Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Geeks and Disabled

Well it wasn’t as dire a weekend as it could’ve been.

There was only one point when I really had to work hard to keep my mouth shut.  That was for Kate Mulgrew’s talk.  (she was great by the way – much deeper that Star Trek, is a big supporter of fundraising for research into Alzheimers Disease which her mother suffers from, and she was really frustrated and was quick to put down the real nerdy geeks who asked stupid questions.)

There was a woman in one of those three-wheeled electric buggys, who parked herself at the front.  Sideways, creating a blocked view for as many people as possible.  Nobody said anything, because we all thought she was disabled.

Until the disco at night, when she miraculously left her buggy at the back of the room, strolled forward to the dance floor without a hint of even a limp, and promptly began to dance.

Her behaviour disgusts me.  I have no problem with genuinely disabled people parking where they like – and usually, they are very considerate and careful to not block the views of others.  But people who take the p*ss like this woman did really gets me riled.

I have many disabled friends, and they would have been outraged that she had used whatever her disability is (if she has one) to give her advantage in such a manner.

It’s back to the grindstone this week.  I have today off, on overtime tomorrow, normal shift Friday, and I’m also visiting EOC – Emergency Operations Centre (control room, formerly known as CAC – Central Ambulance Control) to listen to Mark Myers take some calls.


Anonymous Mark Myers said...

Sounds like her "disability" was a case of the severe lazies..

3:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair I had a friend who was recovering from post-viral syndrome which caused her a great deal of joint pain. With meds she was able to get the pain under control for 2-3 hours out of four, longer if she was able to 'preserve' her energy. She went to a convention and hired a electric buggy like that for 3 days so that she could always have somewhere to sit and so she could spread her available energy further.

Ok I don't think my friend did dance in the evenings, but none of us can say for sure that this woman didn't have her reasons. Some disabilities are completely invisible to outsiders and people who have them get extremely good at masking any pain they may be in. I know people who will dance for a night and spend the next week suffering for it, something they might consider worthwhile for a night of something they love.

The parking of her buggy so it blocked everyone's view is rude regardless of (dis)ability and one of the convention organisers should have coordinated with her to ensure a compromise to give her and everyone else a reasonable view.
I was on an organising team for a 5-7 day convention which saw 375 people, 200 of whom stayed in 'our' accommodation. We had one guy turn up with a service dog without any warning (he wasn't blind so it was a bit unexpected) despite me spending weeks negotiating his needs. The dog wasn't a problem, but I had to spend a good hour mid-convention chasing up the people he was sharing a flat with to ensure that no one was allergic/phobic of dogs. Fortunately no one was allergic and the venue staff were fine - they needed to know it wasn't just a 'pet' cos it didn't look any different to a pet.

8:20 am  
Anonymous Owen said...

To back up what anonymous said, people with chronic fatigue or ME need to conserve their energy but may decide that a once in a blue moon bit of enjoyment is worth the suffering afterwards they'll pay for it with. You need to understand the trade-offs people with limited resources make. That doesn't excuse thoughtlessness in blocking other people's view.

10:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for somebody in a careing proffesion you have a very uncareing cynical attitude.

7:01 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Cynical, more than likely, but I am far from uncaring.

She probably does have a disability of some form, and had she not used her disability so blatantly earlier in the day to get her a front row seat and block the view of others, then I would not have batted an eyelid. It was the total lack of consideration that she showed.

I have friends who suffer from Spina Bifida, and ME, to name a couple, and I've spoken to both of them to gauge their thoughts - and each of them have expressed the same as me.

What more can I say? I'm sorry if I've offended anybody, but this blog is MY thoughts and views, and I won't apologise for having them.

6:26 pm  

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