Below is a selection of comments from this article about a Carnival Cruise gone wrong:


Why Don't Those Damn Dirty Wheelchair People Just Shut Up and Stay Where They Belong? )

People like these make the veins in my head throb dangerously because chances are, they are the same opportunistic tools who would wave ADA compliance laws like a live hand grenade if they suddenly broke their legs a week before the cruise and decided to take it anyway. Then there would be no end of screaming about how they have a God-given right to the cruise they paid for, goddammit, and no corporate puppet was going to rob them of what they fucking paid for.

Yes, you smug assholes, there are some things disabled folks cannot do; we know this, and let me tell you, it hurts. But--and stay with me here--most of us don't expect the abled world to fix these problems for us if it is unreasonable to do so or would create a danger to others. I don't expect the Sherpas in Tibet to carve wheelchair trails up Everest just because I need to prove my handicapable cred, and I wouldn't expect a four-hundred-year-old hotel in Prague to be wheelchair accessible; the renovation cost would be onerous and, well, crippling to a business, and would likely never pay for itself, because Europe isn't exactly teeming with globe-trotting cripples. It wouldn't be fair to ask them to make extensive renovations on the off chance that a disabled traveler might turn up.

But here's the thing: Businesses are fully within their rights to admit they aren't equipped for my needs and refuse my patronage; it might not be legal, but as I said, I know reality and idealism seldom meet, and the seventy-year-old inn just might not be able to accept my wheelchair and my need for an accessible toilet. It's unfortunate, but it's also the truth. However, the second you assure me that you can, in fact, accommodate my needs after I have explained them to you, then you are obligated to meet those needs, and I don't care how hard it is for you. If you didn't think you could, then you should never have accepted my money and made promises you couldn't keep. Once you have my money, then I have the right to complain if and when you fail to provide the services I purchased, and it doesn't matter if I'm a talking head on four wheels.

Are there entitled asshats in wheelchairs? Oh, yes, and maybe some of them feel entitled by the wheels under their asses, but most disabled people are simply frustrated and angry about the dishonesty that so often permeates any effort to move through the world. So many businesses promise full accommodation and deliver the barest fraction of the sad minimum, and we don't realize it until we're sitting on the platform with our luggage on our laps and no choice but to either press on as best we can or give up the venture entirely. We're tired of being charged maximum price for minimum service and being shamed and belittled when we dare complain because we "should have known better" than to think we could travel the country or visit other countries like anyone else. We should have known better than to want more than the sad, cramped, isolated lives that government charity and the begrudging collective conscience of our betters allows us. It's heartbreaking and exhausting, and it sometimes makes us into the angry, bitter people so many so loftily chide.


Because I don't want this post to be nothing but a wallow in impotent fury, have some Christoph:

It's Gonna Be a Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day )

Yes, he looks maniacal, but he also looks so damn happy that it lifts my spirits to see him.

It also helps that I know he's a goddamn superhero with an awesome butler, trufax.
Why must Roomie be so useless in even a minor crisis? After a nasty thunderstorm, we came home and turned on the wall-mounted AC unit. Twenty minutes later, the unit began to make laborious thumping sounds, as though workmen were dumping bags of cement mix into the bed of a pickup truck. Roomie went outside to investigate. While he was outside, the AC abruptly turned off, and I looked up from my laptop, expecting to find that there had been a power outage, but everything was still on. The AC's fan then came on and began to blow air, but the compressor remained silent. Oh, dear.

"It's not working properly," I said when Roomie came back inside. He stared at it in bovine incomprehension for a long moment before turning it off and unplugging it.

And then, predictably, he went into poorly-suppressed, baby-rhino panic mode, lumbering to and fro throughout the house, muttering obscenities and running his fingers through his hair. Of course. Of course. That's all he ever does when faced with a challenge. I suggested we go to Walmart and buy a replacement, or at least get a few box fans so we wouldn't welter when we tried to sleep tonight.

"But I don't know how to mount one of these things, and besides, it's technically not our unit," he whined.

I pointed out that the red-necked angel across the street knows how to mount one, and that he would probably be happy to help in return for a case of beer.

"But he's not home."

No, but he was earlier, and his porch fan is on, which means he'll return shortly.

More whining and excuse-making. Fine. Then we should at least get a box fan to drive back the worst of the heat.

"But where would we put it?"

In the living room. We'll use the plug that used to house the AC unit.

More fucking excuses.

To be on the safe side and stem the rage-inducing tide of his simpering, I suggested that we test the socket with a small, expendable appliance to see if it works. After all, if the socket was borked, then there was no point in replacing the wall unit tonight. Roomie unplugged our cordless phone and plugs the base into the socket in question. The base functioned perfectly. So the AC unit was, indeed, the culprit.

"What do you think we should do?" he asked.

I reiterated for the third or fourth time that we should go to the Walmart and get a box fan or two until we can get to the Home Depot to price a replacement unit.

Did he follow this suggestion? No, he did not. Instead, he exercised his brilliant judgment(the same unimpeachable judgment that led him to suggest we walk from our Vegas hotel to the Thomas and Mack Center in the desert heat, no less)and called...my mother. My busybody, control-freak mother who is currently in Florida and thus will be no help whatsoever, but who will doubtless prove a massive hindrance.

GODFUCKINGDAMMIT, YOU SPINELESS JIZZBAG! Have you learned nothing from the last time you made this decision? You know, when your confessed spoiled laziness got us evicted from our apartment and you whined and hyperventilated and begged me to let you call my mother because packing our belongings and calling a cleaning service was beyond you. You begged me to abase myself before the woman whom I least want to owe anything, and I did because I couldn't stand to see you so wretched and pathetic and impotent. It took me over a year to throw off her domineering yoke and reassert myself by going to NY and Vegas, and now, you've dragged me right back into her sphere of influence BECAUSE YOU'RE TOO INDECISIVE AND HELPLESS TO TAKE ME TO BUY A NEW WALL UNIT.

Fuck life today.
The hand-wringing Rammstein apologists make me want to gnaw on my brain. Rammstein erred badly when they made vague promises about a U.S. tour before they were sure they could deliver on said promises(promises they've been making since Flake's illness in 2001 caused them to abort a planned U.S. tour, I might add). It doesn't make them evil assholes who ought to be stoned to death by a seething mob of rock-hurling justice, but it does make them look flaky and indifferent to their long-neglected U.S. fanbase.

