KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.If you read what I posted last month, you might remember I started a list of things disability has taught me. My friends liked it and I still haven't come up with any over-arching insight, so... here are some more. (Link to first diary.)
34. Though no party is exactly perfect on disability rights (too many pols think Social Security is the beginning and end of the conversation) I think People with Disabilities have better friends with the Democrats.
33. In a pinch, you can get the oil out of your hair for a day or so with cornstarch.
32. I feel like I'm cribbing from my facebook friend Mike Ervin by writing this, but if there's any doubt that there is an able-bodied psyche, check out all the feature stories about crips "walking" down the wedding aisle or to get their diplomas. That's for you, not for us. This is also why I really thought "Simple Jack" from Tropic Thunder was pretty funny, even though the true irony got lost behind the use of ableist slurs. For me, however, the real insult is that studios make films like "Simple Jack" all the time, and they win awards, and able-bodied acquaintances get really moved by watching them, and sniffle that they "had no idea," and stuff.
32a. If a piece of entertainment gives you the urge to go up to someone in a "protected class" and tell them "I had no idea,", resist, because you still don't.
31. Can we all agree that the "Wheelchair as racecar" trope has been thoroughly exhausted now? I know small talk is hard...I don't love it myself. And I know that wheelchairs are surprising when you're not expecting one, and you're trying to take that surprise and make it...money, or something (see, I can be dated too) by asking how fast it goes, whether I have a license for it, or whether you can rent one when your feet hurt. It would probably be on the lame side of cute if half a million other people (this one's mostly dudes) hadn't got there ahead of you over the course of my life. George Clooney couldn't impress me with that now -- if you don't know what to say, say "Hi, I'm your neighbor John. Nice shirt." If you must go there, please don't stand there and wait for me to be doubled over by the wave of invention that caused you to pluck that out of the air in that half-second when my chair crosses your retina. As much as you hate having to come up with a thought that isn't "OMGWTFCHAIR!!", that's about how much I hate pretending to be tickled by the same joke for thirty years.
30. Possibly related: Everything I know in my feminist friends' discussion of catcalls comes from movies and TV. Sometimes it makes me feel free, sometimes just ugly or invisible.
29. Sometimes I wonder what I could do if I weren't fighting all the time (I have been wrangling about my attendant services for a month and it's exhausting.)
28. I'm seldom satisfied by disability related entertainment, but I watch a lot anyway.
Sometimes the stuff I hate provides greater entertainment value.
27. The fact that I've met deadline twice while soiling myself, if I were a male alcoholic writer of the same age, would make me a Bukowski-style badass. But from a crip woman who drinks fifteen times a year, it's just sad and pathetic. (although I have read enough Bukowski that I look for chances to humblebrag about it.)
26. It took me forever to realize I like to phonebank because the people can't see me. It's my little sip of progressive "normalcy", and that's why I don't even mind when calls go wrong. Being an annoying hippie is more fun than being an annoying cripple.
25. In all seriousness, the one bit of advice I'd give to young crips starting out is not to be as future-focused as I was as a young person. Now I feel like I saved everything up for a future that's not going to arrive. Enjoy your present. Take some chances.