Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lame, Transit

Using lame in the context of disabled, not completely 100% ok, or in my case really not ok, using transit can be quite the adventure. Just to review, I have a few things going on. I have my bad leg, from my "tragic bowling accident" in 2008. My knee doesn’t bend right, the leg is weak, it’s the primary reason I use a cane. I have Meniere’s disease, so I have a balance disorder that makes me more likely to fall down, be unable to stand on a moving bus, and makes me hard of hearing. I now have peripheral neuropathy which causes gait issues, lack of good balance, pain, and sensitivity. I’m a damn mess, it’s true. I’m also fat, which is not a disability but does tend to complicate the things that are, as well as complicating how I am perceived.*

This week has been a little different. I’ve been driving to a local park and ride since I have my car while my daughter house- and pet- sits for various family. The drivers are not accustomed to me, and that is fine. Tuesday and Wednesday, the same driver came and both times I asked him to lower the bus so I could actually get my leg in. (the low floor buses are very high, paradoxically, for stepping into. Most other types, I don’t need to have the bus lowered, but the low floor, every time unless I’m on a curb.) Both times, this dude started lowering the bus, as soon as my foot hit the step, he started raising it again, not very safe, but hey, I’m in and ok. Why leave it down for the rest of the passengers, right? Thursday, he again pulled right up and opened the door. I was a little exasperated. I said “ You’re going to make me ask every time, aren’t you?” He very defensively said “WHAT???” I said “Could you please lower the step.” He yelled, “Hey lady, give me a break, it’s early in the morning, I didn’t even see who was getting on the bus.” I shook my head and sat down. This guy is a jerk. He drives like a jerk. He doesn’t look to see who is getting on the bus? Sure hope there’s not an axe murderer there at the stop one day. It’s common sense to look at who is boarding, as a former driver I know you ALWAYS look because you want to know what’s coming. You want to know how many people are waiting and what kind of mood they’re in. So the “didn’t see who was getting on” thing is 100% bullshit. Dude was being defensive because I called him on being an asshole.

Now, not all drivers are like this. I'd say most of them are at least decent and some of them are awesome. Just like any other walk of life. But the ones who are like this? They are the ones that make our lives harder and even bordering on hazardous. They're responsible for our safety, and they are abrogating that responsibility.

I’m not the only PWD (person with a disability) who rides that bus and he is equally assholey to all of us. For instance, there’s a woman who gets on later than me who has serious trouble walking due to a hip replacement and he knows this because she rides every day. He will not wait for her to sit down. If she asked, he probably would, but you know what? It gets old. Part of it is this.
Part of it is just getting sick and tired, over and over, asking people to accommodate you. Reminding the world and yourself that you are deviating from the norm. It gets old.

It’s not asking a lot for a bus driver to see someone old, someone with a cane, someone who has demonstrated problems ambulating because they ride your bus every day, and be a little bit considerate to them. To make it easier for them to step up. To make sure they have a seat. To make sure they are seated before you gun the gas pedal. Like Melissa says-

“It is important to recognize that "forgetting" disability is a common unconsciously or consciously deployed strategy of people and places that are unable or unwilling to compassionately interact with people with disabilities and meaningfully respond to our needs.”

Port Authority of Allegheny County trains their staff in the Americans with Disabilities act. Perhaps the training is minimal. Perhaps some drivers just don’t give a shit. Perhaps the training needs a component of awareness, like trying to board a bus when your knee doesn’t bend, or trying to stand while you are having balance issues or vertigo, or trying to walk on a moving bus while your hip feels like you have a metal spike jamming into it, or having your shoe lined with razor sharp carpet tacks while you try to step up into a bus. Back in the day, they used to make them navigate a bus trip blindfolded, but they probably don’t have the budget for that these days. I’m not asking for them to do that, just to be more aware, more considerate, put themselves in my Birkenstocks for a week and see what it’s like to have to ask over and over again. “Could you please put the step down?”

*I’ve been called a fatass under a driver’s breath. I am indeed a fatass, I admit that and even embrace it most times. But it’s not my fat ass that keeps me from getting my leg onto that step, it’s the nerve damage, the titanium, the scar tissue, the swelling that does that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travels and Travails

Last weekend, Anna and her friend and I took a trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. I had a good time, despite some serious social anxiety/insecurity stuff that is still kind of bothering me. I took a lot of photos, I’ll link to the set at the end of this, but here are a few favorites.


Newborn lambs, literally born four hours before this photo was taken.

The crowd on Sunday.


Random adorable kid with alpaca.


Random adorable sheep in a hat.

I got some yarn…

And some fiber…

And two new spindles.


We stayed there all weekend, arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday afternoon. Much more sensible than the mad dash to New York and back that Anna and I made in October.

In fiber news, I’m spinning a sock kit-this is one of Tsock Tsarina’s lovely kits and I figured if I’m going to be adventureous enough to knit one of her kits, I might as well go all the way and spin it too.


Making a lot of headway on the Tuscan Sunflower. I am going to go one more petal row than the pattern offers even in the larger version because I want to use most of the yarn. Hope that doesn’t end up being a mistake.


I love how lace always looks like cat yack before you block it.

I’m also making headway on the Cassis Cardi that I started over a year ago. Yes, that is a sleeve!


I think this year’s Ravelympics will be me doing a lot of WIP wrestling because I have a few long-term UFOs that need to be dealt with.

In slightly more grim news, the results of the nerve test are in and I have a cracking good case of peripheral neuropathy. My doctor prescribed neurontin but it is not helping. I see her in two weeks, perhaps we can come up with a plan, but from everything I’ve heard, once it gets going you can stop the progress but you can’t really roll it back. I hope I am wrong about that because it has me seriously messed up in the head. I don’t want to live with this kind of pain for the rest of my life.

In happier news, Anna is currently house, bird, and dog sitting for my mom and she made Mother’s day dinner. Lena and a friend of hers and her boyfriend came over too and we had a very nice afternoon with delicious food. I got to wear my awesome new dress.



Bob and I are going to Dayton for our wedding anniversary. The annual party where we got married seven years ago. It seems like only yesterday, and it’s our first trip away in a long time.