Why, oh, why, does pointing this out this bring all the smug apologists to the yard with cries of, "You're being selfish and MEAN to Rammstein," or "OMG, if you want to see them so badly, then save up and fly to Europe/South America; if you can't then you must not want it badly enough. LOSER!"? Why is it that whenever a fan expresses disappointment or irritation that Rammstein's mouths have written checks they're unwilling to cash when push comes to shove, everybody rushes to the defense of poor, put-upon Rammstein? Won't somebody think of Rammstein?

I do think of Rammstein. Every day. I listen to their awesome music and hear the stories from fans lucky enough to see them, and I want to share in that experience. If that makes me an asshole, then fine. Stamp my Asshole Membership card. Wanting to see them live isn't being an asshole to poor, put-upon Rammstein. It's saying, "I love your music. I love it so much that I am willing to pay an obscene amount of money to see you play it. I will pay $40 for a t-shirt. My wallet, let me give you it."

Yes, how selfish and cruel of us, wanting to shower them with money.

If Rammstein knew it was prohibitively difficult to arrange U.S. shows because of restrictive fire statutes and exorbitant insurance rates, then they should have kept their traps closed on the subject of a U.S. tour until they had everything in order, or should have simply said, "It's too difficult to warrant the expense. We're sorry." Fans would have sulked, but likely not for very long. Instead, they've strung us along with vague noises and promises to come eventually.

As far as saving to see them goes, well, that's a rather privileged POV. The U.S. is not a compact nation. From Miami to New York is 2,000 miles. From NY to LA is 3,000. If you're unable to fly, whether because of phobias or medical restrictions, that's a long damn trek, and an expensive one if you factor in food, gas, and lodging. Not everyone can afford $1000 in gas and an equal amount for food and lodging, and even fewer can skive off work for a week. It's not just a matter of saving money and hopping a flight or getting into the car. It might be if this were still 1980 and tickets were $10 and gas was $.89 a gallon and you and your friends could crash five to a hotel room without some busybody getting their ass in a cramp.

Do I think Rammstein should play an eighty-date tour? No. But I don't think ten or twelve is unreasonable. If they can be assed to play NYC and LA, then they can play Dallas and Seattle and Miami and Atlanta and Boston and Vegas and Chicago. It won't cover everybody, of course, but it gives those fans who have scrimped and saved and done everything the righteous defenders of Rammstein's sullied honor say they should a chance to hand Rammstein wads of cash in exchange for a good time.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jul. 22nd, 2010 03:15 pm)
Sometimes it would be easier if I just never woke up. I'm tired of my parents running roughshod over me in the name of making my life better, of making decisions without my knowledge and expecting me to foot the bill. I was minding my own business, writing, when PC turned up doing doughnuts in the driveway in a three-wheeled scooter that the old man up the street was getting rid of. Apparently, it was now mine, because I could use it to get around, never mind that I already have a $4,000 paperweight for which I never asked. Oh, and they were going to be installing an electric lift on the back of the van, which would mean that I would no longer be able to open the back, but that's okay, because they were going to be ripping out one of the seats so I could still use my manual one the days it rained.

When was this going to happen? Oh, PC was just going to take the van to the mechanic and have it done in the next week or so. Who was going to be paying for it? Oh, I was, of course, but LOL, no worries, they're sure it won't be that much, and if it is, well, that's what the trust is for. You know, the trust that I was never, ever to touch, even for things I really needed, like dental work, because it was for the nebulous Later, when life really started to suck.

What about the $30 armrest pads I actually asked for because the padding on my manual armrests had worn off and I was scraping myself un the underlying bolts? Oh, who cares about that? You're getting this awesome scooter and a dune of unexpected bills. Isn't it great?

Oh, and my mother just thought she'd stop in tomorrow, because it's not like I've got anything better to do or might want to be alone, and I should be a little more grateful after all she's done for me.

I'm just- I fucking quit. I quit on the whole dirty rotten lot of it. I don't care if it makes me a loser or a whiner or pathetic. I'm tired of being overruled in my own life, tired of being a passenger in my own life while my mother sprays her control issues all over me because I can't get out of the way. I'm tired of being smothered and choked and treated as less than because I'm me, tired of being denied the most rudimentary courtesy she would extend to other human beings because I had the misfortune of shooting from between her idiot thighs. If this is my life, then maybe I don't want it anymore.
Ah, Beekay, always with the even-handed tone that one looks for and needs in a good mod. Look, I get that people on forums occasionally do stupid, ill-advised things, but must she always sound like she's being cornholed by a razor-toed wolverine every time she thwaps someone? Maybe my perception has been colored by earlier interactions, when she was sticking her fingers into her ears and screaming, "LALALA, not my problem" whenever posters complained about Onyx_Wolf running around the forum with her asshat on, but damn, does she come across as snide and condescending.

Dear Rammstein,

I love you, and I will buy your music until I am dead or until you retire, whichever comes first, but shut the fuck up. I'm beyond tired of listening to you piss and moan about how haaaaaaard it would be to arrange a U.S. tour, and why should you bother if you won't get ten thousand fans? If you don't want to get out of bed for fewer than ten thousand fans, that's your business. I think it's douchetastic, but I understand that there are financial and legal considerations. If it won't be profitable to come here, then why go to the expense?

But for God's sake, it's not the U.S. fanbase's fault that your market here is limited, and it isn't limited solely because American fans are language snobs and linguistic peons who can't speak another language but expect the world to speak English. It's limited because YOU DON'T GIVE TWO SHITS ABOUT IT AND TREAT IT LIKE A NUISANCE RATHER THAN A WELCOME PART OF YOUR LARGER FAN COLLECTIVE. You haven't so much as farted in our direction since 2001, yet you bitch that you wouldn't be able to draw the numbers you do in Europe. It's called quid pro quo. You stopped caring or even pretending to care, so all but the diehards left for more appreciative pastures. You know, like Metallica, who have cultivated and maintained their gargantuan fanbase for thirty years by making them feel like they matter. I would buy a Metallica collection of beer hall covers because Metallica has never, ever, ever made me feel like a pain in the ass. Oh, and isn't it funny, but Metallica hasn't toured Australia or Latin America or Asia in some years, and yet they've sold out New Zealand. You know why? Because they made the long-suffering fans feel important by modifying their monstrous tour so they could play for them, and they didn't make them feel like assholes for the inconvenience.

