Being disabled means that I can need help doing things that able bodied people can do with no issue. Some of these things require specific accommodations, and with other things, I rely on the kindness of other people.
Friday night I went to a concert with my sister and our friend. I had emailed the venue earlier that week, telling them that I require seating. I know from previous concerts that there is no disabled viewing area. When we got to the venue, one of the staff helped us out. They got us to a pretty good spot, and they got chairs for me and also my friend since she’s having some issues right now, my sister got to stand with us. That went without a hitch, it went easier than I expected. The venue is very inaccessible in general and I had no idea if they could/were willing to accommodate me.
The people situation is what made things difficult. I don’t know where comradery at concerts went, but, I miss it. My friend and I had to pee and that ended up being an adventure. There are no accessible bathrooms at the place we were at, and we had to go either upstairs or downstairs to get to a bathroom. We chose downstairs since it was closer and has less stairs, but it still wasn’t close enough. I always joke that I’m going to hit people with my cane if they don’t move out of my way, and, well, I finally did it. I tried lightly tapping people’s feet if they didn’t move when I yelled excuse me a couple times. At one point, I flat out smushed a foot because the guy was clearly ignoring me. I was becomig an angry cripple. An angry cripple that needed to pee.
Then there was Captain Jerkface. We’ll call him CJ for short. The way the venue is situated is that there are tiers, kind of how bleachers are. There’s 8 or so tiers until the pit. We were on the top tier, sitting in chairs. A few bands in, a super tall guy went and stood on the tier in front of us. Not a problem, the band we really wanted to see wasn’t playing yet. But, during the set change before the band came on, my sister tried asking CJ if he could either move over or move down one. He had PLENTY of room to do either. Now, the first time she tried getting his attention, “sir, sir, the one wearing the grey sweatshirt, can you please move over?!”, he CLEARLY ignored her. So, she tried again, he still ignored her. A girl standing next to us went and got his attention. He turned around, my sister asked him to move over, nothing. Still nothing. Still nothing. Still nothing. So, my sister tries again. Nothing. Then, “HEY ASSHOLE! THESE DISABLED WOMEN ARE SITTING HERE BECAUSE THERE’S NO ACCESSIBLE SEATING! PLEASE MOVE OVER! NO? I CAN GET A HELL OF A LOT LOUDER!”. My sister, ladies and gentlemen, was blessed with the ability to yell louder than anyone else. Now she has his attention. And of course it was because he was looking like the bad guy. Time for him to turn the tables. So CJ decides to tell my sister to “calm down”, “have patience”, and he “has disabled family members”. I don’t care who you are, having disabled family members does not mean you know what its like to be disabled. He finally moves over, all is good there.
Then, it was time to leave. We waited a good 15 minutes for the place to clear out before we started making our way out ourselves. My friend got out first, I was behind her, until I was cut off by some dude. I thought he’d at least hold the door open for me. Nope. The door almost shut in my face. If it wasn’t for my sister’s quick reflexes, my face would be pretty busted up right now.
It just bums me out, the lack of kindness and courtsey people have now. The night could have gone so differently, but, it went the way it did. When it comes to help and accommodations, I try to ask for as little as possible. But even that is like asking for too much.
It makes me think though. That night, it was all women helped me out. It was men I had issues with. I know not all men act like assholes, but I know the night would have gone differently had my brother in law been there.
I’m lucky though. My sister has become my biggest ally and advocate. She’s not afraid to help me out, no matter what that might entail.