Monday, 19 April 2010

Monday's Wheel Issues

I don't normally write about anything that happens at work. It's a bit of a taboo. There's far too much scope for offending the wrong people unintentionally, which would be disastrous if they happen to be more important than me. Which most of them are.


Late this afternoon I was asked by a student to check whether we had received her attendance sheet for a placement she had been on. I went through the relevant file and found nothing, roping two of my eager-to-leave colleagues (It was almost 4.30pm) into the search. They couldn't find it, not that is until one of them went back to the original file and located the offending document AT THE FRONT OF THE FILE!

Now, everyone makes mistakes, but this is not what you need as a wheelchair user. People think you are a spasmo to begin with, so there is no future in making such elementary errors. The combination of a wheelchair and staggering stupidity (albeit temporary at the end of a long and quite stressful day) only serves to intensify the humiliation. I have set the Disability Rights movement back decades and can only apologise to any of you out there who might be among our number.

Unless you are thick in which case you deserve all you get.

Able-bodied people can be just as thick. Yesterday a friend of mine (wheelchair user, but they are not all, I promise you), phoned to ask if I was alright. He had heard that someone using a wheelchair had been involved in an accident near to my local pub. There were police and an ambulance in attendance, and the victim had clearly suffered significant injury.

'Nah, wasn't me mate, I stayed in on Friday', I told my friend, to which he replied;

'Oh good. Tell you what though, I got told it was me!'

I nearly dropped the phone laughing. For some we wheelchair users all roll into one. I have lost count of the number of times I have been mistaken for another wheelchair user (this friend Phil, and another friend Paul being just two examples). I look nothing like either from the seat cushion upwards. Yet neither of these beat being mistaken for Malcolm, who uses an electric wheelchair! I look nothing like Malcolm from the fucking wheels up!

Come on Britain. You're not trying..............


While we're on a theme, I have an older story for you. No less embarrassing, and sadly no less true.

I was on a night out with a group of friends in Liverpool some years ago. It was one of the wettest, shittiest nights weather-wise in all human history. I was crossing the street close to Lime Street Station (I love it there) when a man approached me with a big friendly smile;

"Alright mate.........." he began as he approached me, adding;

"I've got a brother just like you.............."

I gave him a look of puzzlement, carefully considered my options and said;

"What, you mean he is piss wet through?"

He did not continue the conversation..........


Kerrie said...

I am crying with laughter (and also relief at finding out you weren't the wheelchair user in question that "had a bit of a to do" at the pub near you). Ste, I love your sense of humour (yes I'm a little bit high on painkillers, so forgive my honesty), you truly are the most awesome-ist person I used to know, and now chat with sporadically on facebook, I am never disappointed by your blog posts, they truly are the correct balance of dry to wet wit and truth.... can't forget the dose of truth in there.

I myself, not being a consistent user of the wheelchair (therefore sometimes people just don't know who the heck I am) have had moments of doubt at the intelligence of folk, my mum for example, often waves at people in wheelchairs that she doesn't know simply because they have the same wheel-trims as people she does know?

Oh and there's the ever helpful moments whilst out together when she points out all the incredibly short people we see, because "I must know them", what with us coming from the same cabbage patch an all!

Continue with the blog posts, I really needed that!

Little Sue said...

Hahaha, I love them phrases...
Do you know ???? They are in a wheelchair too !!
Reply "Of course I do, do you know Kevin, you must do he is as thick as treacle..."

I have a mate like you!
Reply "Small? Female? Sarcastic?"

My daughter/son is in a wheelchair too!
Reply "Aaaw that's nice!" or "Cool"

Have you thought about getting one of those power chairs?
(I'm guessing they are hinting I'm not pushing quick enough?)
Reply "Have you thought about pushing a rocket up your butt?"

And not forgetting....
I know what it's like I broke my leg once and was in a chair for 6 weeks!!
Reply "Wow 6 weeks, I'd have never guessed you look so normal"

Obviously the replies are what I'd like to say but I'm too polite. Maybe one day I will.....

Kerrie said...

I guy once followed me around the library in town, I eventually made eye contact just to initiate the "men who stare at goats" threat, you know the "I can kill you with my brain glare? anyway, he took this as an opening to say "hi, how are you doing?" okaaaay creepy old guy is stalking me, I decide that the two books I already have in my hands are enough, I mean they aren't the biggest reads but 'The Prince's Chambermaid' and
'Virgin on Her Wedding Night' will just HAVE to do on this occasion.

So I make my way to the checkout desk, and creepy guy follows, he starts talk to me "so did you get home okay the other night?" whoaaaa hold on there buster, this is too much, so I looked him straight in the face and I don't know whether he saw confusion or apprehension, but he certainly saw I wasn't the droid... I mean girl he was looking for, phew, case of mistaken short person... I went back for more trashy romance, he left somewhat embarrassed and at some speed.