I was on on the screen in Times Square and my top fell off!
Not really, but I probably would’ve have been able to deal with that better than what actually happened.
In North Carolina at TypeAParent Conference (that I’ll write about later with all the good and wonderful that happened)and I went out to dinner with a group of friends.
Friends that accommodated the need of my wheelchair-bound body because one has dealt with two kids with extreme special needs, one has a child in a wheelchair, one has experienced being my pusher and the others have love beyond compare.
The evening started by getting to restaurant. And finding it was upstairs.
Some of our group went up the stairs to get a table, while some went with me in search of an elevator.
It was down a long walk away at the far end of the parking garage. Dark and smelly. Very Deep Throat.
We make it to the second floor to a narrow walkway to the restaurant entrance. Where someone has decorated the only way in this place with a five-foot flower pot. NO SHIT.
We manage to squeak by the flower pot.
Then we barely get through the bar tables, with chair taller than I am in my wheelchair.
We finally find our group.
We drink. Eat. Make very merry.
Then we have to leave.
During the time we were eating and merry-making the restaurant had filled.
When faced with the human obstacle course that the bar area had become, we turned to the hostesses for aid in navigating to the door.
“I’m sorry, we’d have to ask a manager to ask anyone to move.”
First, we weren’t asking them to MOVE, we were asking them to shift so I could make my way to exit. Second, “sorry” must not mean the same thing on her home planet.
My friends decided the wait for a manager was too much.
The looks of disdain, rolled eyes and annoyance at being disturbed along with the people who flat-out looked and chose to ignore our “excuse us” request was too much.
I made it out the door.
I made it past the flower pot.
I shed a few tears but held in.
Then one of my friends did something pretty innocent.
I exploded on her.
She who didn’t deserve it and knew I didn’t mean it.
I popped hard.
It’s over now.
There’s nothing I can do about it or expect.
The embarrassment I felt was bigger than anything than I had ever felt before. I’m used to being looked at, watched, observed and it generally doesn’t bother me.
But I felt a burning shame. Like I had done something wrong by daring to try to be normal and do something an average person does.
Their eyes cut me.
The moment is over.
The cuts left a scar.
On June 28th Mike from the Vida Catina called about the incident. We talked about the FAIL of his employee, the inaccessibility of his restaurant , the multitude of ways that little things could improved to improve a handicapped patron’s experience.
This is where you, my Charlotte friends, come in.
I live in Atlanta and can’t confirm that the changes have actually been made (the potted plant removed, the bar area made wider) so I have been invited to invite some friends to go in and have drinks/apps complimentary and let me know.
I’ll call it the #AccessMeetup!
I’ll make it July 7th, 6pm. Email me at Anissa.Mayhew @ gmail if you can go and I will give Mike a headcount. Truly, this WOULD help me!