Thursday, February 23, 2006

What happened to good television???

I've long understood that your average ABC, NBC, CBS, CBC, and CTV (Canada), FOX have let more and more crap seep through their programming. We still had good channels like TLC, A&E, The Discovery Channel, and PBS. Now it seems like PBS may be the only decent contender left standing. The ironic thing is I hardly watch PBS. I was perusing the TV listings for this evening and found TLC to be showing: "It's Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy" and "The Man Whose Arms Exploded". Lastnight they had "The 700 Pound Man" and "The Boy Without a Face". If you turn over to A&E you get lovely alternatives like "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" and "Growing Up Gotti". Not to mention the usual slop of shows like "Big Brother", "Wife Swap", "The Swan", and "Extreme Makeover" (not the Home Edition, which is tolerable). I am disgusted by media. Disgusted. Dis. Gus. Ted. Run for cover now, folks, the people growing up on this crap will be running this planet soon. Donald Trump help us all.


Monday, February 20, 2006

And I believe this is the last word on the subject in question...

Met up with that guy yesterday. He called me 6 days after the date that wasn't a date. We decided to meet up in the afternoon. I must say it was a really nice day. We did some cultural city stuff and then went for coffee. While we were walking around things were nice and relaxed, we were joking around and I was really having a good time. Then we went for coffee and things got a little weird from there. He finished his drink first and I was still working on mine. Conversation got a little stilted again, but I'm used to that. I was still putting out those "I'm interested" signals, but trying not to hit him over the head with it, you know? Then I just noticed that he seemed really uncomfortable all of a sudden. He wasn't looking at me much, his eyes darting around to my left and my right. I finally finished up my drink and said "shall we go". I don't know if it was my imagination, but he said "yes" perhaps a little too quickly. We get outside and I said it was a fun day. He said "yes, we'll have to meet up again sometime". Then he said "I'm going this way" so I said "bye" and we went our separate ways. It was a bit confusing at first, but after analyzing everything that's gone on so far (with the help of some friends), I realize that things are not going to be going on in the date fashion. I was a little angry about it coz he shouldn't have accepted to go on a date with me if he wasn't going to consider it a date. But then again, I have to realize that it's not easy to turn someone down and he is kinda awkward himself, and that he probably wanted to hang out as friends and so said yes. So, I will readjust myself, although I'm a little sad. I will refrain from any further signalling, remain friendly and just generally tone it down a notch and see where that goes. Bah humbug! ;)

Levels of appropriateness

Despite my desire not to work with the disabled community, I found myself working with just that population a couple of years ago. You would think that those who work with disability would be a little more enlightened about disability. As I'm sure many of you have experienced, this is far from being usually the case. My boss at the time was, well... (looking for a nice word for a lunatic...) ... odd. At the beginning, things were fine. She was very nice and supportive. Then one day she went ballistic. I had forgotten to do something. Totally my fault. I apologized and felt bad. It should have been over and done with, but no... she brings it up again a couple months later when she is not happy with my performance. You don't need to know the details, just enough of that background to understand the rest. I told her I had to write things down as people tell them to me, or else it's gone. Her next question to me was: "Do you have a shunt?". Holy freaking cow! I was dumbfounded! I could not believe she asked me that. I was so incredilous, in fact, that I could think of nothing to do but answer her "no". Now, for those of you who may not know about a shunt, it is a tube inserted in the head to drain water that forms on the brain in a condition called hydrocephalus, which is a condition that sometimes is associated with my disability, spina bifida.

That was pretty freakin' inappropriate in my opinion. I thought someone who had spent 15+ years working with people with disabilities would know enough to differentiate that I am a co-worker and NOT a patient. My work there, luckily, ended very shortly afterwards.

I work in a hospital now. I find that working with patients can be interesting and many of them ask me about my disability. Who asks, and the context, will determine the answer I give. I do find a small number of colleagues ask me. I had a physio ask me once and she said she was curious as it was her profession to work with people with disabilities. I answered her coz I liked her. I've had other colleagues who ask me and I tell them I'd rather not answer. But, I am uncomfortable telling someone that what they've just asked me is inappropriate. I am all to aware of the "bitch" image that we can get when we get angry at others for trying to help or being curious or whatever.

I've also had doctors who tell me I am very independent. (Duh!... thanks, I didn't know). I guess by comparison I am able to move more than many others with disabilities. But, my arms work perfectly so why the hell should it be so amazing that I can... actually... use... them?

A disabled but able to walk friend of mine once told me that when she was younger she thought she was pregnant. She went to her doctor and her doctor immediately booked an abortion for her without asking her for consent or even her wishes.

Taxi drivers ask me why I don't take the disabled transit service. (I do, by the way, just not all the time).

A academic/vocational counselor, when I approached her for help on getting into the social work program suggested I do some volunteer work with the paraplegic association. When I told her I wasn't interested in working with people with disabilities she said "how about the association for the blind"?

Someone tried to pay for me in the grocery store once.

