Today’s conversation is about barriers–wheelchair accessibility. Realistically, they’ll always be there; it’s important to have an alternate plan when you are confronted by one. I’m prescribing two do-s.
The first do is to b-r-e-a-t-h, not react.
You represent all disabilities. Huffy behavior and hateful words maim our name. If you must show your fanny, moon yourself before addressing the powers that be. Remember: They most probably had no say in accessibility regulations; and, you may be the only disabled person they ever met. Please, make it a pleasant experience.
The second do is: connect to your GPS, Good Problem-solving Skills. Here are a few of my peeves, along with their solutions.
Parking spaces: I know all landscapes can’t be leveled, but at least handicapped parking spaces SHOULD be on level ground. I wouldn’t mind wheeling a block just to avoid a teetering transfer. I love the look of charming cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, but just like the measured lines in concrete sidewalks, rolling over them ushers in rat-a-tat-tat spasms for me.
Sometimes, this is unavoidable. But, when I have the choice of a handicap park on an incline or a level regular parking space, I choose level and wheel a little further. No big deal.
Air-pump hinge doors into restrooms: I bulldoze through these difficult doors that I otherwise can’t push or pull open. After my first entrapment, I patiently waited for a savior to enter. I now ask assistance from someone behind the sign-in desk or waiting room to listen for my, “Help!” to come rescue me.
When I’m in an auditorium or conference center, I remind a friend or person sitting next to me, “If I’m not back from the restroom in fifteen minutes, PLEASE come release me.”
Commode seats: What’s with the open-ended, horseshoe-shaped commode seats! Good luck? They trap my skirt tails, and their sharp molded edges are painful!
I have a GPS, but it’s a “Girls only.” (“Comment” me for my solution.) For you guys, it appears to be an anatomically obliging feature.
Hotel rooms: Traveling is always a roll-of-the-dice. I’ve figured out the places where I travel regularly, but for overnight or extended stays, hotel accessibility is like interpretive dance: “You mean what?”
Most hotels are accessible to the letter of the law—national regulations. When I request a roll-in shower, the floor is slanted toward the drain causing me to, literally, spin-a-wheel in my turns, sort of like an out-of-control dance. Then, there are the hotel beds that Jack (in the beanstalk) couldn’t climb into. What are the designers thinking!
Since I always have a travel companion, we call housekeeping for someone to assist them in heaving me into bed at night. Thankfully, I can slide out in the morning.
For those metal-encased glass doors I can’t budge when shopping, I yell to the first eyeball contact: “Can you please help me?” Please and help are good words. I use them often, with gainful returns.
What GPS assist you in circumventing physical barriers?