For this year's Blogging Against Disablism Day (roundups posted at Diary of a Goldfish as they occur), I'm doing a meme that jadelennox did recently: Five Accessibility Issues -- "Write down the first five accessibility issues you have as you go about your normal day, and your solutions, if any. The micro level stuff that you get around with duct tape and cussedness, I mean. The practical, every day stuff you don’t really think about anymore." I relate to that description pretty deeply except for not thinking about them anymore. Duct tape and cussedness notwithstanding, these trip me up too often not to be thinking about them anymore.
Primary correctable accessibility issues in my day
- I wish there were more foreshortened carts at the grocery store. The big ones are prohibitively heavy, and recently I've had to stand there waiting for a light one to come back because they're all in use.
- Speaking of standing up waiting for a cart -- I wish there were a bench or chair in the grocery store, for when I'm waiting for a light cart, or for when I have a cart and I'm mid-shop and my feet and back are burning. There's a bench downstairs/outside, and there are booths upstairs for patrons eating, but both of those are outside the registers; if I'm caught in terrible pain inside the store, I'm stuck standing up until I can check out.
- In my building's laundry room, I need people to take their laundry out of the dryer soon after it's done rather than leaving it there for hours or days. What may be an annoyance to others is materially harmful to me. If I have to unload someone else's clothing in order to use the machine, that's a whole lot of extra arm and shoulder work smack in the middle of a task already full of arm and shoulder work. It's three steps: unload their clothing into the cart; unload their clothing from the cart onto the top of a washing machine (we have no table or other surface); and then, if I feel polite or fearful, loading their whole load back into a dryer after I use the dryer.
- This one is cognitive. I might be breaking the meme's rules, but it's important to me: when we're inside a conversation, and I try to draw a parameter of the conversation because I'm getting lost, let me. That might sound obvious but it isn't. Sometimes a section of conversation is clearly tangential and also clearly (to me) beyond my scope. Say it's physics, or it's math, or it's a historical date that isn't critical to the point. I would love a way to (non-rudely) be able to convey that I can't understand that bit, "can we go back to the main thread?" With people who understand me well, this works, and even better, I can ask them whether I need to know that bit or not, and they say "you don't need to know that part," and we peacefully finish the main conversation. But most people see me not understanding and start to explain more -- as if I can learn science right then, as if telling me MORE will help my fog. This uses up so many mental spoons, I can't even explain it.
- This fifth one might seems social, but to me it's cognitive, and it's a fairly big spoon suck: allow me the option to say "fine" to social how are yous without taking it as a grand pronouncement of improved health. Most people have that option -- the option to say "fine" without having other people read into it -- we don't assume that a conversational "fine" means "I have fine health on a generalized standard." But I find that as a chronically sick person, I am not allowed that option. I am expected to answer truthfully about my exact state of health. Sometimes I want to do that, but I want the choice -- I want the privacy option, or I might be too sick just then to really answer, or too busy. What happens on an almost daily basis is that I say "fine" because it's the wrong relationship or just the wrong moment for a long/real answer, but the person gets visibly excited and says "Oh, I'm so glad you're doing better! I'm so happy for you!" Knowing this pitfall in advance, I use up extra spoons deciding how to answer this tiny ubiquitous social question, this question that is rhetorical for other people but not for me; and when I say fine and the other person gets excited, I use up more spoons interacting with their misguided excitement and deciding whether to correct them.
So those are my five for the day. Three physical; two cognitive, and whether or not it makes sense to you, these two are not about fussiness or anything emotional, but are rather about the cognitive spoons that are, for me, in such short supply.
Please forgive typos or lack of clarity (though feel free to ask questions).