>Militant Miss Emma

>My mum and I went shopping on Wednesday to get me some stuff for my trip. We had an extremely successful trip and didn’t spend anything like as much as I thought we might. So I got: a pair of boots, a waterproof warm jacket, two fleeces, a bum bag, a cord to keep my glasses on, some warm socks, some waterproof trousers and some cargo pants. I also got some scrapbooking stuff (loads of it) but obviously that wasn’t for my trip!

We also had several disability rights/disability awareness/downright throwing a strop about the way the disabled are treated moments!

First I got to the station (late as usual) and I couldn’t get into the station because a taxi driver had gone into the shop and left his taxi blocking the only dropped curb! Mum was already in the stations and luckily spotted me so went and got one of the security guys in the station but he was no help. Then the taxi driver came back and just went “Sorry my love” in a really off hand way. I tried to ask him not to park there again but he wasn’t listening to me. I intend to write to the taxi firm as it’s not the first time that’s happened and also to send a copy to the manager of the station to see if they can put a bollard there or somehing.

Then we went into Blacks to look at getting me some boots – we’d already been to Millets and got me some stuff but no boots. From the outside it looks like a pretty big relatively new shop. I learnt from the shop assistant that it was only opened two years ago and it is pretty big. So we were annoyed when the answer to our asking if they had a lift was no. Mum went “and how are we supposed to access the good we want then?”

Got to give the girl working there her due, she was not at all phased by that. She asked what it was we wanted and confirmed that they were upstairs offering to go bring some down for us. So she called another member of staff down to watch the shop and after asking me lots of questions about size, use, colour, material, general preferences and price went to see what she could find. She even seemed to understand about my CP related preferences and the pair she found suited them (might have just been luck though) – she only brought one pair down and i loved them.

I did think about getting her to bring me several other pairs down just to check I had the best but didn’t. Part of me now wishes I had because what if? But my biggest what if about that situation is that if I had gone upstairs I might have spotted a pair that weren’t along the lines of what I had told her but which were suitable. Blah. I shouldn’t tie myself in knots over this, I have great boots and Blacks too will be getting a letter about their access issues.

The people who own the shop my mum works in also own another branch in Swindon. So we popped into say hello. I’ve met both of the ladies who work there before but only briefly. We talked to them for a little while and then headed out.

A few hours later we stopped for a drink and I was ready to get moving again before mum was so I went off by myself to do a few places like republic/dorothy perkins/h&m – places that weren’t for my trip but I just wanted to go to. Mum bumped into one of the ladies from the shop again. Who commented that she “didn’t think she’d met that daughter before.” Mum said she was sure she had and I’d said I’d met both of them before.

She say’s “no the daughter I met was in a wheelchair and had long black hair.”

“yeah, that’s Em she dyes her hair all the time.”

“But you have two daughters”

“Yeah but it must have been Em if you met my daughter in a wheelchair”

“But you have two daughters in wheelchairs.”

“No… one daughter in a wheelchair and one not.” (notice my poor brother got no mention)

“Oh [other lady] told me both your daughters were in wheelchairs and I thought that was right… I didn’t recognise her”

I am deciding to assume that it’s my short pink streaked hair that turned me into a karma chameleon as far as she’s concerned and not that it’s my weight! And also on writing that story out I am noticing that whilst I laughed and laughed when I heard it it’s not really blog worthy because it doesn’t seem funny in writing. I guess it helps if you know the other person. Not deleting it tho… can’t be bothered.

And you’ve really gotta feel sorry for the guy working in Yatess when we went for lunch. First off they kept us waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r for our food and we moaned at him. Then I decided to take advantage of their disabled toilet. It was disgusting. I didn’t take a close look because once I caught a glimpse of the colour of the toilet I was out of there. I told Mum and then went to the bar to tell them and ask them to clean it.

There was one person at the end of the bar I was at serving and one right down the other end. So they guy closest to me served one man and then two more came up (seperately) they got there after me yet he served both of them first. The person at the other end of the bar also didn’t come to me although she did go to the person standing on my other side… I didn’t notice when they came. I was not a happy girlie and Mum had noticed and came up behind me. I had decided that if they served one more person who’d skipped in front of me when he was free again I would raise all kinds of holy heck but mum had had enough.

The guy we’d moaned at had just come onto the bar and when the otehr guy went to serve someone else who had skipped in front Mum went MENTAL. And so did I. We went off on one about my being ignored, and also about the state of the toilets. I was in a stress and said we’d leave and not be back but mum said No and made several points to them about how difficult disabled toilet finding can be and that it had been urgent we spoke to them yet were ignored.. We were miles from the nearest place that we knew had a public disabled loo (I suspect Revolution which was next door had one or the pub opposite but we couldn’t just go in and use the loo!). So not only did we insist that they cleaned the disabled toilet, mum told them they had to do it right now because they’d kept us waiting and I really did have to go to the loo and we would wait.

The guy we’d complained to about the food had not been at fault here (because he came on the bar just as we kicked off at them) but he had to deal with us complaining for a second time and then clean the loo. He was really nice about it and we did say to him that we recognised that he hadn’t been on the bar and wasn’t at fault. He also said that he understood because his brother is disabled. Has anyone else noticed that people often say “I understand because…” when you moan and you’re never convinced they really do they just think they do?

Anyway he cleaned it and came back to tell me and apologise again… I went to the loo and to be frank they need to rip the whole thing out and replace it because it was still pretty grim and if i hadn’t of known it had just been cleaned (and seen him go in there with cleaning stuff) I would have complained about the cleanliness. It was better tho.

Do you know what the best bit of all that was?

When I was ranting and raving at the guy I went:

“I am absolutely appalled. I know my wheelchair is invisible but I. Am. Not. I have PINK hair for christs sake!!!!”

Best disability awareness/disability rights line I have ever come out with in the whole history of the world if I do say so myself.

>But I am reminded of the line from the friends theme song

“Your mother warned you there’d be days like these… but she didn’t tell you when the world was rough you’d be down on your knees.”

For me that day was annoying and a little tough but not that bad… I hope my complaints and comments will help prevent someone else from having those problems. Because I’ve had days when issues like that have had me down on my knees so to speak and it sucks. it really, really does.

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