Someone tried to give me money while I was waiting at a corner for friends (wearing an expensive suede jacket and bunch of large university text books on my lap). He asked if I were really disabled. I said "uhhh, yes..." and when he proceeds to give me some change, I tell him I am not begging but simply waiting.

A neighbour who offers help every time I see them.

A landlord who won't change the direction of a bathroom door so I can fit in and rent the apartment with some privacy when I have guests.

A landlord who tells me he can take the bathroom door right off so I can fit in and rent the apartment without some privacy when I have guests.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Eight thousand three hundred and sixty-two

You know when you get that comment about how you better slow down or you'll get a speeding ticket? I've always wanted to get the nerve to just answer something like "8362". And when I get that puzzled look, I'll explain "the number of times I've been told that comment by someone who thinks they're the first and that they've just come up with something really, really funny."

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Big D

So, it has been. Yes, last night was the big date with the guy in question. How did it go, you may ask? I wish I could answer that clearly! But truthfully, I have no freaking clue! I am SO confuuuuuuused!

I took about an hour and a half to get all gussied up. That included a nice, long shower, nails, hand care, hair, make-up. I don't usually do that routine, but for special occasions it's a nice treat. I don't wear a lot of make-up, but I have very sensitive skin that flushes easily. So, I had bought this cream blush that had a very natural "rosy cheek" colour. When I dabbed it on (an hour before I was supposed tomeet him), my cheeks went "poof". Red, red, red!!! By the end of the evening they were back to normal, but I'm not sure of their state when I got to the restaurant.

We met at the restaurant at 7:00 p.m., arriving at the same time. I was so freaking nervous I thought I was going to swallow my tongue. But once we were seated at the table I became calmer. When I took off my coat, he seemed to look pleased at my attire, but perhaps a bit surprised. I took a positive mental note. I ordered a glass of red wine, he ordered a beer. We made small talk for a while. I felt like a complete chatter box whenever there was silence, but I did wait for him to speak often and introduce a subject.

By 8:40 we were done (tea but no dessert). The bill came and he goes to pay for it. I object, saying I asked him out. He was determined not to let me pay the whole thing, but I was determined not to let him pay the whole thing either. So he finally says "how about we go halfsies". I had to agree. So, we split the bill and then set out to leave. Outside he said "would you like me to walk you home?". This perked me up as I felt it was a good sign. We walked home. The entrance to my building is a bit back from the street, so I stopped on the sidewalk as we approached and said "this is me". He said good night and I said "give me a call". He said "ok" and left.

That was it.

No hug.

No kiss on the cheek even.

Technically this would be the 3rd time we've met up. But was this a date? I was pretty sure that I had set the tone for a "date". I figured using the term "dinner date" and "Friday night" were pretty darn clear indicators of this being a date. And, I mean, if that wasn't clear enough, it should have been clear by the way I was dressed! He was dressed in grey slacks, a striped dress shirt and a sweater. I don't know, am I reading too much into this? Was the walking home thing a male chivalrous thing regardless of date status? Does someone really agree to a dinner date without considering it a dinner date? I didn't feel comfortable making another first move like going to give him a hug at the end. Damn it, I want some of that from him.

So, I guess whatever is up, the ball is in his court. I told him to call me so I will wait to see how he responds. I suppose he could just be THAT reserved that this will be painfully slow if it does go anywhere. Or it could be that I've created a situation that doesn't really exist. To be continued...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

How much is really in our head?

So, my upcoming date started me thinking. My dating life has been pretty barren, to put it mildly. I've always had this struggle with myself, trying to reason things out.

As I've already mentioned, and I'm sure is pretty clear anyway, I think too much. I overanalyze everything. So how much does disability really get in the way of "normal" life; having friends, "normal" family dynamics (whatever they are), going on dates, having a sex life, going to university, having a career, getting married, having children... etc? I tend to think it gets in the way quite a bit, but there's that nagging question of whether it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've always been told (by my mother) that life would be harder for me. And in many ways it has been. I'm mid-thirties and my professional and personal life are not near those of my able-bodied peers. Now, I know for sure that there are a lot of people out there who either a) wouldn't give a disabled person the time of day, b) will think that they always have to help a disabled person because things are "harder" for them, c) will look out them as heroes ("bravo") for simply living, d) will always be nervous around a disabled person for fear of not knowing what to do/saying the wrong thing. Those 4 aspects don't cover 100% of people, for sure. But, would you say they cover over half? How much of this barrier inside my head is really inside my head and how much of it is an actual barrier? I phrased that wrong... an internal barrier is still an actual barrier. But how much of it is barriers we make ourselves as opposed to barriers imposed on us. Yes, the barrier inside my head is shaped by external barriers, certainly, but it's still something which I have control over. Yet, letting go of it means facing my fears. Huge fears. Gargantuan fears. What if I'm right? What if it really isn't all in my head? Ok, I know it's not all in my head, and I also know it's not all out of my head. There are many people with disabilities who get married, have kids, lead full lives doing what they enjoy. And then there are the shut-ins. And a whole spectrum of people in between.

