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The Chairborne Identity / 4 July 2012

I should give you my car-keys, you could park my car anyday.

That's amazing, I couldn't do that with a wheelchair.

You really can get around in that tiny space, well done.

 

And I boil. Spontaneous anger drives me to growl:

Carkeys? Hand over your spine, I've got wheels of my own.

You are so clever walking; I couldn't, not with those legs!

And: Congratulations, you really do work those legs well, amazing you don't even fall over...

 

There is no real logic to this rudeness. I wasn't born with wheels and there is a skill to living and working with them, so why do I get so offended when wheelless admire my dexterity and adaptability?

Why do I feel so patronised? Why can't I stay cool and offer a lighter reply?

Why have I not developed skills to prompt people to rethink the way they see me?

 

Thank you, I do specialise in Ferraris, but could probably manage a Bugatti...

No, it does take skill, practice and a brain cell or two...want to give it a go?

And: Yes, I am rather good at this, for a female I have brilliant spatial awareness!

 

When somebody opens the lid and the opportunity for change presents itself, why are we so obsessed with the shape of the box that contains us?

 

 

I used to take words for granted

and not just because I can read.

I used to recycle, but not any more,

it's an option for folk with both feet on the floor.

 

I used to just drive on my own,

without the kerfuffle and fuss.

I used to enjoy going out for a meal,

aware how much fun spontaneous feels.

 

I used to be tall; wear a hat,

take the train to town for a show.

I used to be free to roll over in bed,

but now I'm supported by cushions instead.

 

I used to air-kiss with my friends,

propel, with my hand on their back.

I used to be one of the good and the glad

now I am "merely" the chairborne; the bad.

 

 

Keywords: disability,disability equality training,everyday experience,identity,poetry,relating to wheelchairs,the chairborne identity,wheelborne