Emily: Hi! I’m Emily Ladau.
Kyle: I’m Kyle Kachadurian.
E: You’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.
K: What are we going to talk about today, Emily?
E: Well, I’d like to think we’re going to talk about the spider that’s been crawling all over my house this entire night and delaying the recording of the podcast, but alas, we got something a little bit more important than that.
K: What’s that?
E: Luckily, we have a guest.
K: A guest?
E: What is it, our third one, our fourth one in Accessible Stall history?
K: Something like that. Top ten for sure.
E: We hadn’t even had five. The point is we have someone else here to talk at you for 45 minutes. Say hello!
Andrew: Hi guys! How are you?
E: We’re doing pretty well. How you doing?
A: I’m so happy to be here. I am so excited.
E: Can you tell us who you are? Because we know who you are but the other people at home don’t.
A: Sure, I can. My name is Andrew Gurza. I am a Disability Awareness Consultant and host of the Disability After Dark podcast.
E: We do like fellow disabled podcasters. We’re all into the disabled broadcasting biz.
A: We’re all into the togetherness to family. It’s a family big.
E: We decided that you needed to come on the show ASAP because you’ve been dealing with some bureaucratic BS and that is not okay but rather than us recap the story and then you tell it again, how about you just tell us what’s been going on?
A: Sure. Well, it’s a crazy week for me. I, like everyone else in the world, had my passport renewal coming up last week, and I decided to go to the office and get it done. Now, I should promise before I go any further, I did go online to look at what my options were and they have a form that you can fill online and type your stuff in and it’s fillable but because it’s 2017 and I am poor, I don’t own a printer because I feel that I don’t need to own one because it’s 2017 and they cost a lot.
I didn’t have any access to print it out. I said, okay, I’m going to go to the office just because it’ll be faster and that way if I messed up anything on the forms, I’ll be able to have somebody there assist me and guide me in the right direction blah, blah, blah. I booked a special bus, a disabled bus to get there. I booked a ride to get there two or three days in advance.
I said, “Okay, I’m going to go.” I read up online how long it takes. It takes an hour to get it done properly. I said, “Okay, I’ll book an hour off.” I booked an hour to go there. The bus happened to be late by 40 minutes as they typically are. When they’re accessible buses, it was late by 40 minutes. I got there just in time.
I got into the office, which didn’t have an elevator to get into the passport part, which I found odd. It had one of those like [0:03:10 AD]lift that you put yourself on and somebody has to come and do it for you.
E: Those things are creepy and terrifying.
A: Yes. It was just big enough for my chair, so I made it up and I was flirting with the attendant because he was cute. That’s not the point of the story. I then go into the line and I’m waiting like everybody else. Okay, I’m just going to grab my number and do it like everybody else and I brought all of my stuff. I was ready to go. As it came to me, I rolled up and said “Hi! I’d like to renew my passport please.” The guy said, “You got to need this form.” I said, “Great. I’m also going to need some assistance filling out that form.”
I’m thinking it would be no problem. I’m thinking the guy would say alright, well let me either get somebody or here’s the computer or I’ll help you out. Whatever it is there would be some solution. The guy looked around the office said, “Yes, we don’t provide that service. You’re going to have to find somebody to help you with that.” At which point, I couldn’t stammered and was like, “I just came all that way like hi, I just spend an hour just to get here. Can we just do this, please?”
Yes, I was literally stammering like that because I was so flustered. He just said, “Well, you’re going to have to find somebody to help you.” I, again, flustered. “Who? I’m by myself. I don’t have an attendant with me all the time. I’m alone.” He handed the inaccessible paper form and an envelope and said, “You should go do that.” I angrily huffed away, had to wait 45 minutes for my bus again, my accessible bus to come back and get me, and then I had to fill the forms now with my attending care worker at home and then walk the forms to the post office and mail them.
E: There’s a lot to unpack there but I think the thing that’s getting me the most is how do you not “provide that service.” It seems that’s not a service. That’s just common decency and how hard is it to do some writing for someone.
