24 November 2004

To all those pessimists who said that the implementation of the final phase of Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act was too little too late: I say "pah!"

Ramps are suddenly springing up all over the place...

OK, by "all over the place" I mean, outside the Costa Coffee in West Hampstead... but, hey... that wasn't there last week (OK, so, technically they were in breach of the law for almost 2 months, but, I'm in "optimist mode", we'll just gloss over the so called "facts").

I like Costa Coffee. They sell coffee with a Flake stuck in it, thus combining two of my passions; chocolate and caffeine. I've never bothered attempting to get in to the one in West Hampstead - there's a Starbucks without a step right next door. Not that I've ever gone in there either; Starbucks are evil, nasty and corporate. And when I lived in Cambridge I used to drink in Starbucks all the time. The staff in the one in Waterstones (which is now no longer a Waterstones but a clothes store) obviously never cleaned the espresso machine. Unclean water boiling device + the hardness of Cambridge's water = actual lumps of limescale in the bottom of your coffee. Kinda puts you off for life. But West Hampstead has plenty of other cafes to choose from. Even if I haven't found one which serves coffee with chocolate in it.

I wonder who complained? For a change, it wasn't me.

17 November 2004

It was about 10 minutes after I last updated my blog that I saw it. I was so terrified that I ended up sitting frozen at my desk for about an hour and three quarters.

What was it I saw? Saw? No. Though I want to, but I think it's vanished from all the cinemas near me now. When posters started springing up all over West Hampstead advertising the film simply saying "Dare you see saw?" I thought that it was some kind of juvenile challenge and that the playground had gotten nasty. Of course, having bones that tended to break when I did things like eating my dinner, I never did dare see-saw as a child. The challenge offered by these posters made me wonder what I may have been missing out on. Until I realised they were talking about a film.

So, what was it I saw on Sunday then that had me incapacitated with fear?

A mouse sitting on top of my fridge.

Apparently, not only is there a hole at the back of my kitchen cupboard giving them access up from beneath the floorboards... they can also get out of the cupboard via a hole in the side of the cupboard, leading them to a nice landing perch - the fridge.

Maybe it could smell the fact that my fridge currently contains 7 different types of cheese (hey - I'm a vegetarian. I need to get my protein from somewhere), and was on a mission to break in?

A couple of weeks ago, I reported the mice to my housing caseworker at the council. He reported it to the landlord's agent who accordingly sent their handyman round (who had been round before the call from the council but just did bugger all and left). He laid a "glue trap" by the hole at the back of my kitchen cupboard.

If you've never seen one of these 'traps' before - they look like oversized self-adhesive surgical dressings, and I guess work on the hypothetical prinicpal that they're fly paper for mice. I just had visions of a mouse running round underneath the floorboards looking like he'd just gotten in from A&E (or the ER for any American-English speaking readers). I however couldn't for a second envisage it actually "trapping" anything.

On Monday I called the landlord's agents again saying "There's still mice! I saw one yesterday!", so this morning I was again woken by a tattooed man clutching more of these dressings. He opened my cupboard to see if anything was trapped in the, well, 'trap', and...

"The trap's gone!" He exclaimed with a certain amount of surprise.

"Oh?" I said far more calmly, knowing immediately that my vision had come true, and a mouse was somewhere under my floor alive and running round, but with a sheet of sticky stuff covering his back and thus mildly impairing his movement.

The handyman laid another trap. If that one goes too, then it shall be certain that one of my rodent room-mates has an entrepreneurial flair, and has decided to launch his own rodent back-waxing business. I can understand it, I mean, would you want to shag someone with a back *that* hairy?

14 November 2004

Occasionally I wish someone saw me naked.

The reason I'm thinking this today isn't anything sexual. I just have this overwhelming urge to show off the most unbelievable collection of bruises that I'm currently sporting.

Most of the bruises on my legs turned two weeks old yesterday. I almost felt compelled to get them a celebratory cake. The combination of having an impairment which makes me bruise easily and having a propensity to drunkenly fall over perhaps isn't the greatest combination, unless you like that rainbow coloured complexion look that is.

The cluster of bruises running most of the length of my inner right thigh happened on Wednesday evening. I was standing up in a desperate attempt to get noticed by the staff behind the bar, with one foot on either side of the footrest-bar-thingy on the front of my wheelchair. Suddenly I felt this sharp pain between my legs (not *there* between my legs, lower down, about halfway between my hips and my knees). I looked around and a wasted wankstain had tried to sit on the backrest of my wheelchair. He of course had immediately been flung to the floor (ha ha) but where my chair flipped backwards, the hard metal footbar neatly ran itself along my inner thigh, with the force of someone's bodyweight behind it. The wasted wankstain in question picked himself up off the floor, and then had the audacity to tell me to "Chill the fuck out, man".

On Thursday my inner thigh was an aesthetically pleasing shade of bluey purple. Sadly it's now turned yellow, and combined with the rest of the bruises on my legs, I look quite jaundiced. Add to all this the really deep greeny/browny bruise on my left upper arm (if anyone knows where I got that one, answers on a postcard would be much appreciated) I think I could take my clothes off in public and look like I was wearing a military camouflage uniform.

