Friday, July 6, 2007

From Where I Sit

I've been in my wheelchair for 20 yrs, during that time I have certainly gotten used to the minor and major inconveniences of sitting all of the time. I take things for granted. By this I mean that I take for granted things I cannot do. I take for granted that when I'm in a crowd of people, I will not be able to see ahead of the crowd. My vision is limited to the back pockets, legs, purses, and yes...butts ahead of me. I take for granted that most of the handicapped spots will be filled at Wal-Mart, not by others using wheelchairs and lift-vans but by people who are walking who may or may not be deserving of the handicapped placard hanging on their visor.

But I could go on and on about all of the disadvantages of being in a wheelchair. That's not really my purpose today. I would like to show you what I see on a typical day at an art show. Because it's summer, we are going to lots of art festivals, as well as participating as artists in the shows. The going as a patron can get pretty rough. I know walking people see me as rude and pushy, but truthfully folks I really have to be in order to see anything at all. But as the twenty years have passed, I find myself accepting more and more, sometimes to the point of simply not even going to these shows. It's often too much for me to have to constantly struggle just to see in the booths, damn, it's hard just to get in the booths. This leaves me emotionally spent and angry, not a good way to spend my time.

In the coming days I'll post some video shot from my chair, this might give you an idea of what I see.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sicko needs YOU!

I'm Sicko

Yep, that's right I have so many diagnoses' I can't even remember them all. But this isn't about me, it's about the 42 million of you out there without healthcare. I'm fortunate to have retired from a state job with Ohio and to have the best healthcare in the world MEDICARE.

Michael Moore's movie starts this weekend, please take time out to see this important movie by a true American Patriot. He's gotten great reviews from people in all political parties, in all walks of life. Remember the woman who died on the floor of the ER in CA? what about the man with spinal cord injury who was dumped on the street in CA earlier this year? Our healthcare system is in serious need of renovations.
By the way, Mr. Moore wants to hear from you

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Buzz Buzz

There's so much buzzing around in my head that I want to express in this blog. It's hard for me to keep my focus and decipher what it is I'm thinking and feeling, into coherent words.
For now I'll stay on course and talk about the weekend at Comfest. I took the camera along to document my experience from the wheelchair. Unfortunately the really juicy stuff didn't get taped, I guess I thought it was rolling but it wasn't.
Comfest had what sounded like a really interesting exhibit which documented the history of the festival, from it's roots in 1972, as a student event on the campus of Ohio State University, to the present consumer-driven market place with a progressive feel. The exhibit was in the shelter house at Goodale Park, in the middle of the festival grounds.
I've been to the shelter house a number of times and so I knew it would be accessible, however, I didn't realize that the stage connected to the shelter house gazebo would encroach upon the wheelchair access area.
By now I've become so used to such oversight and thoughtlessness that I pretty much take it in stride, I even expect it I suppose. That's what happens I guess when you encounter so much disappointment and discrimination, you eventually stop believing that you deserve more. Your edges become smooth and soft, like a rock in a creek constantly being washed over.
It took a moment for me to realize that I had an opportunity to document my experience with the camera, and alas all was lost to my incompetence with the camera.
Anyway, I grabbed the nearest hippie and asked about the accessible entrance to the exhibit, to his credit, he immediately found help and solved my problem. The solution was that I literally climb a hill with my chair up into the building. To be exact he asked "can you get that thing up here"? hehehe.
I prefer to think of my little Jazzy power chair as an extension of myself, not a thing. Anyway...I was able to climb the hill with "my thing" and see the exhibit.
Having been in a manual chair for 17yrs, I know the shortcomings, fortunately I use a power chair now and am able to do much more outside in grass than I was ever able to do with my manual. I was pretty upset that the solution was to climb a hill. My comrades in manual chairs would find it impossible to negotiate that hill. Here's what would have happened to me had I been in a manual chair: I would have sized up the hill in relation to my desire to see the exhibit, perhaps let off a string of obscenities in the direction of the hippie and decided to forgo the exhibit.
Here's what I would have missed: being pushed up said hill, over bumps that nearly knock me out of my chair, if not jar my spine and butt into spasms for the rest of the day. I hate being pushed.
I love my little mid-wheel drive suburban assault chair. It goes anywhere I want. Except up steps and into the intimate world of other people's homes (to be continued in another post).