Episode 90: Internet, Amazon, and Friendship

Emily:                                       I’m Emily Ladau.

Kyle:                                        I’m Kyle Khachadurian.

Emily:                                       You’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.

Kyle:                                        What are we going to talk about today Emily?

Emily:                                       The power of the internet, which is super relevant because we are fully embracing the power of the internet right now.

Kyle:                                        This is still a quarantine episode of The Accessible Stall though I stopped saying that because I didn’t really think it would last this long, tbh.

Emily:                                       For what it’s worth this podcast with the exception of like one or two in person episodes, one in-person episode has been entirely fueled by the power of the internet. Now, it really is because Kyle and I are no longer in the same state.

Kyle:                                        I’m crying right now.

Emily:                                       I feel a little emotional about it. I think I would be less upset if I could hop on a plane and go visit you and like throw confetti all over your house, which I’m sure you would appreciate.

Kyle:                                        My apartment is accessible Emily. You must come at the first available time. Whenever that is.

Emily:                                       Well, when I don’t feel like getting on a plane is going to potentially be a deadly game. I would love to come visit.

Kyle:                                        I would say the door is always open, but it’s only open for people without the Rona.

Emily:                                       I cannot confirm that I don’t have it, especially if I get on a plane and then I come to you. I’m also not really sure I can do a cross country road trip right now, either because I’d have to pee sometimes.

Kyle:                                        Who needs that come on?

Emily:                                       Kyle made his big cross-country move in the middle of a pandemic with wildfires. It’s actually pretty impressive.

Kyle:                                        Yes. When I landed, it was a bit scary because I couldn’t see the sky and it smelled like fire everywhere, which sounds like, it sounds almost like I’m exaggerating, but I promise you, I’m not like the sky was like just this one lump of gray and you couldn’t see more than a hundred feet in front of you. It was smelled like smoke everywhere and people were wearing masks, but you couldn’t tell if it was because of the smoke or the pandemic. The answer was, it was both. It was really, really surreal.

Emily:                                       Has the smoke cleared at all?

Kyle:                                        Yeah, it’s fine now.

Emily:                                       What a welcome to Seattle, like, hey, you can’t breathe or see.

Kyle:                                        Come over and then pay all your money to the landlord and live here. It’s the best, we swear.

Emily:                                       I mean, you moved from one of the most expensive States in the country to one of the most expensive places in the country.

Kyle:                                        It’s slightly less, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.

Emily:                                       I mean, I live in one of the most notoriously expensive parts, not just of New York State, but of the entire country.

Kyle:                                        Is that so?

Emily:                                       Yes, that is statistically so. Long Island is not affordable at all. But I know Seattle is pretty expensive too. Thanks gentrification.

Kyle:                                        Yes, thank you Amazon. Thank you, Bill Gates. Thank you.

Emily:                                       Who else is there?

Kyle:                                        Thanks. I mean, I say that ironically, but, I’m heavily relying on both Microsoft and Amazon too, to be able to do my job, to afford the place that I live in. It’s ironic, but it’s also not very slightly ironic.

Emily:                                       This wasn’t going to be the point I was going to make for this episode, but come to think of it. Prime day, Amazon prime day was the other day and every time anything Amazon related rolls around everybody is immediately like boycott Amazon, don’t cross picket lines. Don’t buy from them, buy local, buy elsewhere. I agree, especially when it comes to like books, for example.

Kyle:                                        Got it, I don’t buy books from Amazon.

Emily:                                       I’ll support local bookstores whenever possible or like a different website.

Kyle:                                        Well, I’m sorry. I just bought your book on Amazon usually. I’m sorry. Yeah, usually I don’t buy books from Amazon. That’s true. I’m not lying but I did buy your book.

Emily:                                       Well, it is available on other websites, but I think I probably just sent you the Amazon link because I was excited by the novelty of having a book on Amazon, even though Amazon is the devil. Look, the point I was going to make is, I get it. Also I saw this really great tweet that was a reminder of the fact that for everyone who is out there, demonizing Amazon, they’re forgetting the disabled people. Sometimes that’s our only option. I cannot say that that is my only option. I definitely have plenty other places I can shop. For someone like my mother, for example, she often takes care of a lot of household shopping and she does not drive. If no one is available to drive her to the grocery store, she’ll buy something for us on Amazon. It’s a way for disabled people to still take care of their families.

Kyle:                                        I rely heavily on Amazon. In fact, on prime day, I bought a completely, well, I don’t even want to say completely unnecessary. It’s unnecessary in the fact that I don’t it to live, but my girlfriend and I just bought ourselves a robot vacuum because vacuums are heavy and throw me off balance. She can’t see so between those two things, it’s not our best skill. I’ll say it like that. Prime day had it for a very significant portion off. And like, am I thinking of the horrors that Amazon puts on the world when I do that? No, I’m being selfish and thinking of myself, but I also use them for a grocery store. I said that to you right before we started recording. There’s a grocery store across the street from where I live, but I bought eggs from there. When I got home, I lost two of them. You know, who doesn’t? Amazon because they don’t shake when they walk. It’s like, yeah, I kind of need them. Yes, they’re terrible. Every company is terrible. I mean, they’re the worst, but like, it really, like you said, it really does make, we need it in a lot of ways that most people don’t.

