31 December 2004

Picture the scene: A lesbian club night somewhere in London (though, any straight boys reading, please don't picture too hard, you might stain your New Years Eve fancy outfit).

Q: There's a lesbian in a wheelchair, a bisexual and a trans lesbian dancing together in your usual clubby group dancing formation. What do you get?

A: 75% of the dancefloor.

Now, if I was cynical...

Happy New Year and all that.

26 December 2004

I love my parents, I dearly do. Especially because I know they're reading this (Hello Mum!).

My favourite thing about spending time with my family is the things you learn. My father loves to tell stories of his exploits. Yesterday he began a story with "Ooo, you should have been shopping with us in Morrisons the other day. You could've got an article out of that..."

This statement was then followed by a moments silence, as if to mourn for the braincell I lost as I banged my head against the back of the chair and rolled my eyes skyward.

He eventually broke the silence with "And then your cousin turned on this woman and started shouting at her saying "What about people in wheelchairs!?!"

Knowing my cousin, so finding it slightly hard to believe she'd just attacked a random stranger without provocation, I was slightly at a loss.

"You know what I love Dad? They way you tell your stories with such clarity, and you always remember to leave in that vital sentence where all becomes clear."

He accepted this as a compliment and carried on washing up.

My Mother was fortunately present for the incident, and she enlightened me as to what happened. Apparently they all overheard someone making disparaging remarks about wheelchair users. My (non-disabled) cousin turned to the woman whom she thought had made the remark, only to discover that the woman she'd been about to shout at was in fact in the middle of pointing out to the real culprit "Wheelchair users have as much right to shop as anyone else!"

The thing I love most about this story is that the two wheelchair users present remained silent. It reminds me of the time someone asked my Dad's PA "Is he OK there?" to which my mother replied "He can speak for himself, you know!"

Sniff that irony. And have a Happy Boxing Day.

24 December 2004

The Christmas holiday's are here! Hooray!

Actually, I've been on my festive break since I finally left the office at 10pm on Tuesday.

My holidays didn't get off to a very holiday-esque feel. Considering that my entire plan of action from 10pm on Tuesday past to 10am on Jan 5th is to sleep, watch telly and, well, sleep... getting up at 6:40am on Wednesday felt a bit laborious.

LBC wanted to talk to me on their breakfast show about access around London. The usual. Unlike the last time I was on the radio at such a ridiculous hour of the morning (I find the am offensive, in case you hadn't already worked that out. Oh to live in California where everything is 9 hours later and therefore more in tune with my body clock) I didn't have to be in the studio, and I in fact talked from the comfort of my bed, warmly snuggled under the cover of my duvet.

Nick Ferrari's opening words to me were "So... you're confined to a wheelchair..."

Now, I'm sure I don't need to point out to anyone reading that they only need to look back two paragraphs to be reminded that I was at the time of listening to that not in my wheelchair, but, in fact, in my bed. I managed to feel simultaneously both annoyed and incredibly smug. Annoyed at the ignorance, but smug because it did give me a public platform on which to point out "well, actually, there's nothing confining about a wheelchair - it's a tool of mobility." May sound like an obvious statement, but I'm impressed I managed to talk that clearly at ungodly O'Clock and after just the one caffeinated drink.

But, ah. My one early morning of the whole holiday's was over. I could relax... yes. Sleeeeeeep. Until 5am today when the mouse in the house decided to make a racket. He's obviously getting quite desperate not being able to get out from the cupboard under my kitchen sink and, in his quest for food has decided that the bright pink plastic lid of a tub of Vanish Oxi Action is highly delicious. Well, I'm guessing it was tasty considering he managed to eat so much of the damn thing.

All I have to do now is hope that the plastic is toxic, and then maybe one day this holiday I'll be able to look forward to a Silent Night (while my Vanish Oxi Action gets to enjoy a series of holey nights).

Actually, I'm at my parents house at the moment to be fed full of fake meat and potatoes roasted in non-meaty fat for the seasonal festivities. Or something like that. Maybe I'll get that Silent Night here, as I suspect if my parents had rodents they'd have told me (you know what parents are like. I know the health problems of all my relatives, even the ones I only met the once at my Christening). I have it on good authority that the squeaking noise I could hear in the car all the way here was in fact my accelerator pedal and not a rodent trying to smuggle itself to Clacton On Sea (cos, lets face it, why would anything want to come to Clacton?)

My other holiday resolution - to watch telly is going all together more successfully. Though, I'm finding it more tiring than I thought I would. I was looking forward to being able to remain flopped, semi-conscious and to enjoy watching endless sitcoms. But no. I've bought a TV guide. That's right, I know what's on and when. So rather than just flopping in front of one channel and watching it constantly, I'm having to plan a schedule for each day as it comes. It's almost as tiring as devising an action plan for a days work. Instead of being relaxed, I'm finding myself stressing over the fact that there's a five minute overlap between the episode of Ellen on Paramount Comedy finishing at 1:55pm and the episode of Ellen starting on abc1 at 1:50pm. What is a girl to do? And what about the fact that there's another episode of Ellen on at 5:10pm on abc1 which overlaps with Charmed being on five from 5pm until 6! Still, being stressed over my TV planning schedule is perhaps better for the mental health than just sticking to the one channel.

