Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!
Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.
I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!
Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…
Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.
Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!
OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…
Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…
Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.
Well, not strictly, I hope, but yes, we’re approaching that time of year when I discover just how many people go out of their way to avoid people in wheelchairs! Only one trip so far, and I had low expectations, even then, but yes, it was pretty shocking, even then.
Yes, Saturday sees the delight of the flight across the Atlantic (I love the travel, just hate the long hours sat on a plane), which gives me the delight, now that I am disabled (thankfully not badly) by back issues, of travelling through airports by wheelchair! In truth, last year, 2 out of the 3 would have got good marks off me. Unfortunately, the one that didnt is the one I’ve got to use again, Manchester. Hopefully this time they wont leave me sitting at the gate, but not full of confidence. The show coming back wasnt great, but not entirely their fault, as I seemed to be the only 1 of 4 people who wanted a wheelchair to greet them, who actually requested it. But even then… Still, hoping that will be better this year.
Las Vegas, and Seattle, I have no idea about, to tell the truth, be interesting to find out. Though for Vegas at least, I am wondering if the wheelchair comes complete with slots machine lol! I’m sure it doesnt, but… Las Vegas should be straightforward, given I’m being helped off 1 plane, through Immigration and stuff, then on to another plane, no issues there. I’m not sure what might happen if I get a ‘Jobs Worth’ at Seattle though, as I will need to struggle out of the chair, and go off and get a hotel shuttle, with no one to greet me? Beat him over the head with my handbag, maybe, lol?
As for all the people who will either ignore me totally, not get out of my pusher’s way, or both, I’m sure there will be many! Wheelchair rage, I’ll try not to!
The other amusing landmark on the way out is my ‘state bagging’ number, as for the first time in a while, it will be going up, to 24! Not bad for a Brit, is it? Yes, first time in Nevada, even if it will only be an airport terminal, joining Georgia with that honor. Before health woes struck both of us, the plan had been to hit 24, and maybe 25, last September in New England, but no go. Vermont was the main target, Maine the maybe. One of them might yet be 25, and halfway, but Florida, and Oklahoma might be possibles for that honor. All depends on a lot of things in future, we will see. The one big area where I lack states is hardly surprising as a Trans lady, its the ‘Deep South’! Georgia is it, and as I say, thats airport only, at Atlanta! Doubt that will change much, in truth, and in all honesty, beyond the ones mentioned, the only other possibles to visit are at extremes, Alaska, and Arizona! Well, New Mexico, if I get an alien invite, but seriously…
Right, video time. A bit of a hint, and in this at least, a bit of a Welsh accent, great stuff. I cant believe I havent used this before, in truth
And no, for once, its not Trans Pennine Express! No, this time its the tale of a Northern Rail fail, and other events yesterday.
Saturday is the only morning where I need to get to get the train to get to work. Earlier start, plus public transport is a bit more limited early on a Saturday morning, so…Into Huddersfield station, train supposedly on time, all looking good, you’d think? Even less of a shock, the Trans Pennine Express services looks a mess, but nothing new there!
Thing is, I look out to the platform where the train should be, nothing there! Not a first, this is 10 minutes before its due to leave, assume its just waiting to pull into the platform. No, it wasnt. There were a couple of Northern Rail people stood near the platform, not looking like they knew what was going on, never a good sign. Well, time for the train to leave came, still no sign of it. 5 minutes after its due to leave, still no sign of it. So given my total lack of faith in Northern Rail, I headed off, and got a slightly later bus to Bradford. Only just gets me in the office by 9, but anyway…I got to Bradford Interchange, and apparently it had finally left Huddersfield, but was going to arrive 22 minutes late! Me, I got there 10 minutes before then! Seemingly left about 8.15, 25 minutes late, as a work colleague had the misfortune to wait for the train to arrive.
Funnily enough Northern Rail had a staff strike on Wednesday, trouble is, it might have been hard to tell the difference in service provided! And no, sadly, this isnt a first! But anyway…
There was something else waiting for me at work when I got there, my new chair. Specially designed for an old crock like me, due to my back issues. Yes, its nice, and yes, I noticed the difference at the end of the day too. No, it shows no signs of shocking, or brainwashing me, but hey, a girl cant have everything lol! 😛
Right, video time. In tribute to a rail company that cant provide the service its meant to (and despite that, in 2 months time, they will hoist up fare prices!), a group that were also waiting for a train that never comes!
And before anyone asks, thats 1 good farce, and 1 typical farce, which I will come to shortly.
