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Friday, February 4, 2011

Taxis In NYC

Hailing a cab in New York City should be easy. It is easy for all those that are bipedal. If you ever want an exercise in frustration I suggest you use a wheelchair and try hailing cab. Good luck with that effort. I for one have given up. I refuse to give my money to rude cab drivers. Every experience I have had with cab drivers in the city has been overwhelmingly negative. Last time i took a cab the driver spent the entire ride telling me what a hassle it was to "help" a person like me, that he lost time "helping" me, and that they should have "special" taxis for people like me. I told this man I would be thrilled to use a "special" taxi but of the 13,237 yellow cabs only 230 are wheelchair-accessible. Gee no wonder i have trouble.

The situation hailing a cab in NYC is unlikely to get better any time soon. The city is in the process of choosing the cab of the future and of the three finalists only one is accessible. It is unlikely this accessible cab will be chosen. The city has suggested and had a stealth experimental dispatching number people with a disability could call when they needed a taxi This was in the estimation of the city a reasonable accommodation. If this is reasonable to you I think we have vastly different interpretation of the word. Now Senator Tom Harkin has backed the accessible taxi. This is great but for one thing--Harkin is from Iowa not New York. I applaud Harkin's support but doubt it will do much good. I wish I had an answer to the problem of hailing cabs in New York and other cities such as Chicago. I do know other cities present no problems--mostly Western cities such as Seattle and San Francisco. I also know cities like London present no problems either. Perhaps we need to study the issue of why--why is this a problem in some cities and not an issue in others. In the meantime i will continue to use MTA buses that provide slow but reliable service.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Room with a View

This is what I look at from my bed in the living room. My house is oriented to the northwest so the sunsets are wonderfully colorful. I have a set of three six foot sliding doors in the living room that open up onto a deck. My house is on a ridge and I can see for miles. Every day I look out my window I realize I am a very lucky man. I may be stuck inside and house and bed bound but it is a beautiful place to be stuck.

We are having yet another snow/ice storm. For the first time my roof had to be cleared of snow. My brother spent hours on my roof yesterday shoveling snow. Thankfully I have no gutters and a slight slope roof incline. Of course this is easy for me to write as I was not the one on the roof. Schools are closed today and I have not seen a car go by since I saw a plow go by at 5AM. How I love winter! My love this year is tempered by the fact I have been a mere observer this season. Next year I am going to ski to my heart's content. Who knows I may even get to ski in late March. Ah, dreams on an icy day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inspiring, Heroes, and Men of Steel at the X Games

The X Games were on this afternoon. I spent much time reading and watching the games with limited interest. I like the X Games but have a short attention span. My main reason for watching is to see the mono skiers compete. These athletes, world class athletes, are not only gifted but on the cutting edge of adaptive ski technology. For the most part, the announcing was good. The principle focus was on the competition and the technology and skill involved. For the first time, a short special segment was included that explained how mono skis work. For a general audience, the mono skiers were compared to stand up skiers. I came away impressed and the segment reinforced what I already knew--adaptive skiing is physically more taxing and technique is of paramount importance. The only problem I had was the announcers made a point of stating how "inspiring" the adaptive skiers were. Apparently "they all deserved a gold medal" and one announcer crowed "they were true heroes". Oh spare me! The men that competed are athletes--gifted athletes. I have no idea what sort of men they are--they may be great guys or they could be not so nice people. I also know they are no different than any other athlete that competes during the X Games. However, only the adaptive athletes were labeled "inspiring" or "heroes". To me this is as bad if not worse than being labeled "special". It is in essence demeaning. Athletes that walked onto the slopes were not inspiring or heroes. They were just athletes.

The coverage of the adaptive athletes made me cranky. Combine this with a penchant for people to describe me as "strong willed", "tough", "hard assed" or that what I am experiencing with my skin is "unimaginable". I think all of these statements are way off base, dead wrong in fact. I am not that tough nor am I strong. Strong men do get depressed. Strong men do not cry. Hard asses do not feel sorry for themselves. I am guilty of all these things and more, far more than I am willing to admit on this blog. I have been unkind to friends and family. I have lashed out at those who want to help me. Worse yet, I have said things I deeply regret. The reality is I am a man with no options. I must stay in bed if I want to heal. I desperately want to heal. In short, I have no other choice but to endure day in and day out. I am enduring but I am miserable. Yes, I know there is an end to my time in bed and that I will be healed in a month or two. To me, that means more dependence on a daily basis. The knowledge I will heal at some point in the future does not help me be happy when I wake up. The reality is I am doing the best I can. It is what any other human would do. It is what paralyzed people do. It is what people that can walk would do. My experience, paralysis and the way I cope does not make me anything other than human-a deeply flawed one at that.