cleaning stuff is bad

I finally have unambiguous proof that cleaning stuff is a bad idea. Yesterday while I was out, Esther decided to clean my Expanded Keyboard. To be fair, it was filthy. However, when I got back the keyboard wasn’t working, Esther looked very sheepish and guilty. I knew it probably just needed to ‘dry out’ or the cable had come loose, so I left it for the evening.

I had dinner with Tally last night, I think she needed my company. She hasn’t taken her friends death very well and there are other complications which I better not go into. However, I invited Ricardio along to hep with eating and the three of us had a surprisingly interesting conversation about the existence of aliens. Me and Tally were of the opinion that they existed, but Ricardio * was arguing that we would have no way to detect them and therefore to all intents and purposes didn’t exist. I guess it goes back to the question of whether a tree falling in a wood makes a sound. Most interesting conversation I’ve had in ages.

Esther arrived this morning still looking sheepish, but then I got her to plug the keyboard back in and it worked. She’s in for a day of light-hearted teasing, but is more-or-less banned from cleaning anything.

* Ricardio has been reading physics books, which if you ask me is a dangerous prospect.

old friends and open fires

Another busy day: about a thousand words added to my thesis – mostly re-worked, edited old stuff – then off to Crewe to get more cash and more straws. This evening, I popped over to Hanna / Talli’s to see how she was doing. Immediately, she complemented me on my timing and proposed we go to the pub. We spent over an hour talking about all kinds of things. I think she needed to get out of the house, as well as someone new to talk to. I was glad to be of service, and got a kiss as payment. What else are friends for?

steam rally

I went with my friends Ricardio and mike to a steam rally today. To be honest I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. It all seemed rather sad and slightly annoying. The commentator on the tannoy kept referring to something called the ‘tractor movement’, which somehow really irritated me. It’s not as if tractor enthusiasts are a repressed minority fighting for equal rights. However, he lost all credibility with me when he admitted he was at a steam rally during the moon landings. I mean, who the smeg would choose looking at antiquated bits of kit over watching possibly the greatest event in human history? Mind you, the whole thing was made most entertaining by Ricardio’s jibes, who seemed just as cynical as I was.

hope talli’s ok

Sorry I didn’t post a blog entry yesterday – busy day (not that I think anyone’s particularly bothered whether I blog). Friday night was cool: it was emotional, but fairly peaceful. I decided to go all out and stayed from 7 till 2. So there goes brandies bar. Oh well.

My old friend Hanna came. She still has ties with the hockey team, and it was good to see her there, although she was the only one of our old group of friends who came. She had actually been wanting to find me – she recently lost a friend, and she knew I had lost friends too, so she was hoping I’d be able to advise her or something. I just told her to try to avoid being alone, and I gave her lots of hugs. It’s all you can do, really. We were supposed to eat together last night, but she didn’t show up. I hope she’s ok.

hbd dad and lyn

I am crap at remembering dates. IT was Lyn’s birthday yesterday and Dad’s the day before, and I totally forgot both of them. I think I’m in the doghouse on both counts. Mind you, yesterday was a busy day, I got quite a lot of work done and then went out in the evening.

Tonight though will be a big night, it’s the last Brandies disco ever. I’m very sad about it. Brandies has always been a bit of a dive, but I’ve had many good nights there, all those Wednesday’s over five years. I remember when in my first year, I plucked up the courage to go out on my own to the bar. I thought I needed a PA, in many ways I grew up that night, and then thee where the nights when I dressed up, freezing my arse off in leotards and God knows what else. Most of all, it’s a place I associate with my friends, sitting by the windows to the left of the stage in one large group. I remember open mike night and Steve singing ‘Sweet Home Alsager’. I remember falling off my chair and having to be taken home early. So many memories.

There’s a feeling that something’s going to happen tonight. It’s a feeling of discontent. I don’t know what’s afoot, but I think it’s going to be big.

why i changed the wording yesterday

I would like to address the reason why I changed the wording in yesterday’s entry. I originally had written ‘disabled people’ where it now reads ‘people with disabilities’. Initially, I thought the difference didn’t matter, and the commentators were just being anal, but the more I considered it the greater the difference seemed. You’ve probably heard this before, but it is an argument well worth rehearsing. The phrase ‘disabled people’ renders ‘us’ as other; rhetorically, it’s like saying that there is a subgroup of people who are set apart from the whole. The phrase ‘people with disabilities’, on the other hand, emphasises that we are first and foremost people who just happen to have a few physical quirks. ‘Disabled people’ sets up more of a normal / abnormal divide.

This is simple enough, and I apologise for my lapse yesterday. But here’s where it gets interesting. It goes back to my ‘us and them’ debate. If it really was a case of there being a disabled us and an able-bodied them, then the phrase ‘disabled people’ might be acceptable, as wouldn’t we want to emphasise our separateness in terms of the disabled community? Wouldn’t those who seem to claim that disability is a culture want to maintain a rhetorical division, for if we were all just people with disabilities we would all just be part of a whole. Personally, I no longer see myself as separate: I’m just a regular guy really. I can do anything anyone else can, including going on trains. Although I may use a lightwriter and a chair, I am not really ‘different’ or ‘separate’. Granted, people with disabilities must sometimes work together to achieve their goals, but is that really any different from any other pressure group? Although disability art certainly exists, I’m not sure that it indicates a wider disability culture, for surely it should be seen within the context of western culture.

