Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday in the office; no thinks it was the Fourth of July

Saturday work meetings suck.

I am basing this on the one Saturday work meeting I have been to. It was this morning and it came close to featuring everything that makes me sad about my disability. And it was a work meeting on a Saturday!

I should have been prepared for trouble right from the get-go. I called my ride service about 9:05 a.m. and asked for an ETA. "The driver says about 5 minutes," the dispatcher said. When the driver showed up about 25 minutes and several calls later, he apologized and said he got lost. OK, except he had a GPS (which would be in capitals even if it wasn't an acronym). How do you get lost when a computer is giving you directions?

We finally got there and the main entrance, the only one the para-transit bus can really use, was closed. So was the "Handicap entrance," which is not accessible for the tall para-transit bus. I got the driver to let me out in a driveway and wheeled to the building telling my dog that "this is fucking crazy." Oh, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The meeting was in the lovely and welcoming stadium-seating-style auditorium. Lovely and welcoming if you can walk, I mean. Wheelchair users can park themselves in the main aisle unless your chair can climb stairs. There isn't even a cutout where you can unobtrusively park a chair. There is a table behind the first row of the aisle down the stairs. It has a plug for your computer and an ethernet plug. It also has swiveling chairs bolted to the floor at nice intervals to keep wheelchairs out.

One of the first things we were told was where the nearest bathrooms are. I considered raising my hand to add that the nearest accessible bathrooms are on the third floor, but I realized I am the only one who cares about that.

Then they promoted one of my friends. He is a good guy and much deserves it. He works like I wish I could. He puts in many many hours and much is asked of him. I have to leave work at basically the same time or I have to plan to stay late. I can't just stay till the work is done. I am not asked to do a lot of extra things. Plus, my friend is like 10 years younger than I am.

Because the company was making everyone come in on a Saturday, we were met with a nice little breakfast spread on the way in. Of course, someone who uses two hands to propel himself and has to sit in the aisle and has to ride an elevator to use a bathroom probably isn't going to want to eat. Probably. So even when he feels lightheaded from hunger and thirst and each of his bosses offers to get him something, he probably will refuse.

I actually wasn't hating the idea of a Saturday work meeting because I am not a huge weekend fan. Weekends are often lonely. I mostly sleep, and I interact mostly with my family. I was looking forward to talking to some of my friends. But other than those two bosses and greetings when I came and went, I didn't hardly talk to anyone.

I don't know if this is my fault or others' or maybe God's. I like blaming God, but it might be difficult in this case. I want to blame others because my motion is limited. I'd see people walking around and talking at the break, but no one stopped to talk to me but my bosses. David, one of my bosses, realized something was wrong and asked if I was OK. I said I just don't like getting up early on Saturday. What was I supposed to say: I AM LONELY; NO ONE THINKS TO OR WANTS TO TALK TO ME!

I could have wheeled up to a conversation on the main aisle -- there were some -- but I am not the right size to mingle. I wheel up but half the time people don't see me. At least I hope they don't see me. Maybe they are ignoring me. No, I know it is a notice thing.

I want to write a memoir and title it "Yes, your butt does look fat from down here." It really is a different level -- wheelchair height.

So I wait for my friends to stop by and they don't. I know they don't realize how they break my heart.

And I am terrified that telling this will prompt my mom to don her black business suit and go protest my workplace's inaccessibility as she often threatens.


Anonymous said...

Mom doesn't have a black business suit, but I sure do. I would worry more about me going up there than her. There is a story here. How do you build a brand new building and forget about this important things. You are loved more than you realize. You work twice as hard as anyone there because just showing up there requires a ridiuclous amount of effort.

Anonymous said...

Mom has a totally bitchin' black suit, so you better watch out. As Jim likes to say occasionally, lets make some law.

Matt said...

Thanks. I know she does. And I know my family loves me, but am I greedy to want more? Say Sarah Vowell, who I have a crush on just from reading Assassination Vacation.

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