>Someone said to me yesterday that they thought our town was pretty good for a wheelchair user. I suppose it is, I’ve not thought of it like that for a while.
And then they mentioned another town about 8 or maybe 10 miles away saying they “wouldn’t want to go there in a wheelchair.”
To which I said “yeah but you’re not in a wheelchair”. I find comments like that to be somewhat annoying.
I have a good friend whose parents live in that town, when she is in this country I visit her at their house, I’ve been loads although not into the town itself for some years. I can’t say I remember it being particularly terrible in/for my chair.
I tried to explain that it doesn’t come down to whether it’s easy or it’s difficult. The choice and what it comes down to, ultimately, is whether or not I want to do something. Because what the choice really is is do I do something which may not be ideal in terms of access or disability issues (and which potentially may not be as accessible as advertised in some cases) or do I decide to give it a miss and not take part.
To me, ease rarely comes into it. Or “not wanting to do something in a wheelchair”. Because the other point I tried to make was that being in a wheelchair is and always will be all I ever know. And I have parents who taught me not to let it stop me as far as possible.
Examples I used in this conversation include another local ish town. The last time I went there I thought it was a nightmare for my chair. But that was the day of a dear friend’s funeral and we were killing time. The combination of the emotions of the day, a new place, not wanting to go far from the church etc probably wasn’t a good one. If we went back and I went round the town more I may have different thoughts on the place. Or I might not.
Oxford was another example. When we go to the theatre I go in my manual chair and the old city streets were a bit irritating. Usually I go in my powerchair it handles the potholes and not quite level paving stones etc much better. I said to mum afterwards that if someone said to me “you can go to Oxford and Reading but only use the powerchair for one of them and have to use the manual for the other” I’d always use the power in Oxford and the manual in Reading.
Really I think “I don’t want to go here in a wheelchair” would ever come into consideration when it came down to deciding which wheelchair to take or if the choice was between going to X or Y place and there was nothing else that had a major influence on the decision.
But almost always the decision is if I WANT to do something, am I going to enjoy it, can I afford it etc. Obviously there are times when access will stop me or like Sunday when I’ll get there and it won’t be what I expected. But that doesn’t usually bother me because I can be pretty creative ;o)