NB: I wrote this on the train on Saturday, then found that Blogger doesn't work on mobile devices. Typical. It's really out-of-date now, but I will do a further update soon. Not immediately, as I am exhausted from a *really* complicated weekend...!
Ha. So my aim of posting nearly-daily has, um, not happened. To be fair, I lost my computer for a week due to a software problem. (It has now been returned to me relatively unscathed, thanks be to God and all Her angels. We all know what life as a disabled person without a computer is like. I don't wish to be reminded further.) I am currently attempting to post from my PDA - beautiful thing that it is, even though it turns itself off at inopportune moments and forgets to tell me about missed calls for hours - although this is going to be tricky bcause Blogger doesn't like mobile devices much. So here I am, trying to post from the train. My mother is ill and I am off to Dorset/Hampshire to look after her for half the weekend. (Don't point put the irony. I know.)
Things I have learnt over the past couple of weeks:
- You can shout about the Disability Equality Duty all you like, but if a public body chooses to break the DDA, you can't actually do much about it. Well, OK, you can get your long-suffering girlfriend, who is much better at being assertive than you, to ring and pretend to be you and demand reasonable adjustments, but it will be a massive effort. In the end, the company in question - the DVLA, who at first wouldn't let me answer their medical questionnaire in a typed format - got their information in brown and blue ink, because my printer cartridge had run out. That'll show 'em.
- Disabled people are the new mothers-in-law. It seems we are the last minority group it's still considered acceptable to make jokes about. I encountered twenty-six crip jokes at the 'Edinburgh and Beyond' stand-up preview show on Thursday night. Which is really rather a lot in a two-hour show. And made me wonder exactly why it's suddenly more acceptable than ever before for crip jokes to be made by non-crips, when white people wouldn't make jokes about black people, and even gay jokes are almost outlawed these days. Hmm. I had complex and meaningful thoughts about this, but I left them over on the Ouch messageboard. So I forget.
- Despite a) being very political, b) having been disabled most of my life (arguably all of it) and c) having done bits of disability rights campaigning since sometime a bit before forever, it seems I still have some massive hangups about physical impairment and mobility aids. Am in the middle of discussing it with Lovely CBT Woman (I can't bring myself to call her a therapist - it's just too American). I'm wondering whether part of the reason my doctors react so negatively to my wheelchair use is because I give out some kind of negative response to it myself, that they're picking up on. And I'm trying to work out how to deal with this - and with doctors generally - and with the whole area of having recently become visibly disabled. Politically speaking, it shouldn't bother me. Personally and honestly speaking, it does. That's not something I should be pretending about, just because the social model says my impairment 'shouldn't' be the focus of my life and philosophy (although actually that's an interpretation of the social model, possibly a wrong one). Playing 'I'm fine with this' when I'm not, always, is only going to make me crazy(er).
- London, while not the most accessible city in the world, is a shedload of fun if you like people-watching. All you need to do is go to Waterloo station and hang out. You'll see everyone from the gentry going to Ascot - you can spot them from entire platforms away, and they look like something straight out of the 1930s* - to adult identical twins dressed exactly the same, right down to shoes and backpacks. Seriously. Fun.
So, on those exciting and thought-provoking and otherwise truly inspired points, I leave you. Mainly because we've reached The Countryside, and shortly I won't have enough signal to post this even if Blogger does sort itself out and work out who I am. So. See you soon, the people.
*"A Doctor Who episode waiting to happen," said The Girl.