Stop shitting in our mouths and calling it more than we deserve, and maybe we'll line up for the tickets, you spoiled assholes.

I'm done now.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2010 04:40 pm)
One day, I will learn not to click on any link that has the word disabled in it.

It's not the article that fills me with a burning hatred for the human race, but the snide, smug comments from able folks. There's a condescending spitefulness to them that makes my heart hurt. Many of them fall into two camps: those who loftily blame us for our limitations and opine that we should have known this would happen when we decided to be all uppity and leave the house to interact with the better people, and those who resent the "freebies" our disability gets us. Those in Camp A point out that we had the options of making other arrangements for accomplishing our tasks, tasks which are surely menial and less important than their convenience. That those "other arrangements" might produce greater hardship or other obstacles for people struggling vainly against illness and and impediments that would break their privileged backs is of no import. Them's the breaks, suck it up, cripple. That's the cost of your worthless life. Don't have thirty bucks per bag to check your luggage? Too bad. It's your own fault for being broken and poor. Can't wrangle your checked bags off the luggage carousel? Sucks to be you. You're the idiot who keeps breathing.

Those in Camp B jump at the chance to label us whiny entitlement whores who work the system for all kinds of special "perks". You know, like that "free wheelchair ride to the gate." That's right, you blinkered yuppie fuckmook. When I was coming down the heavenly assembly line, I asked God to send me out with defective parts just so that one day, I could experience the awesome, life-altering joy of riding to the gate in the airport's Hannibal Lecter escort chair. Free. While you, you poor, downtrodden martyr, were cruelly forced to use your bothersome, healthy legs. The rank unfairness of it all.

And you know what? That free ride in the uncomfortable prison chair? Was totally worth it. Orgasmic. We've been holding out on you able folks; there's a garden gnome hidden beneath the seat, and he goes muff-diving as the underpaid skycap hoofs my lazy, entitled ass to the gate. Trufax. It's worth all the shame, scorn, ridicule, and embarrassment the world heaps upon my head every time I leave the house and reveal my weakness. Boy, I sure was clever, trading a life of mobility and promise and freedom for the chance to take a free ride in an airport transport chair.

I'm feeling generous today, so I'll tell you what. Why don't I take your pesky legs and endure the horrors of standing in line and being treated like a valuable member of society, and you can avail yourself of that free spin in the wheelchair.

I already have so much, after all, and I certainly wouldn't want to be an asshole with all my good fortune.
You know what, Unfunnybusiness? Fuck you. Seriously. Whether you like it or not, disabled people are one of the last groups it is acceptable to ridicule. Yes, other groups, like the LGBTQ community and the obese, are still mocked by mouth-breathing troglodytes, and as evinced by the torrent of astonishing fail pouring out of the UCSD debacle, racism is still thriving. I'm not saying that ableism is the last great bastion of assholery. What I am saying is that the response to it is wholly different than to any other form of discrimination.

Most people with a shred of decency raise a hue and cry whenever racism, sexism, or homophobia rear their ugly heads. The racists and homophobes are roundly castigated, and nobody dreams of telling the injured parties to suck it up and get over it. People the Internet and community over fall all over themselves to join the mob decrying the bigoted behavior.

But a funny thing happens when ableism comes to call. Oh, plenty of people rush to denounce the asshole du jour and to affirm that the disabled should be heard. But there are an alarming number of otherwise decent, level-headed people who shake their fingers at any disabled person who dares to complain about the hurt, anger and marginalization they feel. "Who says you got it worse than us gay folk?" they demand to know. "Why are you playing the biggest victim? You're not more oppressed than the rest of us, so STFU."

No. Fuck you.

I'm not more oppressed than the gay couple that can't marry or the people of color being persecuted at UCSD by vicious hatemongers, but I am less visible, because every time I open my mouth to speak, my voice is drowned out by the clamor of those desperate to point out how badly they've got it. I have fewer advocates than the gay community or the minority groups because no one wants to be like me. Unlike those communities, which have common histories and leaders who exhort them to be proud of who they are, I have a fragmented culture with no leadership, and those who would lead me have not so much as a name. They are simply "advocates for the disabled", a faceless gestalt of people who attract no notice and inspire none to action.

The struggle of gay people and people of color strikes a chord of empathy within many because it is a recognizable, universal, and human one. Mine inspires only an uneasy pity and niggling sense of guilt.

So, yes, I do think disabled folks have a rougher go of it than most of the other folks in Discrimination Steerage. All around me, I see people working together to assure equal rights for gay people and minorities, people fighting to see that they can stand up and be counted because they are no less worthy of human consideration than the WASPs next door. And yet, when I reach for that same hand, it isn't there. When I ask to vent my frustrations, I'm told they're wrong, that I'm interrogating my experiences from the wrong perspective.

Those same decent, fair-minded people who would work tirelessly for gay rights suddenly find a great deal of comfort in their keyboards when I point out that yeah, my life sucks and I could use a little help, a little mercy now. Don't I know? Other people have it just as rough as me, so shut up and roll to the end of the line. And if I don't like that attitude, then the problem lies with me.

The sad part is that the next time some able poster opines that the disabled are among the last groups it is acceptable to deride and humiliate, dozens of people will laud them for their persipicacity and open-minded, unflinching analysis of the truth.

But don't mind me. What do I know? I'm just bitter and disabled.
My poor writing computer had a seizure two days ago and demanded that I run a full surface scan with Scandisk, which would take six hours. I didn't want to yesterday because I had no desire to stare at an inert screen for that long. I didn't want to do it today, either, but I did because I figured I owed it to the old girl for her ten years of faithful service. Six hours and a scan later, and there are no bad sectors on the hard drive, waiting to kill her dead.

There was an afternoon I'll never get back.


Thomas Mundy is an opportunistic douchebag. It surprises me not at all that he's a limper of accident and not of birth because his sue-happy rampage reeks of a sense of entitlement left over from his privileged able-bodied days. Yes, ADA compliance is still abysmal nineteen years after the regulations went into effect, and yes, something needs to be done, but this is not it. His tactics serve only to line his pockets with settlement money and reinforce the cherished AB-held stereotype that all disabled folks are lazy, opportunistic, money-grubbing assholes who want the world to write them a check for their perpetual inconvenience. Mundy can cram his empty platitudes about all the good he's doing for the disabled community up his ass. Because of his fortuitous paralysis, he won't feel a thing.

