Category Archives: Wheelchair

If I was?

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.

Advertisements

You have the right to be free

Now this could be one of those fun postings tonight, given I’m not meant to make political comments about the UK, because of my job, so if it looks like I’m trying to avoid saying something, I probably am!

So lets start with the Brexit situation. Those who have been around a while will have an idea of my view on the matter, but we arent here to discuss, or mention that. Because for this piece at least, regardless of how it all plays out, my sympathy lies with those people here, who have moved here from the rest of Europe. Oh, and strictly, those British people now living in the rest of the EU. So why do I feel sympathy for them, its just the total feeling they must have, of not knowing how things will play out for them in the future.

No, I now have no plans to work permanently anywhere abroad (unless I get a never ending TV offer, or something, anyway, ha ha), though I still hope that maybe, just for a little while, either in standard work, or in media, that I get the chance to work in North America some day. Doubt it will happen now, especially with my current health, though I guess for some roles, someone who actually uses a wheelchair, some of the time, might be a benefit?

But for those who wish to do so, either here, or in Europe, its a bit of a ‘no mans land’ situation at present. I just hope that sometime, at some point, the whole matter can get settled in a satisfactory manner.

The other matter that has saddened me again is religion. Again, I’m not going to (hopefully) get involved too politically in this, though thankfully this isnt a UK issue anyway.

I may not be the most religious person in the whole wide world, though I always state I’m Christian on those forms you have to fill in, I’m certainly not an ‘every Sunday’ churchgoing type, or anything. In fact, if anything, I’m probably multi-religious (if possible), or for want of another term, I take the best of many religions, and try to live life like that.

Unsurprisingly, given I work in Bradford, I work with a good number of Muslim people. Now, as a Trans person, you might think some might look down on me because of that. In fact, in truth, its just the opposite. To say that they’ve taken me, and my situation to heart, and have supported me, is putting it mildly! Thats not to say that everyone in the office hasnt done the same, but if you believed some of those right wing ‘crazies’, well…Not that they like LGBT folk on the whole, but to their way of thinking, I’d have major issues, nothing of the sort.

In truth, probably inspired by one woman in the office, who may recognize herself, but I’m not naming her, and the example she sets, I’d probably be more at peace as a Muslim woman, than being involved with some of the Christian folk around today. There are a number of lovely Christian people in truth, but in terms of a peaceful religious lifestyle, guess which one wins out for me?

I know, someone is going to shout IS at me, and fair enough. But do you know what percentage of Muslims actually support IS? A tiny fraction, if that many! Bit like saying all the Christians in the world are of the LGBT hating, bible bashing type, so untrue!

Oh fine, I’ll get to the main matter at last. Another Country has banned the Burka, and Niqab, and now a Canadian State is in the process of following suit. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m sad to see this. Let me say that I would say that I would love to see women given the choice of whether to wear it, or not, and I suspect for most, they do get that choice. There may be some that dont get that choice, of course, but I do wish they could have their say. But yes, I feel the ban, thankfully only abroad at present is the wrong way to go.

Me, yes, absolutely, if I was Muslim, I’d happily wear it. But fine, I’m submissive anyway, so I guess the nature of wearing it appeals to me regardless? I’m delighted that most women here only have to wear the Hijab (forgive my spelling on these items, if wrong), if that is all that they, and their family want them to wear! Me, I’d love to experience what wearing a Niqab, or Burka is like, both as a support to Muslim women, and their choice to wear what they want, and also because, as I suspect what counts as ‘Actress curiosity’, I’d be fascinated to know what its like, both my reaction, and others to my wearing of one. If anyone could give me the opportunity, without upsetting Muslim people…?

Yes, the experience I gained of using a wheelchair last month, at airports, was an eye opener, and not in a good way. I’d heard people say that people will try and ignore anyone in a wheelchair, and I’d have to say in 90% of cases, they’d be right! Maybe one day, they will be in that same position, I wonder how they will feel then? Yes, it would be interesting to walk out dressed in Niqab, or Burka, completely covered in that way, and even in Bradford, a multi cultural city, see how many people would actually look me in the eye? Hmm?

OK, video time. Something a bit different tonight. I was 13 when this came out, and it struck a chord with me, even though at that age the sentiments meant little to me. Now they mean a lot more. I actually looked up Les Crane on Wikipedia, and seemingly he was far more than a one hit wonder!

Political correctness stupidity

One of those ‘grumpy old lady’ moments that I hope some enjoy at least. Yes, I understand that many things need to be done ‘politically correctly’ nowadays, but there are times when its taken too far. Let children grow up as children, for pity’s sake!