A: Yes. That was my thought on it. As soon as I got home, I called Passport Canada and I complained. I was like, “This is not okay. I’m not okay with any of this.” They were apologetic but again, didn’t provide any answers for me and I also logged complaint on their website that day. I let it rest but the more and more I thought about it, it just really pissed me off.
K: It should.
K: I don’t think that there’s any of reason why it wouldn’t piss anybody off. Did they at least give you excuses to why they don’t provide such a service?
A: The guy literally said we don’t provide that service you’re going to have to find somebody else to help you. Here’s your form and then I was sent on my way. No options. No work arounds. No sorry about that, just here you go.
K: It just seems unnecessary.
E: That’s just bureaucracy at work.
A: Yes. It’s just bureaucracy. Yes, exactly at work but I just feel like I was so angry until I went on. By the time I rolled away, I was cursing expletives under my breath because I was just so annoyed because I had traveled all that way to be there and I just thought this is not fair. This is institutional ableism at its worst because I just want to get my passport filled out.
E: You’d be doing it under your breath with the cursing because I would totally not be doing it under my breath.
A: It was loud enough for the guy to hear. The guy definitely heard me throw some F bombs but I was trying to be professional. Trying!
E: This seems something that points to a larger issue, which is well, two larger issues. First, governments and disability don’t mix and second, people either go out of their way to help to the point that it’s condescending or if you do ask for help, it seems like its Murphy’s Law that they just won’t to help you at all.
A: In this instance, I would have taken the condescending over helping to no help at all. I literally thought to myself I don’t want ask a stranger in the passport office. It’s so awkward to be like excuse me, person that doesn’t know me at all, do you think you could just… I would’ve been doing essentially the same thing with the agent the difference being…
K: It’s the agent’s job to be there though.
A: Yes. That’s what I’m going say, the agent’s job to be there and they’re being monitored by cameras and they’re being monitored so I would feel safe in that I could give them information and know that I’m giving it to somebody that I can entrust with it as opposed to somebody. The option the agent left me with was to go home and give all my personal information to my caregiver who I don’t necessarily know super well and be like thanks for that when there should be options available.
K: I don’t know. I mean having dealt with social security here that doesn’t surprise me at all. I once got an envelope in the mail with information for me inside of it but the person who mailed it must have taken a phone call from somebody else because on the outside of the envelope was somebody else’s social security number just written there.
A: Oh no that’s horrible.
K: That is a government worker doing that and it was just like…
K: I’m not saying it would’ve been better or worse have somebody help you but just to say it, I don’t know if it would have been better if the bureaucrat helped you. We’ve had our own horror stories. I remember when I used to collect SSI when I was younger. I took it for a whole year and then they decided that I make too much money, although I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t disabled, although I had CP and then they wanted the money back.
A: I have so many questions with the American system.
E: So do we!
A: So many questions. How do they not think you were disabled you have CP?
K: No, they believed me for a year and then they stopped believing me…
A: Was then your CP have miraculously….
K: …because you have to reup the CP. I don’t know how you do it there but over here, every year, I got to plunge a needle into my neck. Otherwise, I become able body and all the good stuff gets taken away.
A: Is there a form to reup your CP because I should probably get on that?
K: Yes. You got to fill it out triplicate.
E: Yes, you pretty much have to keep proving that you have a disability and this is frustrating because it’s one thing if you are clearly temporarily disabled. It’s another thing if you were born with your disability and it’s not going anywhere or if you became paralyzed or something.
K: Yes. Also, you could just Google the name of what the person says they have and see that it lasts for life.
K: I know there’s fraud but if you look at the statistics fraud at least in America it accounts or maybe like less than 1% of all the cases open with social security…
A: If I’m going to be fraudulent about my disability, cerebral palsy is not the one that I’m going to come up with. I’m going to make a bit story about how it was in accident or something happened.
K: That’s what I’m saying. CP is boring and common. It’s just like no, I got my legs bitten off by shark.
A: Yes. CP is so provincial.
E: Well, I have a question. Something’s been turning in my head since you said it. Did you go on your own to take care of renewing the passport? This is the first part of a two-part question.
A: Yes, I did. When I leave my house, I no longer have attending care.