Perhaps I still need to think about all this, but I must say that I’m rethinking beliefs that I was once sure of. After all, if we got rid of these barriers, rhetorical and otherwise, and saw everyone as simply people, wouldn’t the world be a nicer place?

twats – the lot of them

Like most people these days I’ve been keeping one increasingly cynical eye on the news, and I’m appalled by what I see. Politicians of all parties taking us for mugs; a fat, bungling fool for a prime minister; a smarmy twat as leader of the opposition; and a third party whose leader nobody knows. While I believe in democracy, I have no faith in any of the choices presented to me. And will someone please explain why the speaker got blamed for parliament being full of corrupt assholes? I fear that people will now turn, in rebellion, to more extreme parties like the BNP, which never bodes well for minorities like people with disabilities. As for myself, I’m considering voting jury team.

there and back again

I guess it’s fair to say that I’m pleased with myself for getting to London and back. I’m proud of what I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to doing similar things. I guess the best advice I can give is to organise everything in advance: personally, I thought it vital for someone to meet me at Euston on Friday, and I was extremely relieved to see Lyn’s P.A, Karolyna, waiting on the platform. It’s also important to know where to get help if needed. In terms of security, when waiting or a train, I park my chair with the back to the wall to avoid thieves. My bumbag and lightwriter were both securely attached to me at all times. In short, I guess you just need to keep your wits about you.

Anyway, it was quite a cool weekend. I drank way too much on both Friday and Saturday night, but I had a great time. Friday, we just went to Lyn’s local, then to another pub for dinner. In the first pub, this guy was being a bit of a dick towards K, and I got all manly and protective. Probably a mistake, as he could easily have knocked my block off, but I think he thought it funny. Got home drunk and soaked.

Saturday we went over to goldsmith’s to meet up with charlotte and Co. one problem with a couple like us is getting places together – you try fitting two electric wheelchairs in a black cab. I’m more ambulant than Lyn, so she went in her lecky and I borrowed her manual chair, which we folded during transport. As we were getting out of the taxi, we were met by Charlie, Jodie, Hugh and holly, who was jangling as usual. We went to a nearby caf, where Mrs j. and William were sat. we talked for a good hour or so about this and that, deciding to postpone the Amsterdam trip until October, catching up with news. Of course, I told them about my train trip as if I’d climbed Everest, and they were pleased – Mrs Jones seemed quite alarmed.

Then it was time to go. We took a bus to a shopping center, then went home. K cooked some spag bol, and fed us both. I feel rather guilty for making her P.A for both me and Lyn, but she seemed okay with it. Then it was time to get changed; I suppose it was best I only had a hat and shirt to put on (thereby becoming Indiana Jones) as Lyn had a dress and wig to change into, and anything more elaborate would have been unfair on k. mind you, we did have time: sadly, nobody showed up. We waited, and waited, and waited. It was, it seems, a non-starter. We just got drunk and crawled (literally) into bed. I still feel quite sad about it.

We both had huge hangovers yesterday. I felt tired all day. Karolyna escorted me back to Euston early to avoid traffic (where, randomly, we bumped into Charlie on her way home too). I asked K to phone rob to tell him I’d meet him on campus instead of at the station as previously arranged, just for the sake of simplicity, so when rob wasn’t at the station I assumed the message had got through. I got the bus home, but rob wasn’t here. I loaded up msn, and mum told me rob was still looking for me at the station, worried sick. Luckily, she phoned rob, and he came home. Rather than being pissed off, he seemed quite proud of me. Rob’s too good to me sometimes.

So, apart from that hiccup, which taught me not to change the plans, and the non-existent party, it was a great weekend. I really think it’s a milestone on the road towards independence.

locomotion!

Just got back to uni after a great weekend with Lyn. Travelling by train has proven to be very easy indeed – it’s just a case of making the right arrangements. I will write more about this soon – need to get myself some dinner – but I’m now quite certain that I’ll be travelling by rail lots more from now on.

going boldly where billions have gone before

So tomorrow is the big day. My awfully big adventure. Well, not-so-big depending on hoe you look at it. People take trains every day, after all, and to most people it’s just mundane. Yet, to me, I’m going into the unknown, exploring something new. I’ll be travelling alone, but Lyn and karolyna will meet me on the platform at Euston. I’ve told them what time I’m due, and I have K’s number. I must admit I’m still nervous, but I keep reminding myself it’s just a train, that I’m 26, that most of my friends have travelled solo extensively – for example, charlotte got herself to new Zealand, and Emma’s in china – and that I shouldn’t be such a wimp. Yet this doesn’t stop me from having butterflies in my stomach. Of course, if I don’t do this, I’d be letting myself down, as I hope to make many more such adventures if it’s successful. I want to go up to Edinburgh to see Steve and jenny later this summer, for example. I can’t chicken out at the first attempt. In short, it’s just one further step towards independence.