Sunday, January 31, 2016

1 Step Doesn't Equal Wheelchair Accessible

Welcome to the latest iteration of Cripple Please! This time, I'm going to talk to you all about something that I've heard all too often. Now there are lots of things that irk me in terms of what people who aren't totally familiar deem as accessible. I've even talked about a couple of them in one of my previous posts --HERE--. As usual, I'll expound on more of them in the future, but right now I'm going to talk to you about one of the more irksome of those.

What I'm talking about in this instance, is this irrational belief from some, that having one step still makes a place wheelchair accessible. In my position, I always make a point to make sure that any establishment, or venue, or whatever, that I plan on visiting, is just that. If I can't tell through reading or looking at pictures, I always call. "Hi. I'm planning on coming to your establishment. Is it wheelchair accessible?" So simple, and you'd imagine, just as simple to understand. Wrong. Totally wrong. Sure, most of the time when they get asked that, these places say "yes," and their "yes" is legit. I pull up to the entrance and life goes on. But there are far too many times when I'm given a "yes," only to arrive to the presence of a single step or sometimes two. Didn't I specifically ask about wheelchair accessibility?!? What the hell! After going off and calling whoever it is that I talked to a bunch of expletives, both in my own head mind you, I either call the place directly again, or I'm greeted by someone from inside. The whole situation is then usually compounded. The representative I usually talk to usually first informs me that the place is indeed wheelchair accessible, and that it's only one or two steps. So dumb. After I assure them that there's no way in hell for me to get up the one or two steps in my chair, they then usually offer to help me up the stairs. I don't think I've touched on that particular issue in the past, oh don't you worry I will, but no. I'm not going to trust some stranger to help physically lift my chair. Hell, I won't let most of my family help with that. I then just politely decline the offer, and make other arrangements.

The main point that I'm trying to make, is that one or two steps is in no way wheelchair accessible. That'd be like someone telling you that they have a door for you to enter, only to find out that what they actually have is a window that they'd have to boost you up into in order to make it in. On what planet is a damn window a door? And that's the same premise with steps. Sure, with some wheelchairs, in particular manual ones and a few specific power varieties, a very short, single step is no problem. But still, a step or two should never, and I repeat NEVER, be considered wheelchair accessible. These days, I make sure to relay that message whenever I run into this type of problem, in efforts to educate people who aren't very aware on this subject. I know some people just don't understand, thanks Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, but I'm hoping me saying something will ultimately adjust their thinking.

There are a bevy of other things that bother the shit out of me, but I will expound upon those in later posts. I just want to reiterate to anyone who doesn't yet get it, that if yours or a place you're in, has a step to get into it and doesn't have an alternate, more accessible entrance, it is not accessible. End of story. It might have wide enough doors, space to maneuver, and other features, but if I can't even make my way inside, quite frankly it doesn't matter. Stairs equaling accessible? Cripple Please!

Monday, January 25, 2016

I'm Driving In The Rain

If you didn't know based on some of my previous posts, I live in Seattle. So this post is about a part of my life that, quite frankly, comes as second nature. Of the 365 days in a year, Seattle has a measurable amount of rain on average 155 of those days. I know a lot of people have this image in their head that we have rain every single day, but still, 155 days is a lot of damn rain, and even I, though I'm totally used to it, grow weary of it. Just the other day I had to travel through it, and as I proceeded to get drenched, I thought to myself, "yeah, I definitely need to share this with my readers." So that's what I'm doing.

Now just like everyone else experiences, when it rains, I get wet. But this is compounded when you're in a wheelchair. Let me explain. When one is standing, the surface that's getting rained on is way smaller than when you're sitting. It's just basic physics, but it can really be a pain in the ass for people like myself. It's especially annoying in my opinion, because it means my shoes get rained on constantly, and from all angles. That's right. I'm complaining about my shoes getting wet. Those that know me know how I feel about my babies, so that's an issue I, and others that may or may not love their shoes as much as I do, have to deal with. When you're walking, your standing above your shoes, which shields them to an extent, and they're being shielded some as you swing them with each step. Now sure, I don't have to walk through puddles, which would devastate me, but you catch my drift. Also, when you travel as fast as I do (I don't get tired obviously so why go slow?), it increases the amount of water I get pegged by. So even when I wear a jacket, my entire lap, legs, and shoes are still going to get drenched regardless. Aww, the life of a wheelchair whipping Seattlite. The only real solution is to wear a poncho, but call me vain if you want to, but I'll pass. Unless it's a damn monsoon of course, but if gets that bad, I'm only going out in it if it's a life or death situation. Not actual life or death, but you know what I mean.

So in a nutshell, being in the rain sucks, and being in the rain while being in a wheelchair can suck even worse. I'm going to need the Myth Busters to come up with some type of electric umbrella thing. Or maybe Xzibit is still pimping rides somewhere. Or I guess I could just put my MacGyver hat back on and hack something together. Either way, would I ever let the rain slow me down? Cripple Please!
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