E: Okay, so I think there’s this larger implication there of disabled people can’t be out in public if they don’t have a keeper. That’s kind of the vibe that I’m getting.
A: Yes. That’s totally the vibe that I got from this individual and the whole story smacks that kind of ableism where like you can’t be out unless you have somebody or when I did eventually go to the media because I went to the local media here in Toronto first and then it went national and a lot of people on Facebook were saying why didn’t he just bring somebody.
He should’ve thought about bringing somebody. He should’ve asked a friend or should’ve brought his nurse or his caregiver. I was like “Wow guys, do you really think that we all just go out with somebody?” I’m like, “No.”
E: Yes. That makes me think if I am on the train, there are couple of conductors who always seem to ask like, “Is someone coming to pick you up?” Or “Who brought you here?” Why is that any of your business? I don’t need a keeper. The other thing is if you do need a personal care attendant with you, that’s fine. I think that you can’t escape judgement. There’s just judgement either way.
Either you’re judged for needing help, or you’re judged for being out without help then you’re assumed to require help that somehow people just aren’t giving you if you’re out by yourself. That was like a very convoluted way of saying all that but hopefully you get what I’m saying.
A: I know. I follow. I think of the double standard it so not fair. The idea that these governments both in Canada and both in the US, we tout independence like full citizenship for people with disabilities in the law. Like in the states, it’s in the ADA and then Ontario here, it’s Accessibility Ontarians with Disabilities Act or the AODA as we call it in Ontario, so we tout this you’re totally going to be independent you’re a full citizen, but then when you as a full disabled citizen go and ask for help, you’re categorically denied because you’re disabled.
K: I have a lot of questions.
A: I’m so ready.
K: I don’t even know where to start. One, do you have a national disability law like we do or is it by province only like you’re implying?
A: I don’t know what the other provinces are like. I think there are provincial laws. We don’t have a national law yet, which is something that many activists in Canada are trying to push forward.
K: That is interesting. It’s hell men. Holy crap!
A: We don’t have one. It’s in our charter of rights and freedom that you can’t discriminate against somebody with the disability but there’s no laws governing disability in any way in Canada. No.
K: That’s interesting. Isn’t it?
A: It’s interesting and sad.
E: Interesting enough that Kyle and I made faces at each other at the exact same time when you said that there was a local version of…
K: Wait a second. Yes, but if you have antidiscrimination in your, what I guess would be your constitution, I don’t know…
A: Pretty much, yes.
K: … then that’s really what the ADA is for. That is still weird to hear. Would the passport office have helped somebody non-disabled fill out the form? Because the answer still no, to me, it’s the still same amount of…
A: They probably wouldn’t have but I think the differences that I actively was like hi, I’m here to get passport renewal form. I looked the guy in the eyes I’m also going to need help with that. Waiting for some kind of resolution that wasn’t nope, sorry, bye.
K: Yes, that to me is ridiculous. I read what the excuse that they gave at least what the news reported. They wouldn’t want to be accused of leading on citizens.
K: I suppose I understand that but when somebody comes to you with a clear and obvious issue directly related to their ability to put pen to paper, I just…
A: I think why it’s so troubling for me this whole thing? I just want to get my passport done. I just want to get my passport done like everyone else but why it’s extra troubling? This is not the first time this has happened in Canada. Actually, after I was done telling the world my story, I found out that somebody in another part of Ontario had this happen to them at the beginning of last month. It’s really prevalent. As much as I don’t like that it’s happening, the more we talk about it maybe things will change.
K: That just seems like a stupid rule. I understand okay, no employee can fill out a form on behalf of a citizen. Okay, whatever but if they physically can’t and also being watched that’s a totally reasonable exception to me.
A: Yes. I would’ve agreed to sign a waiver. Also, it’s 2017. The fact that they don’t have in the office where I was, and I found out later, every passport office in Canada, they don’t have computer kiosks in…
K: I was going to ask about that too because the whole issue wasn’t that you were unable to fill out the form. In the first place, it was that you didn’t have a printer.
E: I think my real question is why is there not a protocol in place?
