Lip Service

Now for those of you who know me, this is a warning. I guess basically it’s a warning for everybody. I’m about to have a little rant. Something has recently been brought to my attention again and I wish to vent. You have been warned.

I live my life from the seat of wheelchair. Again, to those of you who follow me you know this. It does not affect the person I am but it can have a great effect on my surroundings. I’m occasionally hampered by steps, by doors and by people. The steps and doors, I just look for another way or sometimes don’t do what I wanted to do. The people, that’s where life gets interesting.

As a child I was painfully shy. I didn’t speak up in class, I wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and I lived my life terrified that someone would speak to me. Obviously, I survived. In High School I joined the drama club by accident and I was given tools to help me deal with my insecurities. I grew to love inhabiting someone else’s psyche. And then this happened.

In my middle 20s I developed multiple sclerosis. As diseases go it really isn’t that awful. I was able to hide it for many years. But eventually it became obvious. The wheelchair is a dead giveaway. With assistance I am still able to continue to have a fulfilling life.  Our government is wonderful at mandating that society assist with disabilities. And for the most part they do comply beautifully. But then there are the other ones.

I went to see a movie a little while ago in a very big, well known Cinema. They said they were wheelchair accessible and technically they are. And here is something I don’t think most people understand. You can be technically correct and still be oh so very wrong. My wheelchair accessed the cinema perfectly but the only spot available to park said wheelchair was so close to the screen that I couldn’t take in the whole image without moving my head. There was no one sitting anywhere near me because no one wants to sit that close to the screen.

Think of sitting in front of your TV. Now think of sitting 3 inches from the screen of your TV.  Are you comfortable? When I mentioned to the manager that this was a problem and asked if there were there any other places for wheelchairs to sit, I was greeted with a shrug. You know the shrug, that raising of the shoulders to the ears that signifies “I don’t give a rat’s ass”. But because no words are exchanged it can be denied.

I did try to watch it. It was a good movie and I really wanted to see it.  I had to wait for it to be on TV where I could actually see the whole screen.

I tried to call the head office (this is a really big organization) and had a hell of a time. No one was terribly interested in what I had to say. It was brought to my attention, quite forcefully, that they had passed all the laws to be fully wheelchair accessible. I asked them if they knew what it meant to be wheelchair friendly. I swear to you, I heard their shoulders go up.

I know that things are significantly better than they used to be for people with disabilities. It will never be perfect. There’ll always be someone that is unsatisfied. I am thankful that I am welcomed in so many places. But sometimes I just want to watch a bloody movie. And in some places that is too much to ask.

There is a movie house I do frequent that goes above and beyond for wheelchairs. It is privately owned by someone who cares.

This is something these big corporations don’t seem to understand: if something benefits me and my wheelchair it also benefits many others. People with canes, walkers, baby carriages. I want to live in a world that is completely inclusive. Perhaps that is only something that is possible when individuals are involved. Corporations spent too much time looking at their  bottom line.

 

Rant completed. Thank you for your attention.

 

38 thoughts on “Lip Service

  1. Dan Antion

    I shouldn’t have been laughing as I read this, Pam, but when you said you could hear their shoulders, I had to. People matter when people care and the expense can be shrugged at. A few extra dollars to make someone’s life better, no problem. But, in large organizations, the math and the distance takes over. “If we save x-dollars in n-theaters, my bonus will be…” And those people never see you struggle to see the screen.

    I’ve seen these numbers at work. Sadly, in the years I spent working as a consultant, I helped people make these numbers work. In large operations, accountants look at everything, and customers have very few advocates. Even in the small company I worked in, decisions were made that saved money and bothered everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. dweezer19

    I’m so sorry Pam. Meeting minimal requirements seems to be the theme in the world of business all the way around. The more moronic it becomes the less the general public seems to pay attention. As long as their world seems perfect they just accept things. 🤦‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Murphy's Law

    I don’t blame you for ranting! This movie theatre is outrageous, as are any buildings that barely strive to provide minimum handicap accessibility. I’m so terribly sorry you had this experience. It makes me wonder how many others can “ditto” your story.

