Accessibility and Judgment at Broadway

Today, I want to talk about one of the reoccurring experiences I still struggle with accepting and going through, and that is first of all, how the lack of accessibility and modification of transportation in NYC is a huge detriment to many people who need it to get around and get opportunities.  Second of all, being strong enough to withstand judgment from others, whether friends or strangers, on your invisible needs, and probably getting judged for it.

One thing I constantly have to be conscious of is how quickly I use up my spoons for the day.   I modified some of my plans to tailor it to my needs, such as taking the train station in that is direct into the city.  Second of all, I decided in the cause of preserving my energy, I used the elevator once I got into Penn Station.  Third of all, even though I ran into a minor bump by trying to order a Lyft, and then ending up taking a taxi, I met up with my friends and got my taco as well.  The broadway show Cats was a little weird since I felt there was no plot, but nevertheless I enjoyed the experience.

I was a bit tired, but during intermission went to seek out the handicap bathroom in which I found myself in a line of mostly elderly people with bad hips and canes.  I knew I looked like I didn’t belong there, but I also knew in my mind and heart that I deserved to be there and it was my right to use that bathroom.  What wore me down a little was a few ushers swinging by, looking right at me and speaking mostly directly to me that they “highly encourage those who are capable of taking the stairs to do so with the one downstairs”… after the second time, I got a bit defensive and exhausted, and told them there was a reason why I was using that bathroom in particular.

It was also annoying that the old lady in front of me invited another older man to cut in front to use the bathroom…  I let him do so, but I wasn’t sure if it was out of kindness or guilt that I didn’t belong there.

Later on, we quickly racked up prices in using Uber to get around to the udon restaurant… It sucks that this is an extra price to pay as someone who has disability conditions, much like a woman having to pay for tampons and other needs just because she’s born with a vagina and menstruation cramps.

The world isn’t fair, and we have to try to find the courage to speak up for ourselves and for others.  Acceptance is key, and I’m on my way there before I can embrace it and fight for the rights that we are entitled to.

The Principle of the Matter: Star Wars @ RU

Summary of the day’s events:

I’d been cooped up at home for a few days being sick and all, and really needed to get out of the house to get my motivation running so I could get shit done and start visualizing my future and work on all the steps toward it.  My friend and I had dinner plans at Buffalo Wild Wings because her house has Vegetarian Wednesdays and she hates that and she had a letter that issued a free meal for two from a prior complaint her parents had with the food.  We showed the letter to our waitress, and from the very start, she had the worst attitude and stink eye towards us.  After awhile, my friend wondered aloud if perhaps she had spit in our food.  At the end, I asked her for the receipt, and she all but seemed ready to bite my head off for asking… until my friend said “It’s for the tip” and she seemed startled and said “oh, ok!” and bustled off to get it.

Now, my friend and I are pretty reasonable tippers and usually give 18% for neutral to nice service.  After the way she seemed to hate us, we settled on a 15% tip, which to me seemed generous considering I had an unpleasant experience because she seemed so pissed whenever we asked to order or get a take out bag.  The only thing I could reason with was that she had a terrible day or yesterday.  As someone who worked in retail for a few months, I understand it can be difficult, and I also know that anything regarding customer service can really suck sometimes… but we were nice customers, and she looked straight up angry and antagonistic.  I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but if that wasn’t the case, then I can assume that this attitude was her norm, or that she presumed upon receiving the letter that we wouldn’t leave her a tip.  Regardless, the Principle of the Matter here would be that regardless of whether or not she knew we were going to tip her, she shouldn’t have had such a bad attitude, and being a decent friendly human being shouldn’t have been contingent on whether or not she would get paid for it.

Now, to play devil’s advocate, I’m comparing this to the countless times I’ve smiled at strangers or held the door open for them, and they don’t reciprocate or say thank you.  Sometimes I have bad days but I still out of habit smile, and then I have the rare occasion day where I don’t bother to smile, but when someone I don’t know smiles at me, it instantly makes my day a bit better.  That said, nobody is obligated to smile back at me, and if someone is accustomed to not smiling back, then is it safe to assume that they live in a joyless world and there is something bigger that they’re going through that makes them incapable and permanently too upset to return the favor?   I’ve noticed in people’s stories, whether in reality or in shows that often when one is going through something real tough and is struggling just to be present and make it through the next day, it can definitely be hard to do something that seems so simple.  Maybe you’re struggling with depression, maybe you just moved to another country as an immigrant and can’t speak the language or don’t have enough money to pay for dinner.  Maybe you’re a victim of domestic abuse and distrust others so much that even a smile can seen suspicious or sinister.  Maybe you just don’t feel like it.  And I suppose that’s ok.  But it still bums me out a little.

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After BWW, I wasn’t sure if there would be close parking to the building where the Economic Costs/Physics of Star Wars lecture was being held.  Apparently the actual parking lot was pretty far for me, but it would be okay to park in the temporary spots if I had my handicap sign up… no luck.  Came back to find a ticket on my windshield.

The lecture was super cool, I love just learning about the new ways in research is being done and the fact that there are other worlds out there outside of our own.  We also got to watch part of the most recent Star Wars.

The Principle of the Matter:  my friend texted this to me when I was complaining about getting a ticket to her, and I think it makes a lot of a sense.  I would compare this situation somewhat to the plot of Les Miserables.  The ethics of that situation was that the main character stole bread, and technically that was a crime and he got punished harshly for it.  But can you really blame him when one cannot afford food and the alternate option is to starve and let your family starve as well?  I think it sheds light on a bigger, systematic problem.  I would still get mad if I got robbed, but I guess if I knew it was going towards someone’s livelihood and they needed it much more than me, I might be okay with it.

Same principle:  Sure technically, I shouldn’t have parked there, but the problem is the simple, basic fact that the parking lot was much tougher for me to do, and there were no handicapped spots.

This principle applies not just to disabilities or economics, but to race, sexism, everything else.  If we don’t make a place for those that are different and placed at a disadvantage, then how can we penalize them for their actions?