After all, while that may be the easy option, it does also have it's occupational hazards. On Wednesday after the radio thang, I ended up sitting down to watch Friends on Channel 4 and fell asleep. Next thing I know, I'm having nightmares about having sex with Kitten because Channel 4 is still on, it's penetrated into my sleep (thank god that in reality that was the only kind of penetration going on) and they're showing that stupid Big Brother Panto.

The other hazard about too much TV is all those adverts for that fucking Crazy Frog. My plan is to tape a succession of them, stick the recording of it in the cupboard which the mice are accessing and hope that it'll make the mice want to kill themselves, just like it does me.

Merry Christmas everyone. May it be Crazy Frog and rodent free.

19 December 2004

She lives! She lives!

And she now has a fully working computer too (well, apart from the dead broadband bit. This dial-up is making her want to bang her head against the desk). Which she is very grateful for because she had been going slightly insane. Especially as she has sort of become a proper grown-up writer and she had a deadline and a computer that crashed every ten minutes. She didn't enjoy that combination. She also appears to have begun referring to herself in the third person. She is slightly confused by this and doesn't know where it came from. So now she will stop.

The other day I got asked for the first time this year that question I dread every December, though of course, some years it comes around as early as September. That question that's on a par with elderly relatives saying "So, when are you going to settle down and get married then?", yes, I was asked:

"What are you doing for New Years Eve then?"

"Um, nothing." Was of course my answer. Because, contrary to popular belief; I don't actually have a life.

New Years Eve has to be the most depressing night of the year. And the months of anxiety leading up to it. I've given up on the whole "I must have someone to kiss at midnight" idea, because, like me spending Valentine's Day with anyone's company other than my own - it's never going to happen. But, still, the pressure of having to find something to do and not be sitting alone in front of the TV is unbearable.

Of course, New Years Eve isn't without it's joys. I'd especially like to congratulate those who were driving along Golders Green Road on December 31st last year at about 10pm as they got to see one of my best friends jumping up and down on a traffic island wearing just her underwear. Those congratulation aren't particularly because they got to see her in her underwear, no. They were just lucky that I'd simply not had enough wine by that point to go and join her. In fact, last year I managed to keep my clothes on for the whole of the New Years Celebrations which I was very proud of (I still don't know what I'd been up to that year I woke up on a friends kitchen floor on Jan 1st without my attire).

It's been a month of social pressure. Not only do I have to dread spending New Years Eve with just Jaffa Cakes and my rodent roomie (yes, he's still here. He did get caught in a trap, but unlike Elvis, he could walk out. Apparently using his own faeces as lubrication to free himself) for company; I went to An Engagment Party. It was a lovely evening and I saw loads of amazing people that I don't see that often (either because they live somewhere random like Singapore, or they live in Kentish Town and I'm just rubbish at keeping in touch with people). I couldn't help but feel like the least grown-up and least accomplished person there though. Champagne soon brightened my mood though. God bless alcohol for removing my social inadequacy.

The evening did also provide me with an opportunity for momentary smugness, before I'd even entered the pub (and crashed straight into a chair in front of me courtesy of immediate steaming up of the specs). I popped into Paperchase in Waterloo station to pick up an engagement card for the newly promised couple. I tried to enter via both available doors, but from neither could I spot a route via which I could access the card section at the back of the store.

"Excuse me. Which way is your wheelchair accessible route to the cards at the back?" I said to the girl behind the counter.

"What?" She replied, looking at me as if I'd just asked 'On which platform is the train to Mars?'

"Which way is your wheelchair accessible route to the cards at the back of the shop? I've tried coming in through both doors and can't see a gangway wide enough to get through." I said.

"Erm..." She answered, making herself seem less attractive by the second.

"There isn't one..." interupted the man standing behind me. A look of relief flooded over the girl at the counter as she realised she was no longer going to have to deal with the lady in the wheelchair who had the audacity to assume she should be able to shop there - because her colleague had taken over.

"... but I'll help you with anything you need," he continued.

"Are you going to bring me your entire engagement card selection?"

"OK, sure." I probably looked a bit disappointed by how unflustered he was at my request. He brought me cards, and I chose my preferred one.

"Do you need any stamps?"

"No. But I do need a pen." I suddenly remembered that someone had borrowed the one I used to carry in my bag, and they'd never returned it. I didn't really want to fill in a card with a pink, barely working, highlighter.

"What kind? Black? Blue?"

"Gel ink. Purple preferably..."

Again, to my disappointment, he bought me a choice of three. And even a note pad to try them out on.

Inaccessible shops just aren't the fun they used to be. And, I've still got nothing to do on New Years Eve. Talk about disappointing.