K: Well, you say that like there’s one here, Emily. We still for the fact that…
E: No, I don’t mean that.
E: Yes. Well, getting passport, I don’t remember going to a place…
K: Yes, you do. You go to the post office, you fill out a form.
E: Yes, you get your picture taken. Yes, fun stuff.
K: Then you go somewhere else.
E: It’s not a passportoffice.
K: Yes, it is.
E: I’ve no recollection of this.
A: No, it’s technically a passport while in Canada. That place that Emily is describing in Canada would be called a passport receiving place which technically is not a passport office in Canada. I learned this today because Passport Canada called me and we had this whole discussion. It’s not a passport office. It’s a receiving agent who will then do some shit with your forms. I actually went to the Toronto version of the passport office thinking that they would have state of the art, everything, and it was so archaic. I was surprised.
K: Here, you have to go to your post office and it has to be special post office that you got to look up if your post office does it and if it doesn’t, you got to go to one that does. Then, they’ll have the form and you got to sit in the back room for like six years and then you got to go somewhere else to get your photo taken unless you’re lucky enough to be in a post office that does take your photo.
A: You have to go somewhere else?
K: Of course, you do because capitalism, I guess.
A: What about disability?
K: What to disability? You can get into the post office. They’re all accessible but as far as everything goes, that’s it. I had one guy argue with me because I didn’t have a New York State driver’s license because I don’t New York State drive but I did have New York State identification card which looks and functions just like a driver’s license except like I can’t legally drive with it.
For intentions and purposes, it’s worth the same amount of identification as a driver’s license and as I was getting my passport, I gave them that and he was like, “We can’t take this.” I was like, “Yes, you can.” Yes, you can and they were like no. Can you ask your boss to take it then because I’m positive you can because I was holding a form that said accept [0:18:39 dual]form of identification, my card was on it.
A: Oh dear.
K: It was fine. Yes, getting your passport in America too is just like a giant pain in the ass but they last 10 years.
A: Ours have some weird thing where that’s five years but this year, they added the ten-year thing. I was just being responsible. I said I’m going to get the 10 year one. I was actually excited to get my passport done because when you’re disabled doing bureaucratic things, as we just discussed, is hard. It takes a lot of energy and time and commitment to get that stuff done. I was very proud of myself and I was like I’m going to do the thing and be an adult and do this, going to take care of it, and then when I was denied, I was wait, disability ableism. What? Not fair.
K: I actually work for a company that like thinks modern bureaucracy is stupid because their whole stake is bureaucratic laws get in the way of common sense, which is why they loved your story. But they would eat this up. This is the kind of thing that… it’s just so silly. You just said doing bureaucratic thing was harder when you’re disabled. I imagine part of that is because most people don’t need an extra step but if you do, they’re not allowed because that’s against the rules.
K: Or something like that.
A: I just think I just feel it’s ridiculous and I feel it’s unfair and it definitely was ableism. It was cool because I got to go on national news the next day, so that was fun.
K: That’s certainly something.
E: Yes, silver lining and all that stuff, but I always say that I would much rather this just stop happening and me not have to keep complaining about this and talking about this. Is it fun to be in some kind of spotlight? Yes, I’m not going to lie but at the same time I really don’t want the spotlight if it means that all of this stuff would go away. I thought about this over and over again to decide if I sincerely mean that when I say that and I do.
K: I have a question.
A: I might have an answer.
K: Do you have a passport? Did you get it renewed?
A: It’s being processed which means that so, in hopefully 21 days, I’ll have a passport and hopefully, after speaking to the passport lady today, my hope is I will not be charged the $160 fee for the passport.
K: Yes, after that all ordeal I’d very politely insisted they waived that.
A: She didn’t say it’d be waived but she was like, “We’ll keep an eye for it.” I’m hoping in polite speak that’s code for you’re not going to be charged for this.
K: Tell you that they will rush it. I really want to know how this passport saga ends. You keep us posted.
