This is what I’ve been talking about.

I’ve been away from this blog for quite some time, dealing with some complicated shit. More about that later. But for now:

This is what I’ve been talking about. Ordinary people, doing ordinary things. Ordinary people who happen to be in wheelchairs, featured in commercials. Better they should be in mainstream TV shows and movies, but I’ll take what I can get.

  • The wheelchairs are not the focus of the story, they’re not even important to the story. This little screenplay could have been acted out equally as powerfully were the actors not in wheelchairs.
  • I love the fact that this drama shows people in wheelchairs being physical, active athletes, able to give and take on the court. I love the fact that this is not about people in wheelchairs. This is not about disability.
  • I love the fact that it proves that wheelchair users are not “bound” to their chairs. Just as we are moving towards more inclusive “person first” language we have to move away from the image of people in wheelchairs being dependent and stuck or trapped. For these men, like for everybody else who uses a wheelchair, the chair is a vehicle for liberation.
  • I love that the story empowers the men in the wheelchairs.
  • I love the fact that the kids are fully included in the father’s life and accepting of his disability, perhaps not even seeing it anymore.
  • I love the fact that Toyota stands aside, and can promote their message and their product (I still don’t know what model vehicle is being promoted, but, like the wheelchairs, it doesn’t matter.) without having to shout.
  • I love seeing myself, or someone who looks like me, portrayed this way in a mainstream commercial. Perhaps only marginalized people will understand this. (A topic for a further and lengthy, discussion.)

In the end, what makes this a really great commercial is that the product (some sort of car, I think…) is only a vehicle (pardon the pun) for the drama of a group of men playing a very physical game of basketball, ending the day without holding grudges.

I hope this film can lead the way toward more fully inclusive roles for people with disabilities.

Did I mention that I love this little film? What do you think?

what’s a gimp to do?

there’s a guy at my office who rides a bike to work every day – even in winter. i don’t know how far he rides, or what his motivator is, but his dedication is impressive. as i see more and more bikes on the road, and hear more every night on the news about how people are turning to bikes instead of cars, and all that stuff, i wonder, what’s a gimp to do? what can i do to add my two cents, as it were, to this anti-car movement?

riding a bike to work – much as i would love it – is out. not only would i burn out in about ten minutes, my balance leaves quite a bit to be desired, and i think i’d probably fall over or crash into a tree before my energy ran out. i could maybe manage to get all the way to work on a hand bike, but i don’t have a hand bike, and they are rather pricey. and i’d probably need to lie down for about an hour once i got there.

i’d love to ride a vespa-type scooter. i’ve always lusted after them. and with the demand for them rising so fast, there are so many to choose from –  even electric models. but the same problems ensue: i don’t have one, can’t spend the several thou to buy one, and i’d probably tip over. i even trip over a pattern in the carpet.

i could cut my drive quite a bit by driving to the bus stop and taking the bus, but it the closest it comes is more than a block from my office, and that is too far for me to walk – again unless i could lie down for an hour to recouperate. i suppose i could make that an accomodation for my employer to prove me with – a place to lie down. but i’d feel really strange sacking out in a corner of the office. the place is already pretty crowded.

so, amid all this whining, there is a genuine desire to drive the car less. i don’t drive to the park for lunch any more, and i try to consolidate or eliminate my weekend driving. maybe there is little a gimp can do, but it is yet another frustration.

(i did pass my driving exam, so now i am left-foot legal. it’s a bit uncomfortable, cramming my right foot into the corner, but it is a lot safer, and i’ll get used to it.)

i fell down

i fell down today, the first time i’ve tripped over my own feet and could not recover. when i drag my right foot, which i do most of the time, sometimes the rubber sole of the shoe catches, like catching an edge for you skiers, causing me to stumble. i’ve come close, but never actually fallen before. this was at work, in the break room (concrete floor – ouch!) but luckily no one was in there but me, so no one saw. no injury, not even to my pride. well, maybe  little bit.

i spent an afternoon last week going from shoe store to shoe store, looking for shoes with leather soles. all i could find were shiny patent leather pointy-toed loafers with big heels. nothing flat, with a leather sole. i have been wearing my moccasins around the house – almost perfect – but they have nice toasty warm furry lining, which is not good for 80 degree weather. but my gimpy foot can slide across the carpet, which is very nice. i ordered a pair that don’t have furry lining, and i am anxious to see how they work. i can’t drive in them, for the very same reason i like them for walking – they slip, and my foot slips off the pedal.

speaking of which, i have been driving (illegally) with my left foot for a few weeks, and i’m going in for a road test tomorrow. funny to think of me, 50 years old, nervous about a road test. i also have to have my eyes checked, which i am nervous about too.  hopefuly the guy will go easy on me. after all, i’m an old man.