The PC furore I ran into today, was over a dress that Disney are apparently trying to sell to young children, or more correctly, their parents, for their young daughters. Which one, you might be asking, or maybe you’ve already guessed? Pocahontas!

I know, young white children, wearing an outfit of a Native American character, I can see, in a perfect world, some might not see it as an ideal scenario. But seriously, some of the ‘moral minority’ were making it sound like it was a treasonous crime, for heavens sake! I’m sorry, but girls under the age of 10 dont know, or care about politics, let it be known! All they know, is that they’ve seen the movie, loved the character, and want to dress like her. Presumably at this time of year, it could be as a Halloween outfit (which is crazily huge in US), or maybe something else, though I would assume the former.

What I want these people to do, is stop and think. Lets see, if young girls want to (in their minds at least) look like a Native American woman, isnt it more likely that when they grow up, that they will be more supportive of said community? Whereas if they are stopped from wearing it, to appease the politically correct people, arent they more likely to dislike said community, for stopping their dressing up fun as a child?

Now, I’m not saying my logic is perfect, as presumably, if parents are happy for their daughter to dress up as Pocohontas in the first place, then they’re not likely to be right wing white supremacists! I know, I know, Disney are only in it to make money, lets face it, but…if young girls (and dare I even suggest this, young boys?), want to dress as Pocohontas, then let them! Their precious childhood is but for a few years, so let them enjoy it. They can get into the sad realities of life when they get old enough, and hopefully wise enough to still want to support Native Americans living in the US.

Lets cheat, and include the video here, as this is what it relates to. The song is from 1960, this version is from 2009, and still pretty good!

OK, lets have an actress moment, as it loosely relates to a similar sort of issue. I know, I’m blessed that at the moment, I only need a wheelchair for matters involving standing in one place for very long. Others, it has to be pointed out, are not so fortunate. But practically, for me at present, pretty much any acting role (stop laughing, I know) would require me to be in a wheelchair for most, if not all of the performance, pretty much the latter in truth. A fact that you may, or may not know, most roles in the movies (and other parts) requiring people to be in a wheelchair, are played by people who dont need one! Oh fine, Patrick Stewart was magnificent as Magneto, and Raymond Burr (for the oldies among my readers) was great as Ironside, but…a disabled actor might have been just as good! I know, these arent female parts, but as good examples…And yes, I’d love to play a female Davros type (of Dalek fame) role, not that most would be surprised by that fact lol!

I know, I’m a bit of an in bet-weenie, in that I would need a wheelchair at present to act in the theater, or a movie at present, but its not a permanent state for me. As I said before, some are not so lucky, but yes, especially after the last fortnight, I have even more knowledge of what their life is like. Yes, its true, far too many people really do try to avoid catching your eye, or even acknowledging your presence, when you’re in a wheelchair, believe me, I now know!

But yes, if you, or anyone you know, either here in the UK, or in North America knows of a part suitable for a 60(ish) woman in a wheelchair, of decent acting standard, then feel free to let me know, c/o of stephmajor8@hotmail.com , or even better, contact a lovely agency in LA, and let them know. Their twitter address is @cgemLLC , or their website is cgem-llc.com . Just tell them that Stephanie Carpenter (the name I use on Twitter) sent you, and you’ll probably make their day, as much as mine! Go on, just think of the disability kudos it gets you, lol! Could make my dream come true too!

Oh, and tomorrow, back to the day job! Wish me luck!

Dear idiot, in seat 5A, and others!

Fine, I’ll get to the title matter in a minute, but for now…

Sunday evening started with a change of plans, a trip to the cinema, to see It. No, not the 1927 silent movie starring Clara Bow, though I’m sure she would have looked adorable, even in a clowns outfit. No, this was the recent (shock horror) movie based on the Stephen King book instead. Something very different for me, but impressed with it, all the same. Mind, the final outcome (of this section at least) appealed to me no end. The actress playing Beverley caught this actresses eye, as someone to watch for the future, just saying…

After that, a dose of ‘The Orville’ which is a new series on Fox over there, which seems to be a witty take off of Original Star Trek, among other things. Yes, the big attraction for me, the chrome robot, no surprise. Yes, if they ever want an actress to play his female companion… 😉 Suspect its just CGI, in truth, sadly. Not sure when I see any more of it mind, over here, but will keep an eye out for that.