E: Well, my guess is he’s going to get the passport. It’s just with the whole lot extra drama that you didn’t need to have. The other thing that’s super annoying is this is a straight up passport. Anyone can go deal with the whole system of getting a passport but if you had to jump hoops for that, I just can’t stop thinking about all the hoops that people have to jump through regularly for things like social security, disability benefits, and things like that.
A: Yes, it’s the same kind of ridiculousness in Canada in terms of disability benefits like I’m on what’s termed I guess the Ontario version of SSI which is Ontario Disability Support.
K: Is that also local? Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you but that’s amazing too.
A: Yes, there’s no federal disability.
K: What? Holy shit! It’s like a libertarian dream. Why isn’t anyone talking about Canada.?
A: It’s provincial.
K: It’s so weird.
E: Everyone is talking about Canada. Everyone is jealous of Canada. Everyone would prefer that instead of the Orange Goon, we had Justin.
K: Hold on. Wait a second. Is it true that Justin Trudeau like is cracking down in disabled immigrants coming into the country?
E: That’s a real thing.
K: I don’t think that we really like him.
A: On a weirder side and this is my own views, Trudeau’s pretty but he’s not the greatest friendliness for people.
K: I’m going to agree with you because there’s plenty of things that I don’t like about him but I’m just going to say that I would actually trade who we’ve got for a can of dry paint.
A: Well, who you have is like the devil’s minion come down to rid the world of everything.
E: I totally agree with you. He’s great to look at. Justin Trudeau is seriously good to look at. That’s the thing. Everyone’s so busy being like oh my god the hot guy carried someone in the wheelchair downstairs one time.
A: Oh my god! Can we talk about how much… I just [0:23:34 inaudible]…
E: No. It’s totally fine but it makes me angry because it’s all like what a good Samaritan he is. Then, when I try to point out to anyone who shares that story like sorry to burst your bubble. He may be carrying someone in a wheelchair but if that someone in a wheelchair wanted to immigrate to Canada, there’s a pretty good chance they could be denied.
A: Yes, exactly.
K: That’s what the disability online bubble does.
A: Unless they got him a photo op, if you’ll notice, he’s really good at the cameras but he doesn’t do much else.
K: That sounds like someone we know.
A: He was really good. He was in our Pride Parade last year in Toronto and the whole city, “Oh my God! Justin Trudeau.” I just thought he’s only doing it because he’s pretty and it’s going to get him like people, yes, you’re awesome. I agree with you Emily that story of when he carried that person down the stairs. I have seen it and it’s been [0:24:37 inaudible] on my feed a bunch of times and I cringe every time I see that because I’m like guys it doesn’t make him a better leader. He just did what was nice to help this person.
E: That would get me so frustrated. I cannot stand when it’s like what did this person did something nice, although if you want me to be real with you right now I’d actually love if Donald Trump carrying someone in a wheelchair down the stairs because I guaranteed that he’ll probably fall because he’s in such bad shape and then it would just turn into media disaster.
K: He is not in bad shape, Emily. He tested positive for everything.
A: If he can go off like that through his whole presidency, he can’t be in that bad shape.
E: Just saying, I don’t think golf is particularly a workout unless you’re like Tiger Woods or something.
A: I just miss Obama. I don’t even live in America. I’m an American living in Canada but I just wish that Obama was back.
E: Wait. You’re American?
A: Yes. Born in Cali but raised in Canada.
E: Well, lucky you for getting out.
E: I don’t know. This just seems like a comparison episode between Canada and America and…
K: I have a question.
E: … how both of them are neither very good. What’s your question?
A: I’m ready.
K: Does your milk really come in bags? Why does your milk come in bags?
A: Yes, it does actually come in bags. I don’t know.
A: That’s a great question. I don’t know why. I’ve never understood why.
K: It’s dozens, right?
A: Yes, you guys comes in…
A: Yes. Well, we have more cartons here now but for years, it did come in bags. I [0:26:11 inaudible]bags really inaccessible as a disabled person.
K: How do you, wait, hold on.
E: What? Talk about food packaging in inaccessibility which is the thing that started this darn podcast.
A: Yes, isn’t it your podcast anniversary recently.
K: Yes, it is.
E: Happy anniversary to us.
