With the weekend behind us now, I have to say that I have a whole new respect for people who are permanently disabled. You would think that, in the new millenium, things would be easier for them, that they would have more options, that people would be more sensitized to their needs.
I'm sure that there were improvements since the dawn of time. Of course there were. And it's probably better still than in the 80s or whatever. But it's still not simple.
There were a number of folks who just would not stop when my husband was trying to wheel me around. And Jeff was doing a great job of analyzing when it would bother the flow of people the least. There were people who ran faster when they noticed that I was about to go by so that they could cut in front of me, given that my mobility was reduced.
There were some VERY nice folks, though. Some who moved to the side to make sure that I could see or who would stop dead in their tracks to let me go first.
Indy's sidewalks are definitely not wheelchair friendly. It was like driving off road... and a few times where I was almost "chairtapulted", as Jeff called it. And most sidewalks had a weird slant that made me feel as if I was about to fall off the chair. I understand now why a lot of people in powered wheelchairs travel on the street. It's much easier that way! It might be less safe, though. :s
The convention center was not exactly well thought-of for disabled people. So, there was one event that we wanted to see that was at the Embassy Suites. We figure out that we either need to go through the Hyatt or the Circle Center Mall. So we go to the elevators but those were the wrong elevators. They got us on this tiny landing that then leads to the skywalk to the Mariott. Then we figure out where the other set of elevators were that take you to the second floor of the convention center. We make our way to the skywalk to the Hyatt and Circle Center Mall. From our analysis of the maps, it seemed like the way through the mall was going to be faster. We start to go there and then notice that, at that point, there are only escalators to go to the mall. We backtrack because we had seen some elevators but they only get us to the parking lot... there is no entrance to the mall nearby. Damn! We go back down and go through the Hyatt. Again, the elevators are far away and fhen a guy told us that we needed to go out of the hotel and across the street to go to the Embassy Suites. We go out of the Hyatt and, lo and behold, we see the Embassy Suites... all that we see is a ramp for cars (clearly stating NO PEDESTRIANS) and then stairs. I'm sure that there was another entrance somewhere but we were already 10 minutes late so we gave up. :( So, if you are disabled and needed to attend events at the nearby conference rooms, you had to leave waaaaaaaaaay in advance. We left like 30 minutes before the event.
We gave up on that conference (and all events thereafter) and headed to Champs. There, it was hard to get in the mall. The ramp was on the other side. But Champs itself was well equipped. I had to go to the restrooms and they were well built for a disabled person.
Oh, and, talking about restrooms... don't get me started on the bee-yotches who use the disabled stall when they only want a roomier restroom. That happened A LOT over the weekend but the convention center was well-built for that at least with 2 big stalls and 2 medium sized stalls per restrooms area. So it wasn't too bad. But, at work yesterday, I had to go 3 times and all 3 times there was a freakin' woman in the disabled stall. The first time, I waited because I heard that the woman was about done with her business (she had flushed). But the other 2 times, I had to go real bad and the women didn't give any indication that they were anywhere near done. I was so pissed off (pun not intended because that would be a gross pun). I had to go in the normal sized stalls, which are tiny, and it's a total bitch trying to turn yourself around in such tiny of a space. It's okay without any crutches but I'm really lucky at this point that I can put some weight on my left foot, otherwise, it would have been near impossible. What's up with using the roomier stall? Like you deserve it? Normally, I only use the disabled stall when there are no other stalls available. Grrrrrrrrrrr! I think that, today, I will get to the restrooms and, if the disabled stall is occupied, I will let out a big sigh and say, "I guess that I will use a normal stall. Bleh."
And MY disability is only termporary and my discomfort only temporary. Imagine a lifetime of this!