo. Bingo! Or so I thought.......

On arrival, and whilst still in the car park, my only thought was, 'Oh fuck.'

The disabled parking spaces were at the furthest end of the car park from the 'disabled access' and the pathway was blocked by those huge industrial skip type bins. So we had to park near to the 'disabled access' in a normal space which does not allow enough space for you to open your door wide, another 'need.'

So then to the top of the slope......the so-called disabled access. I felt like an olympic ski jumper, staring down a run so steep. If you weren't disabled at the top, chances are, you would be by the time you reached the bottom, in a scabby broken heap. Feeling invincible, and with my mind screaming that I needed to talk to the manager or manageress about their access, I thought 'Fuck it.' And let go of my wheels. I know I've never moved so fast, which is not so great when your hands are your breaks. As I neared the entrance, I was greeted by another bloody obstacle.

The door.

It was big, and looked heavy, and was found to be heavy, with a handle up high, it opened outwards, so towards you, not easy when I can't just step backwards, and I had to negotiate all this on an upwards slope with a bloody door mat on. Driven by 'gggggrrrrrr' alone, I got in, and was greeted by a sales assistant asking if I was ok. 'Errrr no. Can I see the person in charge please?'

The person I saw was helpful, and was grateful for my feedback, got those massive bins moved, and offered me a wine. Sounds good, but then......

My mum had booked a table in the bar. Our table had been moved into the restaurant. Down two steps. To compensate for this, a ramp had been placed over the steps. Small compensation though, as it was another steep slope with a lip at the top and the bottom, which I couldn't negotiate independently. Being in a wheelchair is bad enough, let alone when you can't do it independently. It really ups the spaztastic feeling.

Aah but what of the disabled toilet? The toilet was fine, but getting to it was not. Up that bloody ramp, which I had to ask for help with, through the bar, negotiating tables and people, through another doorway, that took my knuckles off, with another heavy door that I needed help with. To strip it down to it's basics, I had to ask for help to go to the loo. Like a child. And incurring injuries on the way. Brilliant.

To get to the car I had to go down a different, gentler slope. But oh, it had a kerb at the end. I know I can get down a kerb, but not everyone can. And why the fuck would you design it like that anyway? And me negotiating the kerb gave rise to worried looks on the faces of the onlookers, which was kind of priceless.

So this got me thinking on the journey home. People are not aware, not truly aware if they have had no experience of disability. And I mean first hand experience. This is what is needed. In schools. In workplaces. Restaurants. Shopping centres. Everywhere that able bodied people go.

Until able bodied people experience disability for themselves, it's all supposition about what is truly needed. Until the world is equal and inclusive, there stands to be winners and losers, the included and the excluded.


I do not want to live in that world. It's no good for anyone.

Going out is a bit like this.....but without the awesome skills.



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4 comments:

  1. Ellie, I really wish you would not use language that is so insulting to many people. We've spoken about this before and using words like 'spaztastic' even when you're talking about yourself is not on. Some phrases, words, are politically incorrect..would you use the 'N' word on your blog? That is the sort of thing I mean. I tweet for your blog and a Twitter follower contacted me about your use of the word. She has a niece, Judith aged 8, very badly disabled with cerebral palsy and she was understandably upset. "The blogger is winding the clock back to times that are well forgotten"

    I'll spell it out for you. Years ago the term used for people with cerebral palsy was 'spastic'. The term was misappropriated and it gradually came to be used as an insult.

    "In the 1980s, the term spastic evolved into one for a general insult, partially because of the Blue Peter programmes following the life story of Joey Deacon in an attempt to show disability in a positive light during the International Year of Disabled Persons. Consequently, the society changed to its current name on 26 March 1994,[11] following a two-year consultation with disabled people and their families.[12]"
    Quote from Wikipedia

    What you say in your own home is up to you. We all say things around family and friends that we wouldn't say outside our social group.

    And remember when you post on your blog it is global...you must realise that.

    I don't suppose you will take this comment graciously...but tis done.

    I wish you well.
    Ellie, I really wish you would not use language that is so insulting to many people. We've spoken about this before and using words like 'spaztastic' even when you're talking about yourself is not on. Some phrases, words, are politically incorrect..would you use the 'N' word on your blog? That is the sort of thing I mean. I tweet for your blog and a Twitter follower contacted me about your use of the word. She has a niece, Judith aged 8, very badly disabled with cerebral palsy and she was understandably upset. "The blogger is winding the clock back to times that are well forgotten"

    I'll spell it out for you. Years ago the term used for people with cerebral palsy was 'spastic'. The term was misappropriated and it gradually came to be used as an insult.

    "In the 1980s, the term spastic evolved into one for a general insult, partially because of the Blue Peter programmes following the life story of Joey Deacon in an attempt to show disability in a positive light during the International Year of Disabled Persons. Consequently, the society changed to its current name on 26 March 1994,[11] following a two-year consultation with disabled people and their families.[12]"
    Quote from Wikipedia

    What you say in your own home is up to you. We all say things around family and friends that we wouldn't say outside our social group.

    And remember when you post on your blog it is global...you must realise that.

    I don't suppose you will take this comment graciously...but tis done.

    I wish you well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A Twitter friend emailed this to me after reading my comment on your blog.

    Well said! As you say she can say what she likes in her own home but once you publish something, anything on the net then it is up for public scrutiny. It is a horrendous use of language and I only hope she understands that eventualy for her own sake as outside her circle of supoporters she will rapidly lose wider support for her cause if she doesn't appreciate how powerful that word is in such a negative way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello, after reading your comments I feel like you're using this blog as a place to vent your old fashioned views on the word 'Spastic'.

    A writer named Catlin Moran once said 'we should take back the word c*nt as our own'. She was referring to no longer letting men use it as an insult, because it shouldn't be used as that as long as you take control of it and you own it. It is the same with the word Spastic. It's just a word, a word that can be taken out of context and used as an insult towards people with disabilities or can be taken under control and used as a normal word. When braving the world as a disabled person, many people expect you to be politically correct and quite frankly, a boring sod. elelliott.blogspot.co.uk is a blog where the writer can write whatever she likes, you don't have to read it.

    ReplyDelete