Returning to the tale of my inner thigh... Let's not forget that I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The angle at which, and the force with which my wheelchair hit me on Wednesday, I was very lucky not to break my femur. The BBC is currently loving telling us that we're a Fat Nation and that we need to lose weight. To be honest, I'm pleased to be sporting a layer of padding as right now I'm sitting at home, in my pyjama's in front of a computer - had I not had a layer of lard on my thighs, protecting my bones from projectile wheelchairs I'd be laying in a hospital bed right now with a collection of weights dangled from my foot.

You know what, I think my bruises do deserve that celebratory cake after all.

11 November 2004

"Hehe, you didn't indicate then!" Said a twat to me in the pub the other night, as I moved aside to let someone pass me.

I didn't even turn my head. I was determined to not start screaming at him for being a disablist cunt. Mainly because he was a skinhead and about twice my size.

"OK, well, fuck you then!" He felt the need to follow up with.

I dared to turn and give him evils.

"Yeah, you heard that, didn't you!"

I didn't feel it was appropriate to explain my personal policy on dealing with rude people. I felt it might get me a black eye. I could perhaps have explained my auditory processing difficulties, but that might have made the cogs in his brain turn, which also may have proved dangerous.

I considered my revenge. I was about to find myself on a stage, with a microphone in front of about 100 people. Why don't I tell them all to go downstairs and kick the skinhead with the light blue polo shirt. Put him in a wheelchair and see if he still finds himself hilarious. Yeah.

No. My "You have 15 seconds left" vibrating watch alarm went off when I was halfway through the last part of my Big Brother stuff (and seeing as how I was in front of a crowd, I didn't think it polite to place my wrist between my thighs). Shit. No time for picking on the disablist bloke.

It's a shame. I had a suprising number of allies. Particularly the non-disabled woman who, when I suggested they should put a disabled person in the Big Brother house, gasped, threw her arms up in the air and said "Oh, yes!" But, I suspect that rather than liking my joke, she had a vibrating watch too.

03 November 2004

This post was going to be dedicated to praising the Brixton Academy, talking about how unlike most venues of its size, you can actually see the stage from the dedicated cripple enclosure (though I do think shaven heads in music venues should be compulsory for anyone over 5'7", or at the very least anyone wearing hair gel should be refused entry). But...

OK, so last night I went to see the Scissor Sisters. Kiki & Herb opened for them, and they were fantastically hilarious. Though my friend didn't look too impressed, I thought they were hilarious and darn nearly wet myself when they performed their cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity. With hindsight it's perhaps a shame that I didn't.

Scissor Sisters know how to put on a fantastic show. Well, almost. At one point they did 5 unknown/non-album songs in a row. They shouldn't have done more than two without breaking it up with something familiar in my opinion - but, it's hardly the end of the world, and other than that, the gig was fantastic. They even made the audience pray for Kerry to win the US Election. If there is a god he wasn't listening and the world has to be terrorised for another four years. If you're American you have my condolences, especially if you belong to a minority group.

I think for a significant proportion of last nights audience however, the main show came once the band had finished, at around 10:45pm when everyone departing got to see my fanny. Yes, you did read that correctly. And, yes, I mean the British English version of the word fanny.

For those of you not familiar with the layout of most disabled toilets, I'll explain. If you were to use the ladies toilets, you would be protected by one door separating the toilet areas off from a main area, and then a cubicle door, keeping you in utmost privacy (well, except for your ankles, or should you be unfortunate enough to have someone stand on the top of the toilet next door and peer over). Disabled toilets are never afforded that double door protection, and a door straight into the toilet cubicle usually leads off a main area. In the case of Brixton Academy, this is a bar/entrance&exit concourse.

Also, many disabled toilets around the country are locked with a "Radar Lock". The lock works on two levels, obviously. If the toilet is not engaged, you can turn your key and the door will open. If the toilet is engaged, you can't. On the inside of the door it usually says "Lift handle to lock". Which last night was exactly what I did.

However, what I didn't realise was - the lock was broken.

I was mid-stream when the door opened.

As soon as the door opened just a crack, I actually screamed. I was impressed I could do this as my voice had given up sometime during Take Your Mama and I'd returned to being in a state where coughing was the only noise I could make.

Despite the fact that the toilet was obviously engaged, the member of venue staff could see with her own eyes someone sitting on the toilet, and she was standing in a crowd of people trying to exit the venue, she still proceeded to open the door, and continue gawping. What a decent woman.

She did eventually shut the door. Funnily enough, that toilet suddenly became the last place I wanted to be.

What concerned me most of course was the queue of wheelchair users waiting for the toilet that didn't seem at all bothered by the fact the whilst they weed there would be outside the door a crazy cow with a fetish for watching women pee.

I suppose I should be grateful that at least someone wanted to see my genitals.