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..........