The classic farce, technically twice over, was unsurprisingly First Buses in Huddersfield. The first was Wednesday, when I just missed the bus I was hoping to get, by about 20 yards, because the bus driver chose to ignore me racing for the bus. Or fine, racing as much as I can nowadays, with my ailments. No great issue, they’ll be another in 10 minutes, which would still be fine. 28 minutes later, 2 buses turned up at once! Mind, by that time, a third should nearly have been due, and indeed passed us on the way into town! Not a shock, as everyone got on the first 2 (different directions up my road, but both going into Huddersfield), but anyway…
Mind, the First farce (beneficially) continued, as the 9.27 Trans Pennine Express train was running 7 minutes late (the last of the 3 I was hoping to catch), so got it by the skin of my teeth. Just as well, because the 9.46 was late as well, and I would have been late on its normal time, so by then…rolls eyes…
The presentation went fine, as much as I can tell, I tried to entertain, as well as inform, and hopefully that worked for 10-15 minutes. Got a round of applause, which I hope wasnt just polite, anyway… No, sorry readers, no film of that presentation exists, so you’ll just have to believe me lol! But yes, praise for where I work, and attitude to transgender workers, and all that, played up just how lovely our office was!
I’m glad I stayed the rest of the day, some other very interesting talkers as well, I must say.
And then yesterday, in the end, I ended up in Leeds again. I know, dont go there for 15 months, then twice in 2 days! First ‘excelled’ themselves again on that journey too, the bus from here was a few minutes late, but nothing dramatic. Snag was, I needed to then get a bus to Bradford, to meet up with someone to get to a meal, and a play last night, and that was pretty much due. 8 minutes later, it finally turned up! So much for going a bus early, so I could draw some money for the evening. In fact, due to her inability to drive at a reasonable speed, and her desire to argue with customers, we rolled (finally) into Bradford 16 minutes late! I got some money out of a machine, and moved as quick as my body would take me to the office, and was only just late!
The meal was nice, the amusing moment being my first UK meal as a ‘senior citizen’. Yes, its 4 months away, but i’m sorry, a bargain is a bargain, and I’m close enough! :p Yes, not my first, because in the US, at Denny’s, if you have a British appetite, and a friendly server, you can get senior meals before you’re 50 lol! Been there, done that!
Ah, now to the play, which was a good type of farce, and very entertaining too, thanks to Cookridge Amateur Dramatics Society. Very funny, well acted, and set in the West Country, which explains the video shortly. Traditional stuff, lots of confusion over identities and the like, lots of other mayhem, and a delightful ending. Been there, done that probably, but about 20 years ago (or so), so it was fun to see one done from an audience perspective. For readers in the Leeds area, I gather there will be a Panto, sometime around February, so keep your eyes peeled.
Tomorrow, for the first time in 5 days, I need to find my way to the office again. Wednesday was the presentation, and I took today off, because I knew I’d be late home last night, and wouldnt want to get up early. Unfortunately, someone forgot I was off today, and woke me at 6.30 when I hadnt showed signs of life! Still, went back to sleep, all fine…
Oh, and one more thing for tomorrow, my new ‘old crock’ chair has seemingly arrived in my absence. I assume it wont look like a brainwashing, or electric chair, but a woman can hope! 😛
Right, the video. I was thinking of ‘Let Me Entertain You’, but then I found this. West Country, pertinent title for a farce, and…those of a sensitive nature probably shouldnt play it!
Firstly let me say that I didnt see this on TV last night, only finding out about it after it had all happened. Besides which, given I tend to avoid this sort of reality TV, I probably wouldnt have watched it, even if I had known, given what I’ve since read of her views beforehand. Yes, but for Twitterverse, I might never have known about it, though given the coverage it got this morning, that might have been hard to miss!
So my views are more my own, and as much as I could gather from comments from Twitter, and various media outlets, which may not be all that reliable.
Right, disclaimer over. Thats right, for those in the UK at least, who might know about it, the C4 program last night, A Week As A Muslim, is what I’m talking about tonight. For those elsewhere in the world, well, you’ve seen as much of it as I have!
It seems to be the classic TV take on something like this, take a self admitted non-fan of Muslim people, and get her to live as a Muslim for a week, and film events as they happen. I’m going to use that term, for now. She might have been worse than a non-fan, but as I wasnt witness to that, I’ll leave it there. Part of the reaction against her seems to have related to the fact that she was ‘made up’ to look like she was a Pakistani, which worked both ways, garnering complaints from those who wished to point out that there are white people who are Muslim, so she didnt need to be ‘colored’, and from those who said that it wasnt done in a flattering way to Pakistani Muslims, but as that is Twitter hearsay, I’m not sure how much credence to give to that. None would probably be close to the mark, there are some ghastly views on Twitter, on both sides of the fence!
