22 September 2007

Earlier this evening I was pushing from Holloway to Finsbury Park. You see, I was on my way to my nearest Lidl, which is in Finsbury Park, following a tip off from my Mum that in her local store they currently had cat food that my cat can actually eat.

Me and my pussy are very well matched when it comes to food sensitivities.

What I was unaware of before I set off on my journey was that Arsenal were playing at home. And I was trying to get to Lidl at the same time as the crowds were trying to get out of the stadium. Bad timing.

The number 29 bus was going nowhere, so I decided it'd be quicker to get off and push the rest of the way.

This guy walking in the opposite direction to me stopped and pressed himself up against the railing fencing the pedestrians in. I'm used to this reaction from crip-phobes who can't bear the thought of having to share a pavement with a wheelchair user. Like most people who do this, he watched me as I approached.

Usually though, people resume walking once I (the dangerous, terrifying wheelchair user) have passed. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he didn't. So I looked over my shoulder and he was still staring at me. Obviously at this point I shot him an evil glare. Most gawpers usually take that as their cue to stare at the floor. Not him.

"You're beautiful!" He cried after me.

Which makes the second nutter this week.

First there was the odd, drunk, smelly bloke I met on a number 29 bus coming home from dinner at a couple of friend's house on Wednesday night.

He was asking the usual, boring old "how long have you been in a wheelchair?" crap that all random strangers want to know. Then he said:

"Well, at least you've got a pretty face. If you were single, I'd go out with you."

Obviously, I didn't mention that I am single. I just nodded.

What is it with people thinking that having a pretty face will melt away all access barriers? (He's not the first). Come to think of it - why do only odd ones who think pretty faces remove access barriers think I have a pretty face anyway? Why can't any hot women ever think that?

I'm starting to think the being single is like being unemployed.

You know how the longer you've been unemployed, the lower your chances of finding a job?

I think people look at prospective partners in the same way as employers look at prospective employees.

"Well, they've been on the shelf for a while. Are they up to date with modern techniques and practices?"

Being 28 and having never had a "proper, grown up" relationship I'm starting to feel how I imagine I'd feel if I was still looking for my first job.

"Well, she's never been in this situation before. How can we guarantee she's got the skills to cope? She's never had to use them. Does she even know how to respond to certain situations? Does she know the rules and etiquette?!"

I've had a couple of conversations about this. One person pointed out that "It's also easier to find a new job when you've got one already." A sentiment echoed by another friend when we were having a conversation about polyamory.

"I think polyamory is just unfair... why should some people get hundreds of partners when I can't even find one?"

My friend went on to point out that I'm the only non-poly wheelchair user that she knows. I was pushing over cobblestones at the time, which is about as close as I come these days to intimacy.

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