Monday, June 28, 2021

No Longer Living a Lie



This is the time of year when everybody reflects on how far cripples have progressed over the last few decades or so because July 26 is the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

Well one thing I can say about how the ADA has changed  my life is I don’t have to fake like I have a doctor’s appointment anymore. I used to have to do that a lot back in the 1970s and early 1980s, before the ADA was a glimmer. There was all kinds of public transportation in Chicago but none of it was wheelchair accessible so if a cripple like me needed to go somewhere and if they didn’t have a car they could drive, they had to call MOSCH, the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens and the Handicapped. (Well okay, that’s another thing that’s changed for the better since those days. We don’t get referred to as handicapped anymore. They used to call us that in the press all the time, but not now. And the government agencies that are supposed to serve us sure as hell don’t call us that.  The ADA isn’t called the Americans with Handicaps Act.)

MOSCH would dispatch a van equipped with a wheelchair lift to pick you up if you were lucky enough to get through before they were all booked up. And their limited hours we something like 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday. And they would only take you to doctor’s appointments.

So what I did if I wanted to go somewhere was figure out what hospital, clinic, dentist’s office, etc. was nearby and I’d have the MOSCH van driver drop me off there and I’d go inside and wait for the driver to be far enough away and then I’d go to where I really wanted to go. And then I’d hustle back to the medical place in time for my pick up. And all the time in between when I roamed the streets I lived in fear that a van driver would see me and report me to their superiors and my lone source of independent transportation would be cut off, even though I’d never heard a confirmed case of that actually happening to anybody .

The people at MOSCH probably thought I was the sickliest cripple on earth since I was always seeing doctors all over the city. Sometimes when riding in the van I wondered if I should fake a hacking coughing fit just to maintain my cover.

But I don’t have to live that stressful lie anymore. All the buses and most of the train stations are wheelchair accessible now and none of the drivers or train operators give a shit where I’m going or why. They just shut up and take me there.

So at least there’s that. But it’s a lot. 

P.S. But of course not all cripples are this lucky. A lot of cripples who are stuck in nursing homes or places like that where someone else runs your fucking life for you still have to fake being sick. Sometimes the only way to get the hell out of one of those places is to pretend you're having a heart attack so they have to call an ambulance for you. They only take you to the hospital and back, but at least you see a little damn daylight.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)