04 September 2007

I'm finding it hard to adjust to being back in the real world.

I know I was only on a FOCUS project for 6 days... And that was nearly a month ago. But I still haven't quite gotten into the swing of being back in reality.

One of the things I love most about FOCUS is that the staff and other volunteers simply see me as me. They respect me for my knowledge, skills and experience and don't judge me on the basis of my impairment. If you're disabled and reading this I'm sure you can appreciate straight away how far removed such a simple thing is from day-to-day life.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to spend some quality time with other volunteers that were there since the project. LilWatcherGirl and I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the IMAX together, for example.

"Right, you hide, I'll hail the bus. When the driver gets the ramp out, appear and get on behind me before the driver has the chance to close the doors!"

Because London buses only have one wheelchair space. As we wandered towards the bus stop we had a little discussion about how we were both going to fit in the one space. Oh, if you can catch a bus without having to have a strategic planning meeting you really don't know what you're missing.

It was coming home from the cinema that night that I really missed being in a FOCUS bubble for the first time. Sure, the project didn't exactly run smoothly (*cough* understatement *cough*) but there were some amazing people there. As LWG and I boarded at the rear ramped door, LWG's OtherArf, being a walkie, boarded at the front door. I heard the driver ask her "Where are they getting off?"

If I wasn't so throughly exhausted (this was a Tuesday, on the Sunday night I'd been up all night with sinus pain, and on the Monday I'd been up all night from taking Sudafed which is kinda like speed) I'd have burst into a screamy rage at him. How dare the driver ask someone else questions about me?

For the record, I don't take sugar.

But, I was too exhausted to fly off the handle. Instead I sat and pondered how much the real world sucks.

The bank holiday weekend was awesome. 4 of us volunteers spent the weekend together in Manchester. I don't really drink much alcohol these days; in fact, so little that I'd kept track of all the alcohol I'd drunk so far this year.

Until the bank holiday. Good times.

Being with a group of FOCUSy types out in the real world is kinda strange, but also very cool.

Being out in the real world I was subjected to the usual rubbish: people patting me sympathetically on the shoulder, people grabbing me and trying to push me, etc, etc. But, I had my bodyguards! Oh yes.

On the Sunday night we were indulging in some dirty street drinking (seeing as none of us could afford bar prices). Being FOCUS folk we all know the FOCUS dance routine to "Shake a Tail Feather" (from The Blues Brothers). And, having had a few drinks we decided that dancing to it on Canal Street would be a wonderful idea.

So, there we were quite happily getting our twist on, minding our own business, dancing away. When some guy decides that he wants to grab the-lady-in-the-wheelchair and start pushing her around. Before I could even start screaming I heard:

"Oi! Fuck off! Do one!"

My bodyguards came to my rescue. Good times. Unfortunately it ruined our dance and destroyed any chance of applause from our audience.

I wish I could take those 3 dirty street drinking scum chums with me wherever I went. Unfortunately 2 live in Manchester and the other in Cambridge. I could've done with them on Friday night when at a Treasure Tones gig some creepy drunk guy decided that I was wonderful. *shudder*


  1. Anonymous4:03 pm

    Oh my god. Do people think they can just grab you often?

    I am going blind and have just ordered my first white stick. I know I really need it, apart from anything to signal to other people that I can't see in the hope that they stop walking the hell into me. But my biggest fear is the tossers who think a disability is an open invitation to grab me, drag me around and basically treat me as though crap eyes=no ability to think for myself.

  2. Anonymous10:04 pm

    Annoyingly, yes. It happens a lot. I'll be pushing along the road and people assuming I *must* need a hand and just grab me and push me away. Screaming usually makes them go away.