Sometimes I just need to expect cooperation.

There’s no time to ask for it.

I have to trust that people will see a situation and adapt.

Disabled people are good at adapting, living with disability means a lifetime of adapting, it’s a skill, an important skill. But, I find, sometimes that those without disabilities have a really tough time with it.

I was rolling, backwards, across College Street. It was near noon, I had to go backwards because of the streetcar tracks. The big wheels go over first the small wheels follow happily along. My chair can not do it in the reverse.

So, I go backwards.

Now, I would think that people would understand there is a reason that I’m going backwards, on a busy intersection. I would think that they would get that I wouldn’t do it the hard way, looking over my shoulder while steering, if I could do it the easy way, looking forward. Maybe even one or two would get that what they thought was the easy ways, was in fact, maybe not.

I expected the flow of pedestrians would simply have flowed around me, non-disabled people being able to step sideways after all. And they did, for the most part. But also, for the most part, not happy about it. All I wanted was to cross the street. That’s all. I didn’t want a running commentary about my selfishness.

Then when the street was crossed I need to get up the curb cut, which is now full of people. I have to ask, several times, for people to let me pass. My ass is sitting in my chair on a busy street because I can’t get people to move. Polite asking turns louder and more assertive. I am now, I am reliably informed by those in attendance, an ‘asshole’ one even called me entitled. Shit! Entitled to use a curb cut to get to the sidewalk, how low do you have to be down the social ladder if THAT’S entitled?

Would it have been easier to just have Joe pull be backwards?

Yes.

And no.

In the moment it would have been easier, but in the long run, it would make me feel that I couldn’t go out or cross a street without ‘supervision’ or ‘assistance.’ He did walk along side me and give me hints as to whether to go ‘passenger’ or ‘driver’. I don’t know right and left, but I do know sides of a car. He could have gone east or west and I’d have been fine, but he’s not great with that kind of positioning.

But I made it across.

I made it up and down the cut curbs.

The physical barrier.

I’ve adapted.

But, I have to use calming strategies to keep myself at peace.

Why did the disabled person cross the street? Just to piss you off.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email