Emily:                                       You know what it makes me think of in the good place, how you lose points and gain points. I feel like I would lose so many points for shopping on Amazon, but I’m hoping that I would somehow balance that out by the other things that I do in the world. I mean, look, I hate companies with questionable ethics. I also sometimes feel like I need to accommodate my disability and it’s not as easy to do that and also maintain every moral and ethical value that you have. Where is the balance? I know that we’re going to some people off here. I totally get it, but I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s just been on my mind lately. Like where’s the balance?

Kyle:                                        I mean a common leftist talking point. I mean, I don’t know if you identify as a leftist, but it’s very common to hear in those circles that there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism and like, yeah, I guess in theory, and I knew when I say in theory, I don’t mean like maybe it’s true. I mean, like according to leftist theory, it is true. It’s just one of those things that we all have to do. The only things that we can do given the circumstances that we’re in is do our best to mitigate that. But it’s hard to do that when something like Amazon is not only the well where I am, it’s practically the only option, but it’s also frankly, the best option and they make damn sure of that, and that’s very unfortunate.

Emily:                                       That’s half the problem is that in many cases you’re going to get the best price or you’re going to get the best deal or you’re going to get it the fastest when you need it. And there’s something to be said, especially for disabled people about having that convenience. I mean, it resonates with me so much that you said, you got eggs from Amazon so that you wouldn’t lose them on the way home across the street. You’re wasting food and money if you’re losing eggs. There’s something to be said for that too. I don’t have good answers, but I just think that the internet allows us to find ways to accommodate ourselves. Sometimes they’re not the most ethical, but they work for us. This whole world was designed not to work for us. I don’t know how sorry I am.

Kyle:                                        I’m not very sorry on an individual level. I don’t think that the amount of shopping that I do on Amazon, if you removed me from the entire universe, I don’t think that my footprint negatively on this world via these companies would make such a difference. I do think that, places like Amazon need to be regulated more, but that’s, I think I’m not defending any institution here, but I think that the internet hit the world by storm and the world really hasn’t caught up, certainly not the United States, like we don’t even own the data we give to the companies that, and meanwhile, like if you give your birth certificate to a government agency, it’s still yours. I think part of it, a big part of it is that the world hasn’t caught up. I’m not saying that in defense of the horrible shit they do. I’m just saying that’s probably how they get away with it.

Emily:                                       No, you make a good point. I mean, then the other thing to consider too, is if everybody thinks the way that we think like we’re one person. It’s not that big a deal. Sorry, not sorry. Then suddenly that’s exactly how we ended up in this mess. I’m playing devil’s advocate knowing full well that I am part of the mess.

Kyle:                                        No, I know, but I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry because a company like Amazon and a company like Apple and a company like Microsoft between those three, I mean, and Facebook too. I’m a social media manager. Facebook is like the worst company on the planet. They’re responsible for like story came out the other day, like 40% of all the misinformation comes from Facebook. I’m making that number up, but it’s some high number. It’s like everything that I do and everything that I am is directly made possible by these people, that these companies that are like objectively awful. I’m supposed to feel guilty about that. It’s like I don’t because without them, I frankly wouldn’t have a livelihood. I know I should.

Emily:                                       Yes, I get it. I mean, there’s ethical questions about Google too, right? Especially as it pertains to agreeing with censorship of information in China and another country. I mean the list goes on and on, but like I need Google because sometimes, and I’m talking purely from a disability standpoint here. Google is what helps me when I’m researching accessibility, when I’m researching disability and health information, like I rely on Google very heavily. Then Facebook is what helps me, yes, do my job because I’m also a social media manager.

But on top of that, and this was what I originally wanted to talk about for this episode. It is what connects me with other disabled people. Like my world opened up when I had Facebook. I met disabled people at summer camp. What did I do when I got home? You find them on Facebook, you become friends with them. Then suddenly your world opens up and you go from feeling like this isolated, disabled person to realizing that the world is bigger than you. That’s how you and I met.

Kyle:                                        That is how you and I met. That is how we were able to do this podcast.

Emily:                                       Yes. I mean, we’re on a Facebook video call right now while we’re recording this podcast. On my Mac computer. I mean are our points at the good place down the toilet right now. Absolutely, but I would also like to think that, there’s a service that we’re doing in here in that we have people coming to us saying, “Wow, you recorded a podcast about disability. I listened to it and it made me feel like someone gets it.”

Kyle:                                        Yeah. Seen and heard and all those really, really amazing things that we’d love to hear.

Emily:                                       Not to mention, it’s a huge facet of our friendship too. Like this is always been how we’ve stayed connected, not even when we’re podcasting, but sometimes it’s just nice to like get a message from you because you saw something on Reddit that made you think of me, so you sent it to me.

