I’m not a half glass full girl, I’m also not a half glass empty… I’m a ‘what’s in the glass’ kinda girl, and that’s because I’m different. Differences are often met with scepticism, sometimes fear. Us different folk challenge the status quo and for some, that can rattle a few cages.
That being said, this little ditty is about how bloody fantastic life is when you use a wheelchair. Yes, you heard me right, sometimes, life gives you lemons and using a wheelchair, is one hell of a lemon. With the right pills and attitude, the lemon can taste like sweet lemonade. Admittedly, I’ve been watching YouTube clips of people who assume people like me have a ‘poor quality of life’, (sorry, are you disabled? No? then shut the F up, I say!). So I’m here to challenge that dominant discourse folks. Here’s my take on why using a wheelchair is all that and a bag of chips.
1. Half price baby!
Yes, that’s right, using a wheelchair evokes a strange feeling of pity in some and that translates to charity pity. After my accident, I fought this narrative by getting offended and often making out I was super wealthy, even though I may have been sleeping in my car and eating old noodles (true story). Now, a wiser Claire embraces that stupidity and milks it. If someone offers me a discount, I take it and squirrel away the savings that may mean the difference between a house wine and an espresso martini. Cheers folks!
2. I can take my dog to public places reserved for superior humans.
This is a real joy and advantage. If I am approached and questioned gingerly, I simply say, ‘oh, it’s a companion dog (true, she is my companion, just not officially). Using this approach has often meant my little compatriot and I can mooch our way into many secret locations.
3. House calls.
It’s true, I unashamedly use my status as a ‘tetraplegic’ to make life easy and this often means I get house calls. From doctors to wheelchair specialists, drop the ‘T’ word and boom, house call party time! This means I never have to get changed out of my PJ’s, can drink vodkas and limes and not have to worry about driving. Win win.
4. The ease of ‘fu**ing with peoples minds’.
This is a real joy and one I do feel grateful I have the power to inflict – the pity kitten look. When I do graze through the stares inflicted upon me as I cascade through able-bodied land, I’ll often fixate on a real doozy where you can nearly see tears clouding their eyes, and depending on my mood (I know, life is so liberating for us crips!) I’ll bust out my ‘zoolander’ look. If it’s leaking from a hot guy, I’ll use my ‘sexy crippy’ look which always gives my guts a good work-out from laughing inside. The transformation can be truly remarkable to see. They see me, crack their look of pity, only to met by my creepy ‘trying to be darkly sexy’ look which confuses them to the point where their facial muscles twitch in a paralysed state, unable to comprehend what they have just been subjected to… was she really giving me the ‘come to bed’ look? Ah, the power with one look! Of course, so as not to inflict a heart attack, from my older audiences, I’ll just smile sweetly, this confuses them too, after all, I use a wheelchair, aren’t I in a constant state of misery? No folks, not always, sometimes us crippy cats can be euphorically happy, especially as we are ENTITLED to a larger bouquet of drugs than most plebs. Suck on that ableists!
5. You don’t have to be super pretty or great at anything, turning up counts.
So I’m about a 5 on a ‘she’s-a model’ scale. Without my sexy wheelchair, I’m a shortish, boring lass with scrunchy hair and a peppered-poo freckly face. I’m ok with that, mum said as long as I was kind that’s what counts. The great thing about my injury, is that I can go from average, to wow, purely because I use a wheelchair, it’s bloody marvellous. I even got to strut on the catwalks in Milan! Suck on that Ben from high school who said ‘Claire, you’re just ugly..’.
And last but not least, number 5.
6. Bonus parking, more time, and other free joys!
Yes, we hit the lottery folks. If you’re lucky enough to own a car, you should be entitled to better parking facilities. On the downside, our own private toilets are often used by able-bodied pests to excrete their brown logs (I’m an artist, it qualifies me to use descriptive terms, get a sick bag and enjoy the ride). Back to our parks, if we are lucky enough not to run into an able-bodied ignoramus who want’s so desperately to be like us crips, they park in our parks, we often get premium parking at a fraction of the cost and in some cases, extra time! Oh the joys, I can tell you.
So there we have it, just a few reasons why using a wheelchair is truly the gosh-darnit-bees-knees. I always wanted a go-cart as a child, and now I have one permanently attached to my sweet butt. A poor quality of life? Hell no I say! @peter_singer xx