    I agree with John….perhaps a letter to the AG would start the ball rolling. You have such a gift with words/writing you’re bound to catch someone’s attention.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Jennie

    Excellent rant, Pam. What’s the point of being wheelchair accessible if it doesn’t work at all for the person? And more importantly, where is basic human caring? I didn’t know you were in a wheelchair, so thank you for telling us readers. And thank you for a little about you when you were a child – that was me, too. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. SHRUTI DUBEY

    I am so sorry to hear that you have to go through all this. I am just imagining how many people go through this each and every day and people don’t care. I think any organisation whether big or small must be friendly to everyone and treat everyone equally. It will be good for their own growth as well.

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  6. Joanne Sisco

    I can’t begin to imagine the daily frustrations that you have to deal with – seating in a movie theatre would be just one of those. I’ve never seen wheelchair seating right to the screen but any logical person would know that doesn’t make sense. You didn’t name the theatre chain but they deserve to be publicly shamed … if not for their lack of proactive thinking, then for their calloused indifference.

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. Joanne Sisco

        I think that’s the part that annoys me the most. It simply highlights their indifference.

        I should mention I’ve been to a theatre (my new favourite one) that created a section for wheelchairs IN THE MIDDLE!! Now this management that gets the spirit of wheelchair friendly.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. pensitivity101

    I don’t blame you for having a go Pam. When I twinged something in my heel and was on crutches for a while, I used a wheelchair in a supermarket. Being at eye level to someone’s nether regions is something I would rather avoid, and it opened my eyes to a lot of obstacles wheelechair users face every single day. Hubby’s mobility is restrictive and erratic. He uses sticks and cannot sit for long periods, nor stand, nor walk, nor lie down, so no two days are the same. Going to the cinema is a definite No No as he could not sit through a performance without having to get up and move around every twenty minutes or so.
    You have an extremely valid point about the viewing area for wheelchair users at this chain of movie theatres, and think it needs to be addressed.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. John W. Howell

    I haven’t been to the movies in years so when my sister was visiting during Thanksgiving we decided to go. We had tickets in the handicapped section (We both are legally that way) and to my surprise, my seat was not only wheelchair friendly but nonexistent. A quick move to the right solved the problem. I was very impressed with the facilities. The seats were about as good as one could get and did not have annoying able-bodied civilians with which to contend.

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  9. Sorryless

    Sorry to hear about your experience. There is a vast difference between doing things for others because you want to and doing things for others because it’s an obligation. Shame on that theater for choosing the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Mark Lanesbury

    Oh Pam, I can feel the pain in your neck from here. As a matter of fact it is so bad your quality of life has been totally impacted because of this injury. When your lawyer mentions this to the Cinema I guarantee your new position in the theater will be right in the center, along with a free drink and munchies each time you visit 😂 😎
    The people who set these up have not got a clue…until it involves money…out of ‘their’ pockets ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Garfield Hug

    I am sorry you had to go through that. I guess ripping out 2 seats per row for wheelchair patrons is unthinkable as it may mean it being empty! Which equals lesser takings. Silly to make you pay same price and stick you in front such that you are visually compromised. Not nice at all!

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. parkermccoy

    Yeah, sometimes it takes a special human touch to things and not just a law change. I think it’s all about the people involved. Even corporate places can be good if the right employees are involved- those who actually honestly care. That is, too, of course, assuming that the corporation doesn’t have a policy which blocks them from doing so which does happen sometimes. I suppose I just wouldn’t give that theatre any more business and tell everybody you know about it. And this blog right here helps as well. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. quiall Post author

      Thank you. The most value asset any Corporation can have are its employees. Unfortunately a few in position of power can spoil the good. I believe there are more good than bad but we rarely hear about the former.

      Liked by 1 person

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