Yesterday was the last full day (for a while) in the US, most of which I just spent relaxing, before heading for home, via JFK, in a shuttle. Yes, wisdom prevailed, given the state of my body at present, only way to go. Before that, I did get to see the Creature from the Black Lagoon thing, though sadly not wearable lol. But if anyone wants to make one, and let me wear it…?

Beyond the traffic levels to JFK (its NYC, for pity’s sake), that all went smoothly, and so did the ride through security. Then the fun began! I was taken to the gate on my boarding pass, for my plane home, fine. Thing was, the departures board was showing a different gate, some distance away, and some ‘know all’ told me my plane was going from there. So I struggled down there, only to find a short while later that my pusher had known what she was doing, and the know all was an idiot! So yes, I struggled back to the original gate I’d been left at.

There was 1 wheelchair waiting there, mine, and yes, someone came this time, and took me to the plane. At this point, someone asked me to swap seats, so he could sit with someone, and I agreed. Unfortunately, the idiot I soon discovered I had the ‘delights’ of sitting next to on the way home, thought rules were for everyone but himself. As in, mobile phones must be switched off before leaving the gate, and only be put back on, in flight mode, when we were in the air. Him, oh no! Trying to hide from everyone (very badly) that he was still using his phone after this point, and indeed continued to use it, until after the plane accelerated for take off. Even then, I’m not sure if he switched it off, or just hid it away. He was certainly still doing something with it post take off (not meant to be switched back on while seat belt light is on), so who knows? Put it this way, he was still using it this morning, up to, and including landing, long again after having been told to turn it off. Oh, and then everyone else decided to be an idiot, as more than half the people in the plane were standing up, long before the seat belt light went off at Manchester.

Then it got, err, better! There was only 1 wheelchair used at JFK to load a passenger, mine! So, at Manchester, only 1 is sent to the plane, to disembark me. Thing is, seemingly, 5 other people then decided they needed a wheelchair to disembark, despite not requesting one. My name was called, I stood up to get in, and another woman took my chair! She clearly wasnt going to move willingly, so in the end, they tried to round up another wheelchair for me, only to discover 4 more people wanting one! No, Manchester Airport doesnt employ psychics, to know that all these additional people suddenly would want a chair.

Finally, and I do mean finally, I was on the move. Snag was, with 4 pushers, and 6 chairs, movement was erratic, and slow. Not improved when I finally got to passport control, and there is a group of 3, from the sub continent, who were clearly being shifty about their reasons for entering the country. Finally, he decided to let them in, I passed through quickly, but then we had to get all these wheelchairs down to baggage claim. Then pick out the right black expanding suitcase, from dozens of them, but we got there in the end. So only about an hour later than expected, freedom, and greetings! Then at last, go home!

Oh, and one last thing before we move on from the holiday, and back to more mundane events, one of the movies shown on the flight across. A movie called Blended, which given my knowledge of modern movies, I had to look up when I got home. Take my advice, give it a miss. It has a shocking review rating, and the actress in the main female lead role was dreadful. One look on her face throughout the movie, basically rabbit caught in headlights! Yes, I swear even now, after a few years off, I could have acted the pants off her! So come on Hollywood, let me prove it, lol!

Thats it, then. Lets close by thanking Kate, Stacie, and Eric (mainly, but there were others) for such a marvelous holiday experience. Yes, being Maid of Honor, at a wedding, very special.

So what happens now? Another suitcase, in another hall (Evita)? Probably not! To a big degree, a lot depends what the doctors say about my back in the next couple of weeks, and how many days of work, per week, I can get through, post medication. I’m currently suspecting the answer will be 4, but we will see. Maybe a magic cure, or a nice new cybernetic body lol? Oh, I wish for the latter! I suspect I will be getting the airport wheelchair experience again too, but we will see?

In theory, if I could get there next month, I could go to NYC again for a reading for a production by 2 friends, surrounding the life of Clara Bow, but money (definitely), and holiday time (possibly) mean thats unlikely to happen. Ah well, might have knocked them over on Broadway, especially if they were looking for a middle aged woman confined to a wheelchair for a role lol. Still, keep on dreaming…

Right, video time. One thing a plane is called, is a silver machine, though I doubt thats what they’re talking about here! Dont think its a robotizing pod either, but its almost more likely! Yes, thats Lemmy, of Motorhead fame!

Two out of three aint bad

Well, this is it, last UK blog for a little while, though I’m sure that if you’re good, you’ll get a few from the US, assuming Hurricane Irma doesnt decide to come and visit Cape Cod at least. If it does, all bets are off lol!

