The Harbinger Online

Claire in a Chair: 2

Did you all see me a couple Fridays ago sitting on the track at the South game? No I’m not a photographer capturing the best shots of the best plays. I’ve been exiled to the track because there is no other place for me and my 300-pound wheelchair to go. And this happens every time East plays at South.

Frustrations, we’ve all got them. We are all guilty of letting them get to us. As high schoolers our frustrations are centered around school, homework and the belief that our teachers are not preparing us for tests. My frustrations, however, are a little unique.

Curb cuts (or lack thereof), steps, broken elevators, getting stuck in elevators, people who park in accessible spots then literally walk out of their cars, people who are oblivious to my existence and step back right into my lap and of course the strangers who feel the need to make a ‘hilarious’ comment. Honestly the list could go on and on.

Just imagine being stopped while shopping at Target by an old man who laughs as he says that you are driving your wheelchair far too fast. Chances are he’ll say something along the lines of “Next time I’ll give you a speeding ticket!” I tend to just throw up a condescending smile and pretend like I’ve never heard that one before. That’s what works for me.

This frustration is serious. Everyone has seen the blue signs with the little wheelchair and “Van Accessible” or “Accessible Parking” written in bold. However not everyone has seen what happens when those who really need the spots can’t find them.

Our van has a ramp that comes out of the right side so it is imperative we get the accessible spots, with space alongside for ramps. Here is what we do we can’t park in the spot we need: My mom will drop me and my sister Lauren off somewhere close to the door, which more than likely will cause an acute traffic jam. She will then park in a regular spot and join us. Not too bad right?

But what if Lauren, who can walk but also uses a wheelchair, is driving? She can’t just drop herself off and expect the car to pull itself into a regular spot (at least not until Google comes out with a car). We’re basically screwed. I know how tantalizing those spots are for you able-bodied folks, but please think about the effects next time.

All of these things can be so annoying, but I’m one of those people who attempts to look on the brighter side of things.  I can’t always find a parking spot, but at least I have a car to take me places. I can’t always get into the stands for football games, but at least I have friends who will sit with me on the track. Put your frustrations into perspective, find the silver lining, and try to smile.

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