K: What do you do with a bag of milk? Where do you put it? It’s a bag.
A: You put it in a container that holds the bag and then you take a knife and you slit a little part of it and then you pour it for some reason.
E: That is so impractical. I don’t know where to begin.
K: That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I want Canadian milk right now.
A: That’s literally what we do.
E: Does Canadian milk taste weird? Is that weird asking a guy who lives in Canada?
A: I don’t drink cow’s milk anymore. I stopped drinking when I was like 10. I drink soy milk because my tummy likes it better but I will say that Canadian chocolate tastes different than American chocolate.
K: American chocolate is terrible.
A: Is it now? KitKats in America are my favorite.
K: No. KitKats everywhere else in the world they’re so much better than KitKats in America.
E: I do not havea discerning chocolate taste.
K: Have you had non-American chocolate like real non-American chocolate?
E: Probably not.
K: I suggest you never eat it because you’ll never eat a Hershey bar again.
E: I can’t remember the last time I ate a Hershey bar.
K: What do you like?
E: I’m not really big into candy anymore.
K: What? Well, what the hell was the whole conversation? Well, I don’t know if I hate American chocolate or not. Well, actually, I just so need chocolate at all and I also know a candy.
E: I love chocolate. I’m trying not to eat candy. I’m eating all this healthy crap.
K: You preferred snack is tree bark aka saltless diet, sour dough, pretzel rods.
E: No. They’re the twisty loopy pretzels. They’re sour dough. They’re unsalted and they’re delicious and they were my vice and I gave them up.
K: Why? That’s like the healthiest thing in your house, I’m sure.
A: Tree bark?
E: No, guaranteed it’s not in my refrigerator…
K: I called it tree bark because who eats pretzel without salt.
E: I do.
A: I have questions. Why?
E: Tell us something else about Canada because clearly the actual purpose of this podcast was to discuss that you’re from Canada.
A: Well, I can take you back to the issue we’re trying to talk around.
E: You could. It’s Canadian.
A: I could. I decided to start a petition on change.org—
K: At least.
A: –to get numbers up and to get people hearing about it. Actually, change.org liked it so much the head of the Canadian change.org called me today to give me tips on how to make it better. My hope is that they will help me move things along. I’ve contacted some lawyers not to sue the Canadian government but I want to try to work with them to provide solutions because I was angry and I’m still angry but me just being angry and just stewingin anger isn’t going to do anything.
K: It’s not good for you, man. Honestly.
A: Throwing expletives and F bombs isn’t going to get me anywhere, so as tiresome as it is and believe me it’s fucking exhausting, I am trying to find solutions to then present the Canadian government with solutions saying, “Look, here like two or three solutions that are viable. Let’s do it.”
K: That is seriously like very productive sounding. I’m totally happy what happened here.
E: Well, I’m very glad there was a good outcome of that. It’s nothing else. I always feel like if something is going to happen, at least it’s good for the sake of being able to advocate so that hopefully it won’t happen again.
A: Yes, and I mean my hope also is that as a disability awareness consultant typically I talk about sexuality and disability but if this can launch my career in another way, in another avenue, then I’m going to take all the accolades I can get and I am going to use this is as a platform to build my brand on…
K: Why not, right?
E: Also, disability is a pretty wholistic thing. I mean even though your focus might be sexuality and disability, it’s perfectly fine to branch out and talk about other things.
A: Yes. You guys have seen what I created with disabled so that’s where I want to take my next brand is getting people to talk about in like 140 characters their experience in disability and to use that hashtag and to make disable a brand to get us talking about it. Initially, it was to make people aware of sex, disability, and being queer but it’s grown into so much more than that into making people aware of what [0:31:19 inaudible]experience feels like.
This experience of the passport office, I got to say as proud as I am of myself for doing it and for moving it forward. Do you think that this kind of ableism under institutional level is exhausting beyond measure? I have been up and down in an emotional roller coaster this past week and really nothing has really happened yet. I did the news. I did the passport thing, but dealing with the kind of ableism on Facebook, on social media, and putting these stories out there and seeing how real the ableism is and how it’s like there in words is really a lot to take in.