I've occasionally been tempted to sue the ever-loving shit out of a store or facility, I confess, but only in instances where the inaccessibility posed a legitimate danger to my welfare. For instance, I've often been tempted to duct tape a city planner to a wheelchair and force him on a roll throughout the city until the numerous potholes and spine-shattering curb drops rattled the scales from his eyes and made him see the need for curb cuts on every crosswalk on both sides of the street. I'm convinced that after a few games of chicken across a four-lane highway and a few spinal fractures, the esteemed councilman would be a most ardent convert to my cause. I've also been tempted to sue the university into the ground for the danger in which it places me with its myriad construction projects.

I have never, however, thought of suing a business because its counters were half an inch too high or because the paper towel dispenser was out of reach. Lawsuits like that demonstrate not only profound greed, but a gross lack of imagination. Counters too high? Tell them you can't give them money until you can reach them. Need the counter to write on? Use a clipboard stowed in a backpack. Need a paper towel? Bring some wet wipes in a fanny pack. It sucks having to prove we're so damned clever and handicapable all the time, but frustration doesn't mean we have to be shiftless assholes incapable of being proactive and prepared. Suing a store for safety concerns or for gross assaults on basic human dignity(an utterly inaccessible bathroom) is an act of agency and self-advocacy that benefits everyone. Suing it because the counter is a half-inch too high is unabashed greed and petty assholery that hurts more than it helps, as evinced by the comments made by now-paranoid shopkeepers who are now convinced that every disabled customer is out to get theirs, a drooling crip Mossad bent on bringing walking civilization to its knees. Thanks a lot, Mundy.

That said, I have no sympathy for the store owner who says he cringes every time he sees a disabled customer enter the store because he fears a lawsuit. Shut up and serve me, asshole, and I'll give you no trouble. Treat me like crap because you think I might sue you for ADA non-compliance, and I'll be only too happy to sue you out of your shorts. For discrimination.

Gimps need an advocate, but this wasn't the kind I was hoping for.
Remember my grand plan to be responsible and properly maintain my limper equipment? Well, so much for that idea, because, as I discovered yesterday, the wheelchair tinkerer now requires a fucking prescription for even the most basic repairs. I can no longer just send him a list and request assorted services, like brake adjustment and spoke tightening and seatbelt installation and armrest pad replacement. No, now I must have a doctor determine that my chair does, in fact, need the requested work. Because I, with my simpleton's mind, am incapable of knowing that loose spokes are dangerous.

For fuck's sake.

Now, if I want to maintain my chair, I have to first pay out the ass for a doctor to tell me that my chair needs maintenance. And I can't go to just any old general practitioner; nay, I have to visit an orthopedic specialist, because, apparently, his degree imbues him with super sekrit ocular powers far above my meager ability to see the loose spokes, sagging sling, and leprous arm padding. This specialist charges three hundred dollars for a consultation, to boot. So, in order to get my chair fixed, I have to have a doctor tell me that I need to have my chair fixed. He will charge me a third of my income to tell me what I already know.

The best part is that in order to see this shaman, I would have to pay fifty dollars each way in cab fare because the bus doesn't travel to his office complex.

So, to recap:

Cab ride to doctor's office and back: $100

Doctor's fee: $300

My estimated share of maintenance costs: $200

Service fee for the home visit by the tinkerer: $75

Total cost before the inevitable unpleasant surprise: $675

I don't begrudge the service fee or maintenance costs because you have to pay for service, but I'm pissed beyond measure at this latest hurdle to my already fragile independence, and I've had it up to here with the paternalistic, there-there head-patting that permeates the medical establishment. I'm crippled, not retarded, and yes, Virginia, there is a difference, one any doctor worth his degree should understand. I might need a doctor's input when it comes to the mysterious, internal vagaries of my body, but I don't need a goddamned doctor to tell me my chair needs service. I sit in it every day, and I know damn well what it needs and when it needs it. I don't need permission. I need service.

So, the maintenance is on hold indefinitely. I'll be looking like a deranged underpass hobo a little longer, and when forced neglect becomes catastrophe, I can rest assured that some imbecile in the local emergency room will wag his finger and cluck, "You should've taken better care of your equipment, and this might not've happened."

I tried, asshole, but no one would give me permission.


In lighter news, I thoroughly enjoyed The Mentalist last night. It's utter pap, and the leaps Jane often makes still defy human reason, but the cast has fabulous chemistry. Rigsby is adorable, and I want to hug and squish him, and Van Pelt reminds me of Hermione Granger in her desire to impress and fit in with the rest of the team. Lisbon is growing on me. I'm still ambivalent about Jane. He's a grating, cocky narcissist who somehow pulls people into the orbit of his charismatic charm. He's a likeable douchebag who's wonderfully human in his flaws even if his strengths are so obviously manufactured for the world of television as to be rendered incredible in the real world. It's hard not to root for a guy tracking the killer of his wife and daughter, even if said guy is so full of himself that it's a wonder he doesn't leak from his own orifices. Hey, there's a House/Mentalist crossover, there is.

Red John Prediction )
I really should learn not to read anything on the Internet that treats on disability issues and isn't written by a limper. It never ends well, and I find myself frustrated to the point of tears and seriously questioning why I don't just bow to the inevitable social will and die decently.

Like this story on Unfunnybusiness about a disabled woman being barred from a UK supermarket for being "a health and safety" hazard. Why was she thusly labeled? Because she got stuck in the disabled lavatory and pressed the emergency bell to summon help. Apparently, that bell is just for decoration, and if I disabled person gets into trouble, well, they're on their own, and serves them right for having the nerve to venture forth without a warden "chaperone".

M&S eventually conceded that barring the woman from the store was "excessive", but still requested that a 58-year-old woman with Cerebral Palsy bring a "chaperone" next time.

Jesus fucking Christ. Does anyone, anyone grasp how demeaning and demoralizing that is? Your only "crime" is to have a body that sometimes betrays you, and for that, you're told you don't have the right to shop or eat without someone else holding the leash, because clearly, the possibility that you might need to call upon another person's common sense and human decency is too troubling. Best to set impossible strictures on an already limited life and hope they go away.

