Fracture Free Friday
How do you address the inaccessibility of places?
Many of my friends don’t have apartments that are accessible, and many places in the city that I live in are also not wheelchair-friendly. However this doesn’t mean I allow that to stop me from participating in events, parties, and other activities.. There are three general categories of questions that I ask myself before taking ‘the plunge’ into an inaccessible location: First: Assessing the Carrier. Second:Infrastructure & Environment. Lastly: The Event Itself.
Assessing the Carrier: The qualifications are fairly basic, surprisingly. The bottom line is if YOU are comfortable carrying me, then I will be comfortable being carried by you. If you are nervous and uncertain, I will probably also lose confidence and get freaked out by your own self-doubts.
YOU should not feel bad if you don’t think you will be able to carry me; I promise I won’t hate you forever (or at all), and I definitely will not think any different of you. I understand that it’s not something everyone feels like they ‘innately’ can do or are comfortable doing. Seriously, I don’t mind. I promise.
Infrastructure & Environment: Here I mean that I usually quickly assess the actual infrastructure of what I will be going up/down. These are a few questions that run through my head while I am checking things out – Are the stairs crazy steep? Are they rickety? Is it more than 2 or 3 flights up? Are there landings? Is it a well-lit area? Will there be children running up and down at the same time? Can I see myself dying here? (That question is only semi-serious).
Event Itself: In other words, what will we be doing? Is it a crazy game of laser tag? Will it be necessary that I have access to my wheelchair or some other form of mobility? Will we be watching movies? Will we be eating and drinking? Drinking games? Crazy dance parties? Whatever it is, I need to know what we’ll be doing for my own comfort levels. If I need access to my wheelchair then I will plan to bring my fold-able wheelchair. If we will be eating/drinking I will need to know about access to the bathroom. If we will be drinking, will the stairs be okay for a somewhat tipsy person to be carrying me? Or maybe I can just crash on the couch for the night?
The above categories and questions are only my own personal ‘guidelines’ of what I consider before I get myself involved – I’m sure there are many other questions you may consider in your own mind!