Of course, as fate would happen, she went to live with a Muslim family in Manchester, and it coincided with the bombing at the Manchester Arena, which led to her realizing, even more, just what ordinary, innocent Muslim people have to put up with from some ‘idiots’! She only faced it for a few days, but for so many more, its a sad fact of life, at all times. So wrong, so sad that there are people like that, but anyway…
For me, I think it would be fascinating to spend a week as a woman in a Muslim family. But yes, I wouldnt make for ‘great TV’ because I’m pro ordinary Muslim people anyway. No, I dont support the terrorist branches, but neither do most Muslim people here anyway! And lets face it, there are some pretty awful right wing white supremacist types around too! Oh fine, she wore a Hijab, but I know that if I was in that role, I would have wanted to go out in a Niqab, or Burqa, just to find out the real truth. Mind, I suspect the reality in Bradford might be different to Manchester, but in truth, no idea.
I have some experience in these matters now, of course. Before September, I’d heard stories of people deliberately ignoring people in wheelchairs, trying to pretend they werent there, but I hoped it was being exaggerated. Sadly, the answer was no, it isnt. When sat in one, people just looked away, had to literally be shouted at, to stop them walking in front of the moving wheelchair, and so much more. All the same, I’m looking forward (hopefully, health permitting) to experiencing ‘Round 2’ in May, in 3 airports (I need to transit going out, direct flight back), I must say.
I guess it might be an actress thing, the challenge of a new role, either in a production, or in this case, a real life situation. So yes, a week as a Muslim would be a very different show with me, but I guess I’ll never know what its like. Unless…?
Equally, of course, if Channel 4 want to consider making a show, a week as a robot, hmm, lol? 😉
The video, massive clue in the title. Live version, a very good one, mind, as I’ve used the original before.
One thing I’ve often heard said by disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs, is that a large number of people either tend to look away, or look over them, trying to pretend they’re not really there. In honesty, I’ve got to the point where I nearly always try to acknowledge them, even if only briefly in passing, simply to prove that I do know they’re there, and are happy to be seen with them.
The other group of people that I always try to acknowledge in a friendly way, are Muslim women wearing either the Niqab, or occasionally the Burqa, simply to show that I want to be friendly, and supportive of them, unlike sadly too many people nowadays. One thing I enjoy about Bradford is that nearly everybody I see, if not approving of such wear, at least doesnt react in a bad way. Mind, that might be because I only really see it being worn in the city center, though hopefully not the case.
But until now at least, the one thing I’ve never discovered is what life is like on the other side of the issue. Yes, I’d be fascinated to know what life is like inside of the Niqab, or Burka, and show my support for Muslim women who wear it that way, but I suspect its too complex a religious matter for it to ever happen. But yes, it would be both fascinating, and probably informative to spend a day wearing the Niqab, and seeing how people react to those wearing it. Probably only brave enough to do it somewhere like Bradford, or similar community, if going out, but as a whole, just seeing what life dressed like that would be a fascinating experience, and probably one that if more people tried it, we might have a lot less religious issues in the world too.
Yes, I am saying that if someone offers me the chance to wear Niqab, or Burka, either privately, or outside, then I would love to do it. And if it can be done in a way that brings up positive publicity for Muslim women, then so much the better!
Equally, fortunately, up to now, I’ve never known what its like to spend time in a wheelchair. I must have done as a child, when my knees were wrecked at the age of 9 or 10, but you dont expect me to remember that, do you? But at least on that point, in 5-6 weeks time, I’m going to get to see how people react to me in a wheelchair. Will they look me in the face, and be supportive, or will they try to pretend I’m not really there, hmm?
Yes, I have to be practical about my flights in a few weeks time. Currently I can walk to a pretty reasonable degree, and I can sit down without too many pain issues, though how much of that is currently clouded by painkillers, I have no idea! However, the one thing I cant do at present for more than a few minutes, is stand still. And yes, while the check in queue, and the security check queue will require some standing in line, you usually move along at regular intervals, which may, or may not be sufficient for my back not to lock up completely. However, when it comes to the queue at Boston, to go through Immigration principally, and Customs to a lesser degree, is that you tend to stand in 1 place, in a queue, for far longer than that. Now it is possible that in 5 weeks time, my back may be less of an issue, but until I’m on proper medication, I wouldnt like to bank on that. Even if on proper medication, I dont want to be confident on that, and not sure we will reach that point in 5 weeks, anyway.
So yes, today I’ve bitten the bullet (you have to give a minimum of 2 weeks warning, but being realistic, I’m not going to improve dramatically in 3 weeks), and requested assistance from the airline for my travels through the airports. Yes, I know I need it, but that doesnt stop the guilt factor, when I can walk reasonably well, but thats just my nature, I guess?
But yes, it will be fascinating to see how ‘fit people’ react to this ‘poor old lady’ in a wheelchair, I must say. So yes, if on 9th September, at Manchester Airport (or Boston later that day), you see a middle aged lady in a wheelchair, be nice to her, it might just be me! Yes, same plan booked for JFK flying back on evening of 18th, just saying…I wonder?
Right, video time. No, I have no plans to be wearing this while sat in my wheelchair, though it might be fun if I was! But yes, feel free to look at me, all the same!