Most of the folks at Unfunnybusiness are sympathetic, but the apologists have begun to trickle in, wringing their hands and pointing out that most store employees aren't trained in personal care. They also point out that wiping someone's shit-stained ass exceeds the scope of reasonable accommodation.

As far as I can tell, this woman wasn't expecting anyone to wipe her ass. She was stuck on the toilet and needed help to get unstuck. Later commenters said her pants had fallen, and she couldn't pull them up. Helping someone pull up their pants is not the same as wiping their ass, and if you've been operating on that assumption, you're doing it wrong.

I've been in that situation. I've been in the bathroom, gripping a bar and trying to pull up loose pants one-handed. Your arms hurt from supporting most of your weight, and you're swaying like a drunk, praying you don't fall, because if you do, the paramedics are going to see your pasty ass and realize you go commando under your clothes. And one of the paramedics will be smoking hot. You're tugging on the pants, but they just keep falling, so finally, you fall back onto the toilet and sit there burning with shame, because it's such a simple goddamn act, a simple goddamn act thousands do every day. Toddlers do it every day. But despite all your book smarts, all the tests that proclaim you smarter than ninety percent of the people who pity you, you can't pull up your pants, and you're going to have to beg a stranger to help you.

It's humiliating, and you don't want to face the stares, so you try again and again. It hurts so bad, and you're crying in shame and pain. Shame because you're 23 and can't pull up your pants, and pain because urgency has made your muscles lock.

Finally, you pull them up just enough and flop into your chair, and you sit there panting and crying, with snot on your nose, furious at the world, but more furious at yourself for being so broken. Your hair is fucked up, you've got exertion tremors, and your face and arms are a blotchy red. You just want to hide, but you have to go back out there with your pants crooked because you didn't have time for aesthetics when you were trying to cover basic decency laws. So you go out their with your red face and your disheveled hair and your crooked pants, and you die inside because you know you look every bit the dangerous, crazy cripple bogey everyone fears.

Most people don't look at you. Of those that do, some look with pity; most look with disgust. What are you doing here, out among us? they ask, and after that horrible, unending fifteen minutes, you honestly don't know. You just want to disappear.

What the apologists are saying, whether they know it or not, is that that disabled woman must bear the extra humiliation of being chaperoned like a child on top of the humiliation she surely endured in that stall. Because her hope that a human being would offer help in an emergency is unreasonable accommodation.

Memo to ABs: I know you're not going to believe this, because it's a fact that all cripples are fetishists who like making people wipe our asses, but personal care of any kind is more embarrassing for us than it is or ever can be for the other person, no matter who that person is. In fact, it's worse if it's a friend, because friends are people whose respect and good opinion you cherish, and how can they respect you once they've seen your ass? If it's a stranger, you can console yourself with the hope that you'll never see them again, but if it's a friend, you'll never be able to look at them again without wondering what they must think of you now.

A stranger who helps me will experience five minutes of awkwardness and come away with an embarrassing story for cocktail parties. They'll be able to trumpet their goodness because they deigned to help the cripple.

I will live forever with those minutes I spent standing there with my pants around my ankles beneath the disgusted, disapproving gaze of a stranger and trading my shattered dignity for a chance to leave the bathroom.

But I brought it on myself because I dared to do what everyone else does and didn't get someone else's permission first.

I deserved it because of who I am.
USA Network can kiss my ass. I'm pissed that they've delayed the new season of Law and Order: CI, but I'm more pissed that they continued to run ads for the season at its original airdate for a week after the announcement. It's sloppy, and poor form, and really, while we're on the subject, I don't buy USA's feeble spin that the delay makes economic sense. Production costs are production cost no matter when they're incurred; are they expecting me to believe that Jeff Goldblum will work more cheaply after the holidays? Fuck you, assholes. I'm not that stupid.

I was extremely interested to see how Goldblum would perform in the shadow of Chris Noth, but now, I couldn't give less of a tinker's damn if you promised me a three-night, all-inclusive fuckathon with Don Flack for my efforts. I don't enjoy having the goalposts moved on me at the eleventh hour, and I refuse to forsake The Closer, which I adore(Provenza, OMG), for an untested and possibly disastrous new dynamic.

So, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, USA Network, and your useless penny-pinching, too.
I decided to post an entry before I put on my academic hipwaders and descended into the reeking bog of academia with a comparative essay on Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian myths of creation. Thing is, I can't find much to say. I've opined at length on the burgeoning CSI:NY D/L drama, and frankly, I don't have the strength to rebut the infuriating, ablist attitudes I encountered on Unfunnybusiness when I posted about the paraplegic woman being ejected from an Idaho fair for being too graphic and offensive to be seen in public.

Apparently, if you're disabled, it's you're responsibility to prove no malicious or offensive intent when appearing in public. After all, if people are feeling guilty about their healthy bodies, it's your calling to put them at ease by assuring them you want to be where you are and aren't, in fact, a breathing ficus being exploited by your awful caregiver, who probably gets their jollies by beating you and sodomizing you with a toothbrush before indulging in a bit of martyrdom and Munchausen's by proxy.

Their right, their moral obligation, to protect you from a possible or imagined abuse supersedes your right to autonomy as a disabled person. It's for their comfort your own good.

Don't believe me? Check out the responses by iwanttobeasleep and kerryblaze.

I stopped responding early on because I knew nothing I said would sway them from their privileged, ablist outlook, and I didn't relish the thought of spending the weekend crying in impotent rage and tilting at windmills on the Internet.

The only coherent thought I have left on the matter is this: People are stupid, uninterested, judgmental assholes who spend far too much time judging each other without having the facts. I include myself here because I know I've spoken harshly or glibly and hurt others with my opinionated snark. I also know I'll do it again and again because I'm not better than anyone else when it comes to thinking my opinions are the "right" ones.

People suck, and able-bodied people have no business telling disabled people how to live their lives to make them feel better. If they're so interested in "helping" me, then why is there never a line when I need help wiping my ass?


Lastly, a pimp for Et Tu, Part XI.
Fuck you, xfcanadian, you whinging bumclot. I'm so very sorry I let a spoiler drop in a thread labeled with a giant SPOILER warning. If you don't want to be spoiled, fucknut, then mayhap it would behoove you to avoid threads marked with SPOILER warnings. And really, given that every fansite, gossip blog, and D/L sekrit citadel has been fangasming about Lindsay's pregnancy for days, I don't see how you could have missed this noxious little wrinkle. Please to be fellating your delicate sensibilities in front of someone who cares. Ass onion.

