I did some googling and searching on YouTube for videos from Australia by people with disabilities. I came up sadly very short. Nothing really from a sense of community of disability here in Australia. I don’t think we have made the leap between sector and community; between political and social. Both are necessary, but I fear that we are too busy fighting with both the politicians and sadly ourselves to share just thoughts.
So here are my “just thoughts” on a recent trip to Melbourne, on seeing 18 people with apparent impairments, on inclusive process (ok I got a bit political) and on “drop jaw”.
The lighting is bad and my voice was not ideal, but this is my offering. It goes for 18 minutes (which means it is split on YouTube but in one piece here.
I’m just back from a five day trip to Melbourne with PB.
It was largely a good trip – more play than work. It was nice to spend time with PB and have time not to rush. We both love Melbourne, the culture, the conversational opportunities, the coffee and the shopping.
The excuse was the birthday party of VW (read more about him here), a disco party complete with light ball and the hustle.
It’s late. It was a case of too much coffee for once having the effect on me that everyone complains of. I am as “they” say … wired.
PB and I went down to Melbourne on Wednesday for a little R and R. It was a little surreal for me on a few fronts. Firstly It was the scene of some unfortunate events during a previous relationship. In fact the anticipation of ghosts around every corner was far worse than the actual experience this week on that front. I’ve been there once since that fateful trip (see below), so perhaps that mitigated those poor ghosts some. They were there to be sure but there was a calm forgiveness about them.
The other element of surrealness comes from the fact that PB and I were visiting Melbourne last year attending a set of work meetings together, purely as supposedly dis-interested but friendly colleagues. At that point in time certainly we were both (I’m pretty sure) determined to keep it that way. It concerned us both how we would be percieved regarding our worklives. Credibility and independance and all that sort of thing. In the end I think we did the right thing both in delaying the relationship till I was well established and also “coming out” slowly when it did blossom, only a month or so after the trip last year.
However, I digress.
I remember with trepidation the nervousness that enveloped me when I suggested we could get a single hotel room as long as we made sure there was a fold out bed available as well. I was amazed when he without too much hesitation accepted. Thus we slept for 2 nights and behaved – a nervous little peck on his check with a blush as I left alone for the airport.
It was the trip that saw the origin of the now common routine of him holding on to the side of my chair so that we might roll in unison.
It was different yet similar as his girlfriend this time. This in itself was lovely.Biggest differences? No meetings and going into a menswear shop with him
Like last time: he went bush for a few days. Like last time I came back to Sydney.
Well I’m sitting here in Cork airport that is – in my ways reminiscent of T3 at Heathrow. Noisy, loud crowded, and understaffed by staff; who, with the exception of the guy who spotted my usual “carry coffee” dilemma and carried it; look as if the would rather be at a funeral than here.
Cork itself is certainly not my favourite place, although I will say that the people are practically friendly – despite their expressions collectively not enforcing this. However when I have come to one of the many corners with no kerb ramp (or a poor excuse for one); if I made an attempt to get up/down invariably a gruff very aged man with food stains on his shirt– who looks too weak or derelict to lift anything, will skilfully pull/push me accordingly, all the while muttering something in Gaelic. Then with a rough but kindly meant pat on the shoulder and an “Aye Sir, Good luck to ya” they once again meld into the colourless stonework.
Yes I did say sir. Thanks to my number 2 haircut I seem to be getting called Sir at least in old Ireland. People have mistaken me for a male – despite a pink shirt and earrings ?. However to “the continent’s” credit – as a rule – once they work out my gender out – I am generally Ma’am. That’s a bit ironic given the extent to which I had stealed myself in anticapationn of the inslaught of “Lovey” et al. Oh well no complaints!
I met a bloke on Washington Street Cork after a particularly trying series of non ramps and raised side kerbing. Somewhere in his 40’s complete with nose ring, enlarged earring, denim jacket and bright purple sports chair with – I was to discover and jealously admire – REAL shock absorbers. He was an import from London and a para, after a work related accident 5 years ago as a result of which he retired with a compo payout. I admire anyone who can be as bold and forthcoming.
He told me that he had moved to Cork because; at least in his experience better than London. This is a bit of worry but no doubt time will tell. In fact upon learning that I am indeed an Aussie, he proceeded to tell me that when he was recovering from his accident the staff in the English hospital sat him down in all seriousness and told him to pull out all stops in order to move as quickly as possible to one of four countries; these being, Australia, New Zealand, Germany or Florida I think it was. Anywhere but England it seems.