No matter how much someone tells me I have the right to make friends with or date who I want, it doesn't allieviate that fear. The fear's too big. Of course I have the right. I have the right to walk too, but I can't do it. I can have the right to do anything, but if you get shot down all the time what the hell good is that right? And you don't always know you'll get shot down before you try... but sometimes you do. Often you do. And regardless, that little nagging voice in my head says that that chance negates the right I have to what I want in the first place. It negates it. Totally negates it.

I've had many friends come and go. I've even had men interested in me (considerably less than many). But I don't want just anyone. The few men who have shown an interest are men that I have not been interested in. The first person I dated was someone I wasn't interested in, but I didn't know it at the time. I was so overwhelmed with feeling someone else's interest in me that it overshadowed my own lack of interest. I have become quite cynical and jaded in my life. I find very few people really, truly interest me. I've tried to challenge that, but it doesn't feel right. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is tough when they bore and annoy you. Being disabled has made me see the world in a very different way than I might otherwise have seen it. But then again, maybe not. Maybe I would have thought this way regardless. I'm not interested in going out partying every Saturday night. I like wine and beer and vodka, but I enjoy downing a Coke more than anything. Sure, I like to look good, but I hardly wear make-up and find less and less will I sacrifice comfort for fashion. I don't care too much what my friends look like either. I say "too much" because yes, I do care a little. I wouldn't want to be with someone who shows up at a fancy restaurant in sweat pants, really.

A couple friends have asked me what attracts me to my near future date. I find it hard to pin down. He's balding, has a big nose, is extremely formal when we're setting up plans. If we're meeting in 2 days he'll email me to say "I'll meet you on Tuesday, February 7th, at 7:00p.m. by the ticket office at such and such movie theatre". I find it amusing. I know he's nervous so I also find it a bit sweet, but maybe in 6 months it'll bug the crap out of me. We'll see. But for now, I'd much rather actually have someone who is real, down to earth, genuine, and doesn't seem to be fazed by my being in a wheelchair than spend my time swooning over someone I completely can't have, however smart, beautiful, witty and sarcastic they may be. (Gotta love that sarcasm!).

Friday, February 03, 2006


There's this elderly volunteer at work, who feels the need to say something to me every time he sees me. Yesterday it was "Bravo". Yeah. I'm glad it's Friday.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Long overdue

So, some things have been happening lately. Some good, some bad. I mentioned that I had found some casual work for a while. That will be full time until the end of March. After that, there may be a possibility to stay on, but it's all up in the air right now as the place is going through some major restructuring. Ahhhh, the trials and tribulations of funding. Anyway, I'm enjoying doing something different for now and certainly happy to have the hours. I had an interview for another job on Friday the 13th at the place I'm also employed as a casual worker, and was told we'd here about it by the end of the month. Well, yesterday I got a call from my boss at 5 minutes before the end of the work day. Can't be any more "by the end of the month" than that.. I guess she wasn't kidding! Anyway, I didn't get the job. But there are more opportunities coming. I know I interviewed very well for that position so I am disappointed about not getting it, but competition was stiff, so c'est la vie.

Now for the good. Last Thursday the coffee guy emailed me asking if I wanted to see a movie sometime. I emailed him back saying I'd love to, so he suggested that Sunday. We went to see Mrs. Henderson Presents. Lovely movie by the way. Nothing like a film with lots of naked men (full frontal, ladies) and women in it to put that final prod toward a budding relationship ;). After the movie he suggested we go for coffee and tried to pay again (he paid for the movie) and I said I'd take care of it coz he had paid for everything else up until now. We had a good time. He's opening up a bit more and seems slightly less quiet and nervous. Anyway, as datingly inept as I am, I wasn't sure what he really had in mind and if we were on the same wavelength. So, I couldn't stand the suspense and that nervous "I'm going to puke" feeling I was getting. Ok, it was actually a nice feeling, but I really wanted to know if we were dating or not. So I emailed him Monday to tell him I enjoyed the movie and had a great time talking to him over coffee and wondered if he'd "like to go on a dinner date some Friday evening". I figured that was pretty gosh darn clear. So, I waited. And I waited. And I checked my email. Every. Single. Hour. Practically. The pukiness feeling intensified and was interspersed with feelings of "oh my god, what have I done. I've made a mistake. I shouldn't have done that. I've probably gone and messed the whole thing up by forcing things and being too eager and scared him off and I'll just never date again ever in my entire life I'm a loser ugh."

Anyway, this afternoon right after lunch he replied saying he also had a great time and was glad we went for coffee afterwards and he would like to go on a dinner date with me. He suggested next Thursday, but said if Friday's were really better for me he wasn't available until the 17th. I figure sooner is better than later and I'll settle for the Thursday. He has long standing plans on Saturday nights so they're always out. I figure tomorrow I'll give him a call and take this off email finally.

So I'm going on a date. A real date. Oh my freakin' god! What should I wear? Where should we eat? What if he tries to pay again? What if he doesn't kiss me?? What if it's awful?

Tee hee :)