And there you have Reason 341 for why I'm glad I'll never be a mod on TalkCSI. If I were, I'd have to pretend to give a weasel fart about the horrors of spoilers on a fan forum and other ruinous threats to the fantards' fragile fan bubbles.

Actually, I don't give two shits about Xfcanadian and her bruised fannish ego. I'm pissed at the bus company. A supervisor approached my Roomie as we were disembarking to tell him that the driver had complained about his "offensive odor."

Two years ago, another supervisor approached him about the same thing and ordered him to stop wearing sleeveless shirts. Two years ago, they were completely in the right because Roomie had a raw, nasty rash under his arms that made him smell like a decomposing yak. It was so rank at one point that a homeless guy told him to take a bath. However, with treatment and regular washing and applications of Speed Stick, the problem was solved. No one has complained since.

Until today, when the driver went on a muttering underbreath rampage about personal essences.

I've got news for you, fuckstick. It's 87 degrees outside, Roomie has walked several miles, and we've been waiting at a stop for an hour. He's 280 pounds. He's going to sweat. Furthermore, he didn't stink. My face is level with his armpits; I would be the first to know. He smelled like Speed Stick. You know, fucking deodorant. Additionally, there were three other sweaty people on that bus, one of whom was carrying a baby. It could have been them. Mayhap the diaper was loaded.

I find it incredibly rich that you call his odor offensive when the bus company routinely picks up people who smell like they've bathed in beer or slept in a cigarette-scented hyperbaric chamber for 34 years, people who have probably douched with a Marlboro Man applicator and enjoyed a malt enema.

If that weren't enough, the second driver bitched that my chair wasn't steady. Maybe it would've been if he had been assed to tighten the tie-downs properly instead of leaving the front two so slack that they dragged the floor. But that would require fucking effort and proper training, and who has time for that?

Goddammit, I just know that sooner or later, they're going to claim Roomie can't ride the bus anymore because he stinks or claim that I can't because my chair isn't "safe". If that happens, my ability to function will cease to exist, and I would be forcibly homebound.

I'm frustrated, frightened, and angry. I hate that the bus company can hold my life hostage because a driver might not like his deodorant. I'd get a lawyer and sue for discrimination if I knew where to turn. I'm so fucking sick of having to worry about everyone else while no one cares about me. I'm sick of being told to be responsible and then having the means to do so withheld in the name of other people's "comfort".

Mostly, I'm sick of trying. I just want to pull the covers over my head and pretend I'm someone else.
[livejournal.com profile] odogoddess sent me this, and I really wish she hadn't because things like this piss me off:

Handicapped People Are 'Too Graphic' to Be Seen in Public

Honestly, I'm of two minds about this. No disabled person should ever be told they're too "graphic" and "offensive" to be in public view, and they certainly should never be ejected from public grounds to protect the delicate sensibilities of simpering able-bodies who don't want to be confronted with the frailty of the human body. If Rose Harn wanted to be at that fair and at that MADD booth, then she had every right to stay there. If folks didn't want to see the ugly consequences of drunk driving, then they should've given the booth a pass. No one was making them gawk.

However, I understand the concerns that her husband might have been exploiting her for his and MADD's benefit. I certainly wouldn't want my grieving, angry spouse parading my mangled form into public view for a cause if I hadn't consented, and if Rose can't talk, then the question of whether or not she consented is valid. I suspect she did consent through her blinking and hand gestures, but since her family is the only group able to read those signals, we might never know if Rose wanted to be at that fair in that capacity.

A giant, heaping "Fuck you," to MADD, however, you sniveling, spineless gaggle of mealy-mouthed cowards. You were quite happy to exploit Rose's condition when the sight of her furthered your agenda and generated the right kind of shock and unease, but as soon as her appearance generated the barest whisper that you might be exploitative assholes, you disavowed her and implied that your former affiliation with her might've been a mistake.

Really? Associating with a victim of drunk driving was a mistake? I guess only photogenic victims deserve to be heard.

And don't you dare trot out the "in the interests of her safety" routine. If her appearance was so disturbing that you feared the need for the riot police(and WTF, Idaho, on that score; a guy who looks like that peddles newspapers in front of a local grocery store, and we haven't had a riot in the ten years he's been there. In fact, "W" is quite popular, and customers often chat with him on the way inside. Self-control, if you please), no one was going to touch her. Wouldn't want to sully themselves with those dreadful cripple cooties, you know.

For the record, I suspect the MADD shill was exaggerating fears of the riot squad. The local newspaper account mentions no unrest or threat of unrest whatsoever.

MADD will never admit that, rather than support one of their most vulnerable volunteers, they panicked and chose to engage in survival of the most profitable. Fuck the lot of them, and I hope the Hearns sue them into penury.


Now, on to a happier note, namely last night's CSI:NY.

CSI:NY 502-Page Turner--SPOILERS )

B
Today was a good day. No, Dr. Hot didn't pole-dance to the beat of "I'm Too Sexy"; he didn't even discuss Kronos the Titan as promised, but nevertheless, I enjoyed class.

What I do not enjoy are my fellow students. In fact, I often fantasize that my wheelchair is outfitted with spikes like the Evil Chariot of Evil in Ben Hur, the better to mow them down while they yammer obliviously into their cellphones and block the curb cuts in sorority slut Starbuck klatches. Unexpected and immediate pain has a way of grabbing even the densest dullard's attention.

I hate college students. They're rude, entitled idiots who treat the experience like an extension of high school. I would never dream of walking into a fifty-minute lecture at the twenty-minute mark and standing conspicuously in the aisle to gab loudly on my cellphone and look for a seat. If I'm more than five minutes late, I do not attend the lecture. Period. Moving into position in a classroom often takes a great deal of furniture rearrangement, and the teacher deserves more respect than that. So do the students responsible enough to be on time. If I miss something important, then them's the breaks for not being on time. It's a simple matter of action and consequence.

Yet day after day, students saunter into class twenty minutes late, cellphones clapped to their ears, and expect others to make room for them.

Fuck you running, you candy-assed nitwits. If you want a seat, be on time. Otherwise, sit on the floor by the rear door, but if you do that, be aware that you're preventing me from being able to exit quietly in the event of an urgent call from nature. I will nudge your books and laptops aside, and no, I really don't give a shit about your $1400 Macbook. You need to take notes? Well, golly gee, use a pen and a notebook, which cost $2.00 at the dollar store. Besides, your precious circuit board with the designer logo won't work any better if I piss on it because you won't move.