E: Kyle and I talk about this a lot. He didn’t mind having the teachable moments.
K: I love them.
E: Neither do I but I find them very draining.
K: Yes, I find them amazing and great.
A: Why? I’m curious.
K: First of all, I never get to have them. I don’t have a [0:32:20 inaudible]as a wheelchair but boy when I do, I don’t know. How do you make the world better if you’re not willing to go the extra mile? But, I understand the frustration obviously what happens to you every second of every day of your life.
A: I agree with that. I agree with what you’re saying. I relish the teachable moments when I can. There are moments I‘m like I’m not doing this today. No!
K: I totally understand that. I just plain old totally understand that. I think they’re cool.
E: I don’t think they’re not cool. I just wish they wouldn’t happen in the first place but if they’re going to happen and I can actually educate somebody, then I’m happy. Then I just get disappointed if I can tell that whatever I said didn’t register.
A: Yes, I agree with you on there. I think they’re cool when kids ask them.
K: Kids are the best. Kids are the greatest.
A: What was that?
K: I said out of context 2017.
E: Kids are great. Kids are the best but within context. You just made that weird.
A: I think it’s great when a 7-year-old will come up to me like hi, so what happened to your legs? I think it’s adorable because they genuinely don’t know and they’re genuinely asking and that’s the moment where you have a moment to be like, hey, child let me impart some crippled wisdom on you. When it’s somebody who shouldn’t be asking what happened to you and they ask how it is. Like really, do I have to do this today? I just want to do my thing. Like, really?
K: My thing is like the person asking very rarely is going to go home and be better. They just want to know because they saw you. I understand the want to know because they saw you because you don’t see a person every day in wheelchair every day I supposed. I get that but what I don’t understand…
A: Aren’t you more and more [0:34:15 inaudible]?
K: I agree with that too but you’re not going to ask that question and go home and be like I learned something new today. I’m going to never do that again because when I see someone else in a wheelchair, now I know better than to just ask what was wrong with them. They’re not going to do that. The next time they see someone else in a wheelchair, they’re going to do exactly that.
A: I think why the phrase of what happened to you I think is troubling is because I think what they’re genuinely asking is I’m trying to find a place to connect with you. I’m trying to find a place where I can show you that we’re unequal footing which is ironic in many ways that lasting but they’re trying to find their way in. That’s why I think it’s so hard because on one level, I want to this fucking way and say fuck you I’m not going answer in this and on the other level, I understand that maybe they’re trying to find their way in.
K: I agree, but if they were truly interested in your life, surely there’s better way to do it like perhaps what’s your name or anything else.
K: I don’t know. I get it though. I do and I give it a lot more credit than some others in the world but I still don’t think it’s just, because it’s always the go-to. What happened to you?
A: Actually, my boyfriend [0:35:35 inaudible]…
K: Actually, I’m late to deliver a babybut I have to stop now because I’m doctor. Now, I have to stop and explain to you exactly what happened to me just so that you can feel good about talking to me today.
A: Yes. Or I’m a superhero and I’m trying to save this villain if you just leave me alone and just let me go do my thing.
E: What this is making me think of, I had an encountered at the grocery store today.
A: Yes. I love encounters at the grocery store.
E: Well, this was actually an uneventful one and I think that’s precisely why I liked it so much. I went by myself just a quick trip there and I knew that what I needed to get was at the very top shelf of the freezer case. I asked a guy to go get it for me and he got it for me and that was it. There was no acting he did a good deed or was a superhero. I was like that’s so nice and then I went to pay for my stuff and I was emptying my bag and putting everything on the conveyer belt and the woman in front of me moved two things that I was purchasing forward a little bit for me to make more room on the conveyer belt.
She looks at me and she goes, “I hope you don’t mind that I did that.” I was like, “No, I appreciate it. Thank you for your help.” I realized isn’t it just so nice when people don’t make any bones about helping you and also acknowledge the fact that maybe it’s not always wanted.
A: Yes, it’s rare. My question with that is what was her tone?
E: Not condescending at all.I think she realized that she helped me before asking so she just wanted to make sure it was cool. She was like I hope you don’t mind that I did that.
