I knew that this was a costly duck, there had been controversy in the paper about the money spent to bring the duck to Canada as part of the celebrations of our 150th birthday. But, here’s the thing, no money was spent on making it possible for people who use wheelchairs to get anywhere near the duck itself. The beach was full of non-disabled people getting selfies or drawing duck pictures in the sand.
I sat at the end of the concrete pathway and watched. Joe and the girls did beach stuff and I laughed and encouraged. I knew that this was an experience for the girls, we went for them to have a good time, they didn’t need to have me yapping on about the inaccessibility of the area and the frustration of working really hard to get there, navigating crowds in a chair, pushing over uneven pavement, or dealing with attitudes that were less than welcoming. They had been ahead of me and missed the conflict that occurred when I had been backed into.
I had to do a lot of inner talk to stop me from doing a lot of outer talk.
I didn’t want this to become about me, my disability, accessibility or anything else. It was fun, damn it, fun.
Once done with the duck hunt we turned and headed back. We talked about the duck and we talked about the sun and we talked about the fun we’d had. And all of that was true. We had had fun. We’d laughed a lot. I needed to remember that.
I need to remember that even with the shit you have to deal with when rolling, not walking, there is a reason to be out in the world. There are things to share with other people. I had to shove aside the feelings that tiredness brought out in me. Feelings of frustration about just trying to be in a line up or just trying to buy drinks, the feelings of anger at being told that wheelchairs, and by extension wheelchair users, had no right to share public space, feelings of aloneness when I had to watch everyone go to where I was not able to go are all real feelings. But they aren’t the only ones.
We’d made memories.
That’s what we set out to do.
And that’s what we did.
Good ones. And not so good ones. But my choice is determining which one trumps the other.