If I were a teacher, I'd lock the doors from the inside as soon as class started, and stragglers would be out of luck. They could bang on the doors until Till Lindemann got ugly, and I wouldn't care. Maybe that would teach the little fuckers that when the syllabus says class begins at 11:15, that isn't the time they should stroll from their dorm rooms on a cloud of body spray.

Or maybe I'd just get fired for "depriving them of their education."

If they really give a damn about their education, then maybe they should be assed to show up on time for a class they paid for and show the teacher respect by putting down the cellphone.

But there's no place for either that kind of logic or the notion of negative consequences for negative actions, and so, like Alice, I'll just lie back and dream of Wonderland.

Or maybe I'll just be a menstruating Pooh and bury my grumpiness in a pot of honey, a pot I'll be sure to leave on my head once I've finished.
Tags:
I'll post links to my eligible CSI:NY fic tomorrow so that anyone who wants to can nominate it for the [livejournal.com profile] csifanficwards 2008. Right now, I'm too exhausted with the effort of trying to explain the realities of this gimp's life to an outsider to care. Like I said in a previous entry, you cannot presume to tell any disabled person how they should feel unless you've been there, any more than a white person can tell a person of color how it is or a straight person could dictate the Whole Truth to a gay or transperson. It's presumptuous, officious, and aggravating as hell, and even two sorties into their able-centric world is enough to sap a Rolling Warrior of their will to fight. It's like felling a redwood with your teeth. Unless you're a beaver, it won't work.

I'm not angry that this person challenged me; debate is healthy. But I am tired and frustrated because I can't seem to articulate the source of my angst effectively. Each time I try, I'm met with an organized barrage of Google Fu.

I think the miscommunication stems from the fact that my opponent in the jousting match is operating with an entirely different experience set then I am. She's been a biped from birth, and as such, she can relate to the disabled experiences only as a secondary observer. She's never experienced the First(and maybe only) Universal Truth of Crippledom: The carer/limper relationship is inherently unequal. Forever. And ever. No amount of sensitivity training and government funding will change that. You could give every limper a carer and pay that carer a million dollars a year, and the inequality would remain.

Not because carers are evil, power-mad asswads, but because the able person will always assume a dominant role over the disabled person. The disabled person needs the able one; the reverse is seldom true. If the carer doesn't like the client, they can leave, but if the client is unhappy, they're faced with the daunting proposition of finding a second(or third or fourth) person on the face of the earth willing to wipe their ass or insert their tampons. Good luck with that. As a result, many disabled folks think long and hard before raising a stink, and most don't because they're afraid The Authorities will "step in" and force them into a group home, thereby stripping them of their scant independence.

When your whole life is lived in such deeply-rooted inequality, it is nigh impossible to function as an equal in society. How can you when your toileting schedule is determined by the availability and willingness of someone else to help you? And words will never describe the depth of that humiliation, even if it is your mother.

So, while it's wonderful that there exists the British Council for Disability(and it is, even if it does me no good as a Yank), it doesn't do squat to address the deeper issues of the psychological damage inflicted by a life as a lesser being. I'm thrilled that there are councils to help me get a job rolling pennies for the food bank and groups to keep my carer from drowning me in the tub in a fit of rage, but what I and many others need is a place where we can vent our frustration and get an answer that doesn't boil down to, "Well, what's wrong with you that you can't accept being crippled and all the indignity that entails?"

What I need is a Staples SMITE button that would put this nasty shoe on the abled foot for a week. Then we'd see how much they'd just have to accept.
Disability advocates embarrass me. There. I said it. I know they shouldn't; I have learned well the societal notions of helpless, bitter gratitude, but I am also not so dead that I don't wish ninety percent of them would spontaneously combust or dissolve into primeval goop.

I know their hearts are in the right place, but frankly, most able-bodied disability advocates repel me on a fundamental, atavistic level. Their eye-level presence in my waist-level world is jarring and often threatening, and to be blunt and likely ungrateful, I question their motives and sincerity. When I look at an able-bodied advocate, elbow-deep in political gladhanding and purporting to speak on my behalf, I seldom see their good intentions. Instead, I see earnest condescension and a desperate, selfish desire to "fix" me and my kind rather than address the uglier underlying social issues at work.

To be sure, this jaundiced assessment is not always fair. I'm sure that there are countless able disability advocates who truly want to speak for me, but too often, those who claim to speak for the disabled--doctors, parents, social workers, etc.--end up advocating on behalf of everyone else. My wishes, desires, and needs are sublimated by and for the convenience of everyone else. Support groups focus on helping caregivers "cope" with us, as though we were a terrible plague to be borne with saintly, Christian patience and not a collection of individuals with wills, ideas, and dreams of our own. By contrast, there are very few groups dedicated to helping us, those who "suffer" most from disability and its accompanying ignominy, confront and overcome the countless obstacles we face each day--the prejudice, overt and implicit, the simple ignorance, and the blunt, rage-inducing despair of a clogged toilet in the handicapped stall, a broken elevator, a curb, or the simple stark knowledge that while everyone else has a fighting chance for survival if a fire breaks out on the second floor of a building, my survival depends on whether or not the firemen find me before the smoke does. Because the elevators turn off when the fire alarm is triggered. For safety. And for me, there is no fire ramp, designed to send me plunging from the window to bumped and bruised safety below. There is only one way, and for those of us with wheels under our asses, that's no way at all when the alarms blare.

I am confronted by the possibility of my mortality every minute of every day, am keenly and unrelentingly aware of my precarious position on this mortal coil in a way the able are not. Sure, everyone has moments when they glimpse the ephemeral nature of life. Existential angst is a universal pang. Even the most slack-jawed dullard realizes that sometimes things and people go away and never come back. For most folks, though, that realization is fleeting, goosebumps or a shiver down the spine. Few worry every time they enter an elevator that it might be a fatal mistake.

Of course they don't. They don't have to.

Such fears are beyond the scope of abled understanding, and so, when I turn on the TV or log on to the Internet and see righteous crusaders protesting the use of the term "retard" in Tropic Thunder and couching that protest in the guise of "increasing awareness" or "making things better for the disabled community", I become squinty-eyed, suspicious, and angry.

