Friday, 6 September 2013

Everyday Disableism

Very frustrating couple of days.

Along one side of a fence in the front garden I have an 20 foot strip, about two feet wide that was originally gravelled. I just topped it up every couple of years. However, due to wind and rain most of it ended up on the neighbours path. They've never complained, but I overheard them grumble to themselves as they swept up.

Fair point I thought, did a quick cost analysis and taking into account how much it was costing me for a relative to fetch me the Yorkshire stone gravel, the price of it, and the work involved - it's cheaper to turn it into a flower bed.

So I went to Jabba (my hut) to fetch my spade and rake. No trace. Upshot is they've been given away because someone decided I didn't need them. It's only 10 days since I used them. I promise, that very quietly, I asked for them to be retrieved. I was met with some very blank looks. "Why?"

Who, I asked, keeps the garden in shape? Prunes, shapes, weeds, plants? "Well, we cut the grass....?" Yup. True I can't do that. But I do potter about and do a little at a time that adds up to a lot. A little pleasure. Gardens are more than a trim. They don't look after themselves.

Any-ways, seemed I wasn't getting through. "But it's always looked like this?" Thank you, I said. I want all the tools back please, meanwhile, dump those grass cuttings on that bed, it'll make a good mulch. "No" I was told. "It's getting gravelled, it's always that way". That's from someone who doesn't live here. They'd decided it was "Best for me" and I could "pay them back at a bit a week if I wanted".

If I may be blunt. Sod That. Unfortunately, I now have to visit those who have been given the garden tools and negotiate their return. Won't be too difficult. It's autumn, it's jam making season, and I'll negotiate with my rather delicious home made preserves on a loan back and exchange and then return basis.


What has happened here is something called Disableism. I'm no stranger to it. It's when people, often with the best of motives - to be kind, to be helpful, do what they think what is best for you, without asking you, and perhaps without realising it, make assumptions and take control.

They don't mean any ill will. It's somewhat complicated. But lets put it this way. I have a mate born with cerebral  palsy in his forties who is very demanding and has a habit of  getting  drunk and crashes into lamp posts on his mobility scooters. At first, he left me scratching my head in bemusement.

Then we had a good chat. Realised I was talking to a chap who is highly intelligent who was rebelling, and as he explained, was going for it. "I'm single, live in my own" he explained. "I'd rather make mistakes my way"  

Just like anyone else, if you think about it. :-)

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