Sunday, 12 January 2014

I Just Went Home

I am late in writing today; this seems to be a pattern of late, my sleeping in later and later. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, it's just another thing, another little slip and slide in the changes that seem to have infested my life of late. I used to get up early, needing only 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night and often needing less than that. There was a time when I thought nothing of going to bed a midnight and getting up at 5 AM. There was a time, a recent time, when the thought of a long day didn't bother me in the least. Now it is not the long day, but the long night that dominates my life.

Yesterday, especially the evening, was tough. During the day I did nothing, accomplished nothing. I remained at home, slept in late, took it easy during the day and readied myself for an evening excursion dancing. That may sound easy, but even the easy things have a new layer of challenge to them, living my life in this chair. Alas dancing was not to be. It didn't happen; as with many things in my life these days, there is a bit of a back story to this whole thing.

Some time ago it was suggested to me that I needed to start hanging out with people more my own age. I am not sure why, but some of my friends and family thought I should be with a more "age appropriate" group. I saw this as nonsense; my friends range in age from 25 to 60, with a pretty broad cross-section in the group. But I listened and started looking for groups that were more dominated by those in their 50's. In particular I found a social group online, a Meetup group, called the Calgary Baby Boomers. So I signed up.

These Meetup groups post events, get-togethers at venues selected by the group hosts. I've tried to go to a few of them, and in all cases I have had trouble with parking, especially handicapped parking. In one case, I managed to park on the street, across from the venue. In another I had to ask for help from a passer-by to get my wheelchair over a curb, in another I had to fight through the snow to the sidewalk before I could gain access to the venue.

Since the venues change all the time, I cannot simply talk to management at the location; I won't be there next week. Since it's winter, most of these places use the snow as their excuse for not providing handicapped access. The snow conveniently covers the handicapped parking signs painted on the parking lot, so those spots disappear quickly, both beneath the snow and then beneath vehicles parked thereupon.

Last night I was excited about going dancing with this new, age appropriate group. Imagine my dismay when I arrived at the venue to find a parking lot covered in snow and a massive pile of plowed snow where the handicapped parking would have presumably been. The sidewalk access ramp was nowhere in sight, also presumably covered by this massive pile of snow. I drove around the parking lot twice, looking for a way to get into the venue, then simply gave up and drove home.

You might ask why I didn't just ask for help. Well the truth is I am tired of having to ask for help. I am tired of constantly seeking access, wondering where and how I will get into a place with the others. In the places I go regularly, the ones where my mixed group filled with younger people, the age inappropriate people, I don't have to ask for help. They help me without my asking, blocking parking spots for me and coming out to make sure I can get in. The group I hang out with takes it upon themselves to make sure I don't have to ask. They act, without me having to beg.

More than the asking part, aren't we supposed to be in a world where access is equal, where people in wheelchairs are not barred from entry? Why do we accept this? I don't. But last night I was just too tired to bother with the fight, to worn from the daily struggle of just living to try to battle the inequity with which I must contend on a daily basis. I just went home.

1 comment:

  1. Some days, I too, fight the battles,and some days I just go home.When a person is going through what I call "A trial by fire" you only have so much energy, and some days, none at all. Some days I wanrt to fight, get mad, shout and scream, and , yes even throw things. Other days, im just worn. It takes all the energy I have to breathe , go to the bathroom, etc. I occassionly allow myself this. Tomorrow, I may have enough energy to fight again. But for today, Im worn. Check out the song Worn by tenth Avenue North.