Ironically, I'm not angry at the use of the term "retard". I'm angry at the so-called arbiters of the disabled voice who thought this cause was worthy of indignation, censure, and the expenditure of energy above all others. Rather than roar in mighty wrath at ineffective, indifferent health care, slim job opportunities, and even slimmer housing opportunities, they've chosen to wave signs and placards denouncing the use of a word so enmeshed in the American lexicon that its meaning has changed three times, from "to impede" to vicious slang for "mental retardation" to "wow, aren't you a fucking idiot?"

Go fuck yourselves, the smarmy, self-satisfied lot of you. You aren't doing the disabled community any favors; in fact, you're doing us a huge disservice by portraying us as shrill, hypersensitive fools with too much time on our hands. You aren't helping, and you certainly aren't enlightening anyone.

You want to know why? Because you can print all the brochures and produce all the educational filmstrips you want, and you could leave them all over the city like Chick tracts...

And it would make no difference. Unless it directly affects them, people won't care. And even if you could get them to read it, it wouldn't tell them a tenth of the truth, because unless you've been there, unless you've rolled into an elevator and wondered if you'd be coming back down, unless you've listened to your doctor and your mother decide what to do with your body even though you were above the age of medical consent, you can never know what it's like to be one of us.

Shut up. Stop talking. Start listening. The disabled community isn't angry because some boner-headed scriptwriter used "retard" in his script. We're angry that we can't find homes, jobs, or decent medical care, and we're angry that the care we can find is doled out by a miserly, ignorant public who derides us as freeloaders on the one hand and vigorously opposes programs to foster greater social inclusion and economic opportunity on the other. We're tired of being told we should be ashamed of our audacity to live, of being told we should do more for ourselves, and then being denied the chance to do just that by getting a job that doesn't involve rolling quarters while matrons from Easter Seals look benevolently on. We're tired of being denied a job because of the $2.72 it would cost a business to put a handrail in the bathroom. We're tired of being told we're too expensive to employ, too expensive to live, of being shamed when we accept the government check because there is nothing else but a guilty face and a closing door.

Frothing at Ben Stiller because he said "retard" won't change a goddamn thing. Even if you do-gooders manage to eradicate the word from the unwritten Miss Manners' Guide to Words You Can't Say in Public, there will be another. And another. If you got rid of all known pejoratives for the Waist-Level People, it wouldn't take long for new ones to be invented. You've changed the word, but you haven't changed the ugliness and ignorance that spawned it in the first place. Whether society calls me a "retard" or a "high-needs individual", it still considers me lesser. Less than valid. Invalid. Less than human. If it didn't, the U.N. wouldn't have felt a burning need to unveil a Disabled Bill of Rights in 2005. As though the Bill of Rights of the Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment that guaranteed(redundantly, goddammit)women more of the same were rendered null and void by dint of my disability.

So, take your protest and your placards and shove them up your asses. This protest has nothing to do with us disabled folks and everything to do with salving your guilty liberal consciences and getting yourself some face time until the next MDA telethon, when you'll drag us temporarily into public view to bilk tarnished pennies out of old people trying to get right with God before His chariot swings low and mows their selfish, old bones down.

I'm not interested in being your Jiminy Cricket or your educational tool or your absolution for the brother you don't talk about or the resentment you feel because your Better Homes and Garden life was upended by a gift that got a little dented on its way from Heaven.

That's your problem, not mine, and I never claimed to speak for you, so I've no interest in solving your problem.

In case you haven't noticed, I've got more than a few of my own.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (BirdyWTF)
( Jun. 7th, 2008 02:31 pm)
Yee! Things have improved dramatically since my last scribbling. No, I haven't unlocked the secret to cloning Eddie Cahill, right down to his sexy, sexy brains, nor have I bought that manse in Majorca, but life has gone on.

Oh, flist, those of you who get a dirtybadwrong tingle in your girl parts from my rants might have to proceed to the nearest bathroom stall and lock the door. I took the rare step of going out for pleasure twice in one week, and o, the nitwits and nabobs I did meet.

In Which I Talk About the Morons in my Neighborhood )

But the day was pleasant in spite of the unrelenting assault of full-frontal boobery. I ate twice, bought steak and ground beef for the next few days, and finally got my hands on a copy of The Verve Pipe's "The Freshman", which I've been wanting for ten years. I also bought a George Lopez stand-up DVD, a Rammstein CD, and Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things.

And when I dragged home at 8PM, WGN was showing WKRP in Cincinnati reruns. I had never watched this show before, but when July rolls around, I will buy the DVDs. I haven't laughed so hard at a TV show in ages. MADE of WIN.

So, yeah, it's been a good few days.
Every now and then, I get a wild hair up my ass and decide that I need to start interacting with people more often and stop being such a misanthropic recluse. Then I go out, realize what utter fucktards other people are, and promptly renew my commitment to never leave the house.

We went to the mall today, and while we were waiting for the homebound bus, a group of two women and five children joined the crowd. The women were laden with bags and happily ignoring the children, who were making merry bedlam. As I watched, one of the little girls, who is four, maybe, walked behind the bus stop and vomited explosively onto the pavement.

Neither adult noticed.

The little girl rejoined her playmates, and a few minutes later, one of the older children asked if Pukey Tot's lips have been on a Gatorade bottle.

"Yeah," one of the adults said casually. "She's sick."

What manner of moron takes a sick child to the mall and exposes other children and strangers to her noxious stomach virus? Further, what nimrod then decides it would be a good idea to put the hyperactive, nauseated child on a bus, a vehicle whose jerky motion inspires slalom gut in healthy riders? And why the fuck do so many self-involved assholes breed when they clearly have no interest in the resultant offspring? It's not fair to a little girl to be dragged to the mall when she's sick because Mommy just had to go on a Victoria's Secret spree, and she certainly shouldn't have been horking, unnoticed, behind a bus stop while Mommy chatted with her friend.

And I shouldn't have to worry about contracting a gut malaise because a mother didn't have the sense or the decency to keep her sick child home. If it weren't for the blatant classism, racism, and governmental abuse it would engender, I'd be a giddy proponent of a parenting license.

My desire for human contact has been duly assuaged, and so I retreat to my hermitage with copies of The Brotherhood S1 and The Muppet Show S3, never to emerge until academic duty compels me.
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