The line up was really long. People had frayed patience. All of us had had long travel days. We landed in Vancouver and like a 100 other people needed a rental car. We approached the desk and asked for a specific kind of car that they had in their fleet and the guy behind the counter, when he saw me in my wheelchair, told us we didn’t want that kind of car, it was too small. We said that we’d rented it before, it works perfectly and in fact because it worked so perfectly we had bought one.
He insisted that it wasn’t big enough and refused to even look for it because, of course, he is the expert on my needs. We pressed him a couple of times but he didn’t listen and gave us the keys to a car that was bigger and much better for us. We went to the car and I knew immediately that it was good to be a struggle. I need cars where there isn’t much of a lip at the door for getting in and out. This one had a big one. I got in. I got out. But it was work.
We were tired, we’d flown for 6 hours and now had a 5 hour drive ahead of us. So we just left in the car. Right from the outset I had to brace myself for getting out. That lip seemed to get taller and the foot well seemed to get deeper. And then it happened …
… I started to make different decision. Where normally I’d get out of the car and go in somewhere with Joe, I decided instead to stay in the car. I started every morning counting how many times in and how many times out. As my legs tire it gets harder each time to get out.
Because he wouldn’t listen.
Because we didn’t shout.
But let’s be honest, shouting may not have helped. It could have just made matters worse. The line up behind us was long and pressing in. Everyone wanted to be on their way.
We have this car for a few more days. I’m counting that down too.
Too often people with disabilities are victims of the expertise of others. Too often people who have no idea about disability claim to know more than disabled people do, and about their own disability.
No you don’t know what I need.
I’m the expert in me.
Yesterday I so badly didn’t want to get in or out that I rolled from the venue to the hotel. It’s a long push, but some of it is downhill, I can’t push there but I can push back.
Well, today is another day to tick off and soon we can get rid of this damn car and hope that at our next stop we get someone with ears working at the counter.