Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Work and Stuff OR Why People Insist on Pushing: a rather long-overdue update

I started this in Word and attached it to an e-mail for copying into the blog later. This is because not only is my new workplace’s computer use policy 'no personal internet use between 8 and 6', but they also *block* everything from livejournal to gmail between those times. Cruel isn't the word. I remember my first teaching job, when I was the only person in the English department who understood computers enough to know what the word 'internet' meant. How things have moved on. Gripe moan whinge, etc.

On Monday I finished day three of New Job. I was in on Thursday for the ubiquitous staff training day, then I did Friday and yesterday, so the 'off' day today was very much appreciated. I’m only supposed to do 18 hours a week, but of course I can already see myself regularly doing three full days (at least). The job title involves something rather vague about learning, and I’m still slightly mystified as to what it actually involves, but it seems to be somewhere between a literacy teacher and one-to-one learning support. This should be quite good. Yesterday I was staffing four highly irritating sessions of literacy and numeracy testing, which mostly involved thirty students at once shouting "Miss! My computer won’t work!" Loudly and repeatedly. For an hour at a time. Ah, education, how I’ve missed you.

Everything else is stress stress stress, from the joy of waiting for wheelchair services to the joy of waiting to see if the Council are actually going to force us to take them to court (I'm almost hoping they do, as it would be immensely interesting and might involve financial compensation. Although I'd prefer to be able to access my own home. Obviously). It's all getting there, though. Today we went off to collect my new, if temporary, lightweight wheelchair. It's self-propelling, as it's mainly for indoor use at work, but I tried it out on the high street today. I don't know if my hands will ever 'do' self-propelling, mostly thanks to very-bendy fingers that just don't work properly, but using it at work might 'train' them to do the right thing. It will certainly be more use than Marvin. (Sorry, Marvin. You're great at open-air festivals and going up hills, but you're not made for small doors. It's not that I don't love you, it's just that we want different things. In particular, your habit of losing footplates in the middle of the street is just annoying.)

And talking of the new wheelchair, how's this for ridiculous? I'm crossing the road this afternoon - a little more slowly than I would in Marvin, but not struggling too much - when a well-meaning bloke says "Do you want help?" Then, in response to my clear "No thank you, I'm fine," he grabs hold of my handles and starts pushing me. Again I ask him to stop, and he ignores me. Finally I bark "OI! DON'T DO THAT!" and then lecture him about how, unless specifically asked, he should not be offering help to disabled people who are getting along fine on their own, because it's patronising and insulting. He rushes off, embarassed. Why does this keep happening to me?? It's particularly funny when I'm in my powerchair, which clearly pushes itself, and am still getting offered 'help'. I must look intrinsically helpless. (Admittedly, not long after this I did ask The Girl to come and give me a push. That's different. I know her, I rang her to ask, and even she doesn't grab me and shove me into roads without making sure I actually want a push. Although I'm sure she occasionally feels like doing that.)

Side-note: Shall I name the new wheelchair? I may only have her for a couple of weeks. It would be nice to be friendly, though. Suggestions welcome. Hope everyone's having a good week! Enjoy being useful members of society, economically or otherwise.


Anonymous said...

I think you should name it. Is it a he or a she? Could it be a Davey or Mister Steve? Is there anything you could do with the product code/name or manufacturer? Or is this thinking about it all too seriously?

Naomi J. said...

Jen: Heh. For a chair I'll only be using for two weeks, that may be too deep! :) It's a she, and she's a bit slow and quite an effort (although still an improvement on poor clunky old Marvin).

Crystal said...

I say "yes" to the name!

(very enjoyable entry, btw. :) )

Anonymous said...

You should definitely name your new wheelchair. Something exotic maybe, like Enrique.

Anonymous said...

This chair-pushing must be an epidemic or something. Did you see Dave Hingsburger's recent blog post in which he describes a similar encounter? At http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2007/08/chairman.html

wecando.wordpress.com (Blog on Disabilities and Development)
reunifygally.wordpress.com (Blogging the ADA Restoration Act, Jerry's telethon, and other topics.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, name it! What's Hebrew for a female wheelchair? (I agree with you btw... all the letters do look the same) I'm back now blogging, as you may gather :-)

Anonymous said...

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