“Call Us Regulars” – First Thoughts

April 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm 2 comments

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As a person with a very visible physical disability, I know what it’s like to stand out in most situations and therefore not be considered regular even though I am. Now I always have a problem when speaking about everyone in the disability community, because you can’t lump all members of any group together and describe them all in the same terms. There will always be at least one dissenter who thinks, “Sorry, but you don’t speak for me. I feel differently.” That’s understandable and OK with me; I, oftentimes, find myself being that dissenter. So in the series of “Call Us Regulars” columns written by me, I am speaking for myself and nobody else unless they are explicitly mentioned.

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The title of this post came from something I said when speaking about a certain local restaurant that my wife and I frequent. My wife, who is a quadriplegic and uses a motorized wheelchair due to a diving accident over 25 years ago, and I, who use a scooter or a wheelchair, due to Friedreich’s Ataxia, were attending a Birthday dinner for a friend at that same restaurant. The wife of the Birthday Guy (I can’t really call him a Birthday Boy as it was his sixtieth!) went over to the host/hostess to ask for something special in the way dessert was served, and the host/hostess looked at the table, saw us, and said that of course they’d do what she asked because she was with us and we were “regulars.” Now it might seem that being “regulars” isn’t a huge big deal in most situations, but it was and still is to me.

I tend to stick out wherever I go due to my trusty scooter or wheelchair. Whether it’s having to jam myself onto a crowded subway train, having to use a lift (which often breaks down – but that’s another post!) to get to wheelchair accessible seats at local sports venues, or having to use certain building entrances because they don’t have stairs. I’m not complaining and whining about having to do those things, I’m just saying that they can make you stick out and not feel like a “regular.” So when people you don’t really know refer to you as “regulars” it makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’ve managed to be seen as a person and not just a living, breathing wheelchair!

Being seen as a person is a major victory! I would hazard a guess that everyone wants to be seen as a person; not just a thing.

I know I do.

by Tony Trott – Peer Mentor

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

VSA International Arts Program for Children with Disabilities “Call Us Regulars” – Words Can Matter

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rosemary Ciotti  |  April 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    As another person who “stands out” by “sitting in a wheelchair” I appreciate your article “Call Us Regulars”!

    Reply
    • 2. ecnvecnv  |  April 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Thanks, Rosemary. I like the “standing out by sitting…” juxtaposition. Maybe I’ll borrow it!

      Reply

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