Before we left we decided which of the two movie theatres we’d go to, how we’d get me in, and how we’d deal with the slope when we got home. Accessibility is a participatory sport, you need to plan and you need to adapt at any given moment.
Once in the car, we headed out. The first thing we noticed was that all of the curb cuts, every single one of them, were buried under mountains of snow and ice. Non-disabled people had difficulty getting over them. Even on sidewalks that had been shoveled, the curb cuts were left. On days that they were needed more than ever, they were simply gone.
When we got to the theatre we noticed that the parking lot had not been recently shoveled. You could see pavement from where cars had parked and packed snow and ice between the parking bays. We decided to let me out,, right at the curb cut, which was free of snow because it was under the theatre’s marquee. It was a difficult maneuver, and I felt that I was going to fall a couple times. But I managed to get into the chair and then into the lobby and finally into the movie.
I hadn’t been out for two days, it felt good.
On the way home Joe stopped to pick up a couple of things we needed at the grocery store, something I’d normally join him for, but I waited in the car. Beyond it being too much work, it was also a little dangerous: I could fall; Joe could fall when helping me get through the ice; the force needed to get my chair through the ice and snow could damage my chair.
So I waited.
“But,” I told myself, “I’m out, not in. We accomplished our goal.”
That had to be victory enough.