A: Good that was comfortable. Isn’t it weird when that happens because it’s weird we never see it? We always get the other one, so when someone that does happen and I’m happy about it then I feel weird that I’m happy that nothing happened because I’m so used to like something able is happening and being ready for that like being on guard. Okay, you’re going to seem a littleweird now.
K: Emily and I talk a lot about that all the time. She’ll have days where she’s like we got to record and then we’ll set this up and she’ll be like, “Kyle, today something happened to me. I went to the grocery store and so I asked if I needed help and I said yes and they helped me and that’s it.” I’ll just be sitting here like quiet like I just was and she’ll be like awesome right. That’s life.
E: That’s a completely interesting thing to me.
K: I know and it shouldn’t be.
A: Yes. Kyle, you have a bit of and I “passing privilege”, I guess.
K: I totally do. People assumed that I get hurt before I’m disabled.
A: We were talking a minute ago about people ask what happened to you. I find it interesting that people ask that question because what they’re really saying is if something happened to you, you were closer to “normal” that if you were born the disability. If I think something happened to you, I can accept that but God forbid, I would accept that you were born with disability from day one.
K: I agree with that but I think the reason that happens because they just don’t want to… they put themselves in your shoes and immediately go on I’m glad it’s not me. That just is pure ignorance because they don’t know that your life doesn’t suck. At the same time, I understand that belief because they’re so little in the way of education in terms of disability at all. That’s the only logical conclusion that you can draw especially given that we live in a world that’s so not accessible that even any reason to be in a wheelchair should be avoided according to these people because they know that the world does have elevators everywhere and such.
A: Subway sucks and all these things.
K: Did episode on that actually.
A: I just saw it that’s why I brought it up.
E: You noticed that baller graphic that Kyle made? Can we just talk about that?
K: Well, I mean he’s not going to understand that’s the colors of our subway and the lines and the fonts and everything.
E: Just tell Kyle it’s beautiful.
A: It’s beautiful.
A: I feel there’s so many things I could be talking about when I said that to Kyle but I’m good.
E: Oh Kyle.
A: He knows I flirt with him. This is part of our friendship.
E: I’m going to say you behave yourself for 42 minutes over here.
K: You did pretty good.
A: I did pretty good.
E: On that note, I think we should do final take away.
K: Yes. You want to go first, Andrew?
A: Sure. Tell me again how…
K: Just sum it up, man.
A: Passport office need to provide help to people with disabilities and in Canada, they don’t.
K: Yes, there you go. How about you Emily?
E: The patriarchy and I really don’t like the bureaucracy.
K: Those two things are completely unrelated and I love it. Completely unrelated I don’t like it.
E: I’m aware they’re completely unrelated but they’re also somewhat related. The point is I don’t like either of those things and also, can you just help people? Can you just help people but only when they want it.
K: That is such a normal thing and it’s not in the case of disability. It’s just like the most confusing thing in the world. My final take away is that bureaucracy sucks. The social security administration sucks. America, you’re right mostly, Canada, bag milk don’t get it.
A: You should’ve ended with America fuck you.
K: Single pair, healthcare, wish we got it and America fuck you, men.
K: Why not?
E: That’s how we’re ending it? No way.
K: I’m going to type every word I know.
K: America, megaphone.
A: So funny.
E: Okay, on that actual note.
K: For anybody that hasn’t watched Parks and Recreation they’re going to think we’re completely out of our minds.
A: Parks and Rec is my show. Treat yourself.
K: All right. At least I’m glad you know because we didn’t even check with you first.
E: I never check with anybody about my Parks and Recreation references. They just come out of my mouth.
A: I am the male version of Leslie Knope, pretty much.
E: I’m the female version of Leslie Knope.
K: You’re Leslie Knope?
E: Yes, I am Leslie.
A: I went on Dawn Serra sexuality podcast a couple of weeks ago and I coined myself the disabled male version of Leslie Knope but I had her laughing for two minutes straight.
K: That really explains so much about everything.
K: It does. Anyway, goodnight everybody.
E: Thanks for listening.