If you’re wondering about the blog title, its a ‘witty’ comment on my week. Tuesday, I became an, err, natural blonde again, when I went and had my hair colored around the corner, in preparation for the holiday. Yes, I am joking about the natural bit, if anyone was stupid enough to think otherwise! I will be back there shortly after the holiday is over, for another reason. Due to the wedding, I’ve been trying (mostly in vain) to grow my hair out, in case I need to put it up for the wedding. Well, I still wouldnt call it bounteous, but its more than I normally have. And yes, its beginning to annoy lol. So it will be getting clipped back to a more 30’s length very soon after I get back!

Secondly, yesterday, a lovely lady named Linda did her best (my body is the spoiler, not her skills) to get me in reasonable shape for the trip, and to get my nails looking all pretty as well. In truth, beyond my back, my body actually isnt in bad condition (relatively) at present, due to some suggested knee exercises given to me by the Occupational Health Dept at work. I must admit, I was cynical as to how well they would work, but fine, I’ve been amazed how much better they are, so…

Lastly, and with no thanks to First Buses on this (invisible bus syndrome this morning), I went over to Bradford today, for the bone density scan tests. Yes, I know, dont have to go to Bradford today for work, and still end up going there! I must say the staff at St Lukes were nice, and very efficient, so swiftly dealt with, and on my way again.

Oh, the two out of three bit? Well, it was a radio-logical x-ray, and I was sort of hoping that those beams would do something amazing to my body, and I’d come out looking like a 30 year old version of my past life dancer self, but it never happened. No, I didnt really think it would, but no harm in hoping lol!

Beyond that, most of the stuff I’m taking with me is packed in the case, pretty much anything left out is the stuff I need tonight and/or in the morning. I plan to wear the corset brace in the morning, because I will have to wait at check in, before being put into a wheelchair, and also to offer some support for moving the case along. I plan to get it off before the flight though, its just too warm wearing something made of neoprene for about 12 hours. Maybe I need to lose a few pounds in weight, but thats not a favored way of doing it!

Ah, the wheelchair. Yes, I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that it is wise, fine, and fully permitted for me to have one, but I still feel slightly guilty, all the same. If anyone wants to mentally solve that issue for me, feel free to do so! Yes, I’d enjoy that! 😉

At least there was one other piece of good news today, the swimsuit finally arrived, with the emphasis on finally. I’ll be honest, after 2 false starts, I didnt believe it was coming, even when I had an email telling me it was, until they delivered it at the door. Studio.co.uk are the shambles of a company that I would advise anyone not to ever purchase from!

Right, video time. Going back to the blog title, for one of the lesser known Meatloaf/Steinman songs, that is very apt here.

PS, If anyone does want to put me in a transformation chamber, and make me look like a young Clara Elaine Johnson, or Jean Harlow, feel free to contact me lol!

The art of tipping

One big difference I quickly noticed between the UK, and the US, is the subject mentioned above, that of tipping people.

Over here, it is done, to varying degrees, but in truth beyond taxi drivers, I’m not a great one for doing it, unless the service really deserves it. Whereas in the US, tipping is seen as a must, for almost anything service oriented, including I’m told, ordering drinks in a bar! No, I’ve never walked into a bar, and just ordered a drink, so wouldnt have a clue, not enough of a drinker for that. I have been in bars, I might add, but eaten as well, so I tip, so…no idea?

Thankfully I’d remembered this from my first trip in the 80’s, so never forgotten to do it on future visits. Mind, I used to do 10%, and I gather now that 15% is supposedly about the minimum, so thats what I do now. The thing for me, is with restaurants, taxis, and the like, you have a figure to work with, so I tend to add about 15% (to the nearest half dollar) and leave it at that.

But now I’ve got an issue that I cant solve by percentage, how much do you tip for a free service, especially in US? Yes, in the sense that I assume you tip (especially in US) the person who pushes you around at the airport, in your wheelchair, as will happen to me on Saturday. I mean, any percentage of free, is still zero! I’m sure they dont expect a fortune, but I suspect they expect a small gratitude, and of course, I havent got a clue, as a first timer! At least I hope its relatively small, lol, I’m not that wealthy!

I know, the chances of my readers being in a position where they know is possibly slim, but its a worthy question to ask, and worst case scenario, someone might know someone who uses, or provides the service, and they can advise? I know, just me, but I just want to do the right thing, thats all. Thanks in advance.

Right, video time. I wanted to find, if possible, a video of a song, sung by someone in a wheelchair, and I found this. Interesting cover version, thats for sure.

Come on, and look at me!

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!