Monday, July 26, 2010

20 Years of ADA

It was all over the radio today. Talking heads were spouting opinions on our progress or its lack, folks calling in were mostly complaining how it's not being implemented, and I'm listening and just beginning to form opinions.

I just qualified to have my handicap sticker renewed, after a "trial period" of two years. Now I get it for another six years minus a month, or as long as I can get it without my doctor stating it's permanent. She gets why I'm not having surgery - the same reason I don't see her for other things as often as she'd like. It's called lack of insurance. She's optimistic that I'll get it taken care of before the six years are up. Me? Not so much. Sure, I'll qualify before then, but there's also the factor of taking months off work, unpaid. That's a matter of planning ahead so the bills can get paid even when I'm not. The upshot is that for me, the sticker is a solution for the long term. I won't have to walk so far.

I've already changed my lifestyle in many ways. Shopping doesn't happen in stores with no electric shopping carts unless it's a particularly good day or what I need is close to the door and the lines are short. That's all a tall order sometimes. The one exception, and one I highly resent, is Target. They have made absolutely no progress towards having enough functional electric shopping carts. Nobody bothers to see that they get plugged in. And nobody is willing to stock more carts in the store so that there is always one ready for the customer. Maybe it's time to switch both my father's and my prescriptions over to WalMart. Then I won't have to go to Target again.


Work presents its own set of challenges, and those are ones I mostly put up with in the cause of continuing to earn a buck. There are way too many fancy new buildings with huge fancy lobbies where you have to walk about a block from your car to the elevator, because nobody does business from the ground floor anymore. I hate them all. Well, nearly. I do bless the post-9/11 paranoia that makes some companies restrict our access to the dock mailroom for both pickups and deliveries. While they mostly have several stair steps for entry, they usually require only a short walk after that. In fact, they prohibit access past that. I'm OK with that. I don't worry about bombs or anthrax or any other variety of terrorism. I'm just trying to limit the pain.

The obnoxious companies are the ones who make you take your heavy package halfway through the building to the exact office in the exact department because they can't bother the important person with a phone call to come get their stuff or set up some kind of internal mail/delivery system. Those spots are never close to the door, and it never seems to happen when it's just a small envelope. It's always things like the huge ungainly container - DO NOT TIP! - with the cryogenically frozen cells in liquid nitrogen that weighs 20 lbs. with the tiny handle for carrying which digs into your fingers, and corners that knock against your calf the whole way so you come away tired, sore, bruised, and thoroughly pissed off.

I'm getting better at saying, "No." Eventually they will learn that I'm much better at driving than walking.

Public accommodations, as I understand them as covered in the ADA law, would include campground showers, for example. That would include the three I found on this last trip that had steps or lips, either of which would limit access to anybody on wheels, and keep it hard enough for us limited walkers. Do they think we just don't need to get clean? Maybe it's time to let those folks know I won't be coming back for another visit.

And maybe it's time to let Rocky Mountain National Park know it's doing a great job! Could be better, of course, but I have to admit, those mountains are always going to be a wee bit too hilly for me to really wander over them the way I'd like, no matter what anybody does with making smooth level paths and gentle ramps.

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