Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The World: NOT WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE!!!

Okay, so you don't notice how non-wheelchair accessible the world is until that is how you get your child (or yourself) around.

Just as an exercise, pay attention to this in your day. Make note of when you climb stairs, when you go over a ditch, when you aren't on smooth ground. I never made note of this previously, but now it is a pain in my butt.

Today, for instance. I was at Occidental College, my alma mater. I LOVE this place. My Mom taught there, I went there, it is in my blood. Before I went up to speak to the theater students up at Keck, I decided that some of my Mom's old co-workers might want to support her grandson. So I went to drop off flyers for Soren's fundraiser to the Math department. Sounds simple enough, right?

Wrong. Fowler Hall, where my Mom worked, is the most inaccessible place! I came from the quad (which at Oxy is not the far from the building I was going to. It's a small campus!) I realized I had to go into Coons, the administrative building to get up to Fowler because, otherwise, I would have to go upstairs. Well, I took the elevator up in Coons and then had to go down three stairs to get to the exit. LAME!

I four-by'ed Soren down the 3 stairs. Got out the door. 5 more steps I then had to GO DOWN! Then I rolled us to Fowler. Well, almost. There were 4 more steps I had to get down. BUT there was one of those "lifts" now used for old, inaccessible buildings. Mechanical contraptions that try to make the world wheelchair accessible but just look terrible. And to make this clunky thing worse, it wasn't freakin' working! So I four-by'ed it again down the steps.

We then went into the recently renovated Fowler Hall. My Mom worked here since the 70s. They renovated right before (and after) her death. Her office, over those many years was on the 4th Floor of Fowler. Those words are emblazoned in my brain. My Mom walked up and down those stairs every day of her working life. Though as she got sicker, this got more difficult. To accommodate this, her office was moved lower and lower, though the Math department is on the 3rd floor, so there was still at least one flight of steps she had to climb.

When the renovations were being planned, my Mom insisted that they put in an elevator. She fought hard for this and won. Unfortunately, she never got to ride in that much-needed elevator. But, thanks to her, her grandson can! Though, to get to the level with the elevator, you have to go up 6 more steps. Fortunately, there was a lift thing that actually worked to get us up to that level.

So we got to the offices, handed out the flyers, and headed back down. The elevator, then the lift. We were back outside. And here we ran into trouble. Though it's possible to go down steps with Soren's stroller, going up them is nearly impossible. I tried and tried. No go. I tried to reboot the lift. Nope. So we were stuck on this little island with no way to escape. Finally I begged a student to help me lift Soren to the mainland. Phew!

Then I had 5 more steps to muscle up. These were less steep then the others. I was wearing a sun dress and wedge heels. I kicked off my heels (the one day I don't wear shorts and flip-flops!) and pulled that 40 pound stroller carrying my 30 pound kid up those stairs. And it was hot in Eagle Rock yesterday so I was sweatin'.

Next time, I'm sending an email.

5 comments:

Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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