Sidelined

September 30, 2006 at 8:07 AM (Uncategorized) (, )

Well, I had another trip scheduled into the mountains today….

And, symptoms cropped up to tell me it was best to stay in….

What I’m thinking about today is…

The various ways that associates, with impairments and without, make assumptions or judgements about those that “don’t get out much.”

We’re uppity and we think we’re “too good for [whomever]”

We’re lazy.

We let fear dictate our choices (Well, yes, on that last….I’d rather not have hour long attacks in the bathroom and I’ve gotten good at recognizing the cues that make it quite likely…) But this isn’t an irrational fear of socializing….*that* kind of fear should not keep one inside, ever…

1. We don’t make committments and break them for fun, or to dissapoint and frustrate our family or friends. We’d rather be doing. Absolutely. We aren’t staying in because of laziness, if it is symptoms that get in the way.

And in my particulars, the symptoms are not anything for which I claim any amount of positive impact on my life. Irritable bowel syndrome is nothing I can claim to be adapted to/resigned to/or get any good out of. It is the single piece of my multiple impairment puzzle that has the most negative affect on my life, ahead of all the rest and not recognized as a “disability” in and of itself.

2. I still think it’s important to make plans, even if an average of about 50% of them fall through…because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be out and about doing anything, instead of half as much as you’d like to…

Related to “going out.” I’ve never understood the sense of the general disdain or fear of going to films or plays alone…Once widowed, I decided that it was silly to miss a film or on rarer occasions a play that I wanted to see, simply because I would have to go alone…In the days before irritable bowel syndrome became such a constant, if I wanted to see a film or play and had the time or money…I went…It is absolutely better to go alone than not to go at all.
And, although I get to many many fewer films first run, I still go to some of them alone, for the same reason. (in the age of On Demand, or through the mail DVD rental, I’m just six months or so behind anything I didn’t get to)

I’ve also gone to “couple heavy” events, because friends were going…I won’t deny that those are difficult, but my experience is, again, it’s better to go than not, if you’ve got friends there who will take time to reach out and include you.

So, if we’re willing to be out and about, *even* in ways and to events that the able would not choose to attend alone, then, the biggest barrier can still be access.

Comedy clubs are still notoriously inaccessible, as a class…thank goodness Josh Blue is a crip jock as well as a comic, or he might have trouble getting into the building in which he has a show…

Performance venues have been sued, in what I’ll call the worst post ADA blunder…the assumption that the access is there without checking for the seating area or adaptive devices that actually make acess possible–to promise and then not deliver, and *blame* the customer for the difficult or outright bad experience.

Or the de facto exclusion from a concert when everyone in front of you stands and dances without leaving an open line of sight….We can ‘access’ the sound, but not the sights.

Going out should always be fun, or partially fun…but here’s hoping that however often people with impairments go out, it’s another method of chipping away at older, passe perceptions, that we belong inside…sometimes reaching the level of an act of defiance. Doesn’t have to be that laden with seriousness…but it can do nothing but good…the more we’re out, the less motivation or chance for being “shut-in” not by our impairments, but by attitude, or inaccessibility of a physical or social nature.

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