On a daily basis I encounter this baffling irony where people see the wheelchair before they see me, the person, yet fail to ‘see’ the ‘needs’ of the wheelchair to access places and venues, hence I felt the urge to address this issue.
I long for the day when I don’t have to call four or five times to make sure a venue is accessible then find out once I am there that their idea of ‘accessible’ consists of three steps.
I long for the day when I can hail any taxi that is passing by and not ask ‘do you have a ramp?’ Assuming that they would stop of course once they see the wheelchair.
I dream of the day that I can go and visit my friends at their houses rather than meet outside or at my home, just because not many homes are wheelchair friendly.
I wish a day would come where I can spontaneously go to any cafe, restaurant, theatre, gallery etc without worrying whether there will be access, whether the lift is working and if the place is spacious enough.
I dream of the day when I can see musicals and plays at any theatre regardless if it is an old theatre or not.
I wonder if the day will come when I can go out with my friends who are wheelchair users and not worry that there are only two allocated spaces for wheelchairs, or that ‘health and safety rule’ forbids more than three wheelchairs in a venue.
I dream of the day that I can travel on an airplane with my wheelchair on board.
I long for the day when transport means transporting you even if you are a wheelchair user.
I wonder what would happen if all the doors opened automatically and were wide enough to fit wheelchairs through, without me waiting for someone to open it, just as lifts were big enough to fit my wheelchair.
I wish the day will come when tables and counters are not so high that people can’t see me, unless I shout.
I long for the day when I drive on the pavement without fearing or fretting that there is a drop down slope at the other end and have to turn all the way back.
I long for the day when cars don’t park at the drop down slope of a pavement, which means I have no option but drive on the streets
I dream of a day when people don’t stare as I drive my wheelchair down the high street.
I dream of a day when wheelchair access doesn’t mean coming in through a dark alleyway and travelling through the venue’s hidden storage rooms before finally arriving at the guests’ quarters.
I long for the day when I can go to restaurants and enter through the main door and not have to go through the kitchen back door.
I long for the day when all shops are step free and have lifts that do actually work.
I dream of the day when wheelchair access becomes a law that is enforced and practised.
I wonder if the day will come when people and venues fully understand what ‘wheelchair access’ entails.
*The blog was first published on Careless on 5th May