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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Sunday, July 22, 2007


The weather over here is overpowering. With temperatures around 40C, I’m sometimes left without energy to lift myself off my bed in the mornings. And that’s bad when it’s during a week, as I need to wake up early (that’s at 6am!)... However, although I expected the summer routine to be slow, I still got to visit places during work hours doing Disability Equality Training. These are basically talks aimed at providing non-disabled people with accurate info about the disabling barriers we encounter on a daily basis and, more importantly,that we have rights that need to be respected without feeling as if you're doing us a favour. Mmmmm...

In fact, from the feedback I sometimes receive, I come to think that my life seems quite different than it actually is. Or rather that people think my impairment gives me the power to look into a parallel reality to the one they’re living in. In this parallel world, I become greater than myself, almost a warrior fighting my ‘sorry’ state and obviously akin to a compassionate god. The downside, of course, is that here I am not really human. I don’t need to enter buildings, or to use the toilet – for instance. And before I forget, I cannot be a mortal man either. And I never seem to age, or get ugly…

Uh, not old or get ugly? I have tested this over and over again. I got greeted last Friday before a talk and a woman my age remarked – “Hey good looking, how may I help you?” The reason I am more convinced that I do not age is that this has happened many times before. And what’s remarkable is that it has happened last morning as well. I still need to have conclusive evidence but it seems that I don’t seem to age or get ugly. I’m not willing to share my secret with anyone, because in truth I think you’ve got to have an impairment or use a wheelchair apparently to have this special gift. There …

The second strange thing I’ve noticed recently is that when I’m eating outside (which is happening often as we go eating out every week in summer), the table next to ours seems to notice I’m a wheelchair user (or simply a wheelchair) and hey presto… they start talking to amongst each other about disabled people they’ve met. Because this has happened only two times this year, I cannot say whether I’m influencing people’s thoughts with my mysterious power of influence or persuasion. Or perhaps not…

The parallel reality that other people may believe I inhabit does not exist. And as far as I’m concerned, I do make people talk about disability but that’s not because of any peculiar force within me. At least I hope not. As for my good looks, well, what can I say, having complete strangers (including doctors, nurses, the janitor, the younger girl, etc.) saying it in the same way and with similar tones is suspicious, don't you think? In truth, for most instances this has happened, it is a remark aimed at ‘consoling’ me, presumably because of my ‘impairment’. Other than the fact it’s insincere, it is also an insult to me as an individual.

So anyone who meets me in the lift next time, please don’t pat my head and call me ‘good looking’. Or even teach me how to manoeuvre my wheelchair. Just keep your strange ideas to yourself. I’m not about to beg either. No way! On the other hand, if you mean it... well, don't hesitate - I like a compliment once in a while. But, and and I can't emphasize this enough: