Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Private Tears

I cried last night. I cried for most of the evening, yet nobody saw the tears. When I was out, I kept the tears in. When I came home, when I was in, I let the tears out. I do that a lot, cry on the inside while seeming happy on the outside. It is a trick I learned long ago, perhaps even as a child. I suspect many of us learn that skill, that ability to seem in good spirits while dealing with an internal tragedy.

It started last night with my trip to trivia. My regular group has been shifted by circumstance to a location where the trivia night is held upstairs in The Libertine Public House in Calgary. There is no wheelchair access to the upstairs. When I brought this up to the manager, he said they would figure something out. So I took him at face value and showed up last night. The duty manager apologized and said there was no way they could get me upstairs with the rest of the trivia players. I would have to go elsewhere.

This was not really a surprise. I knew it would happen. I really didn't take the manager's word for it; I've been through this mill more than once. What I was really doing was laying the groundwork for a Human Rights case. It contravenes the Alberta Human Rights Code for a business to offer a service or event which is exclusionary to handicapped individuals, like me, without making a reasonable accommodation for that handicap. I was prepared to go through the embarrassment of having to be carried up the stairs; it seemed reasonable and was the suggested solution by management, a solution which was not delivered. However before I can raise the issue with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, I have to attempt to attend the event, even though I knew it would be a failure, a humiliation.

What really hurt me, though, was that my friends all still went up those stairs, some passing by me on the way. In other words, just because I couldn't go didn't mean they wouldn't go. My exclusion didn't seem to make that much of a difference to them, beyond, perhaps, the smallest amount of feeling bad for me. I could not go up those stairs, so I went somewhere else, tears on the inside.

I was texting my brother about it last night, at home, in the midst of those tears. He acknowledged how much that hurt, and agreed with me that if it had been him, or any of my other brothers, they would have gone elsewhere with me. Sadly, it made me miss him, and my other brothers, all the more.

It's getting so I don't know what to do with my sadness and anger. I don't know where to put it. I can't keep it inside forever. Sooner or later, it's going to come out. I suspect, eventually, that I will stay home a lot more, where I can cry in private rather than hiding my tears in public.


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  2. Richard, I can only imagine the deep sadness this would have brought you. I wish I could find words of comfort but I don't think words will help right now. Personally, I can't imagine leaving a friend in the same predicament. {{hugs}}
    ~ Shannon ~