Kyle:                                        Yes. Like that’s more to do to the pandemic. I guess now that I moved, because contrary to what some of you might believe, we used to hang out in person all the time, but we can’t do that anymore.

Emily:                                       Which is like a super bummer. That is why the internet is kind of awesome. I mean, if I deleted all of my social media tomorrow, can I text people yeah. On my iPhone, like, I mean, where is the line?

Kyle:                                        I think, I mean, I don’t know.

Emily:                                       I don’t know either. I mean, clearly this is very rhetorical and just me like needing to get this off my chest. I just think that I have a lot of progressive values, but certain things that I think are really, really heavily demonized are the very same things that benefit me immensely of the disabled person and as like a human being.

Kyle:                                        I mean that is like “moral”, I’m doing air quotes, “moral good.” Like what’s good for the world sometimes directly conflicts with people with disabilities. Like I drink out of plastic straws because I can, but like, that’s not good for disabled people. I know that like corporations make most of the plastic waste that it’s in the ocean and plastic straws are like a very insignificant portion of it. The fact is that that is the reason that people say they ban plastic straws. That’s just one tiny, tiny example, but it is one that we were very recently upset at. Not everyone can do what I can do and some people need plastic straws.

Emily:                                       Yes. I’m trying to think of other examples of that. I mean I guess, if you think about a lot of the medical products that people use in their day-to-day care, those could technically be considered wasteful and bad for the environment. It’s like are you going to tell me that you’re not going to use sterile single use gauze pads every day for care because it’s killing the environment or are you going to do what you need to do to protect your body?

Kyle:                                        I think the line is before that. I mean, but that’s still a really good point. I don’t think that that’s really that far reaching because ultimately that’s where we’ll end up. That’s the extreme version of where we are right now. It’s really difficult.

Emily:                                       Yeah. It is. It’s funny. The thing that I had originally wanted to talk about was like the power of the internet in bringing people together. But then I realized that there’s a lot more than just bringing people together that makes the internet so powerful.

Kyle:                                        Well, I think, I mean, I think there’s a lot of stuff to dislike about the internet, but I really do think that that’s one thing that’s beautiful about it. It really is like I’m not going to say I would have never met you off the internet. That’s probably not true given the fact that we know all of the same people, but our paths would have crossed a lot later in life for sure.

Emily:                                       Have we ever told the story about how we became friends on the interwebs? We must have in the 800 years that we’ve been doing this podcast, no?

Kyle:                                        I don’t know. Maybe probably, but long story short, Emily was [00:17:14 inaudible] on me and I was too much of a- to notice. Then she weaseled her way to a house party that I was invited to. We were friends since then.

Emily:                                       This actually makes me sound really bad. My version is way better.

Kyle:                                        Her version is the best. I intentionally made it. It made her sound bad, but it was in fact to me that was the bad one in the scenario.

Emily:                                       I definitely thought Kyle was cute. Wow, oh my god, big surprise everyone. Don’t worry, we’re both like practically married now, so it’s fine. Not to each other, but anyway, I think I sent you a message and I was like, can you teach me about linguistics? Is that what I did?

Kyle:                                        Yes, and I did.

Emily:                                       He did, but he really did. He took it so seriously and all. I just, I had a crush on him. That was all, so dumb.

Kyle:                                        Geez. Oh my god. That’s so stupid.

Emily:                                       Anyway, honestly it worked out pretty okay. Because we’re best friends. And I think that the internet is all to thank for that.

Kyle:                                        Yes, 100%. Are you kidding? I wouldn’t have been able to send you adequately sourced Google searches to back up my teachings, if it weren’t for the internet.

Emily:                                       I forgot about the house party though. Was that that Halloween party?

Kyle:                                        Yes.

Emily:                                       Oh my god.

Kyle:                                        Or maybe it was a new year’s. It was one of them.

Emily:                                       New Year’s. Yes, it was– no, it wasn’t Halloween. Was it New Year’s? No.

Kyle:                                        I don’t know. It doesn’t matter what holiday it was.

Emily:                                       Whatever. The point is that I got myself invited to a house in a completely different state from mine so that we could hang out. Oh man. Well, now, that I’ve just publicly embarrassed myself. This is great.

Kyle:                                        People are going to think that that’s cute as all heck.

Emily:                                       No, you should tell an embarrassing story about yourself so that I don’t have to be the only one, who is like…

Kyle:                                        I very recently and when I say, I mean like last week, I was looking in this apartment for my glasses that I was wearing. I mean, I was really looking for them. It didn’t even occur to me that it was strange that I could see.

Emily:                                       Why? What?

Kyle:                                        Why? I don’t know. I needed them for something. They were on my face the whole time. I mean, just like they are now. I didn’t lose them on my head. I didn’t lose them when they were dangling off my shirt. No, no. I was wearing them.

Emily:                                       I mean this does sound to me kind of like something that my parents would do. I’m like a little concerned about you.

Kyle:                                        Yeah, me too.

Emily:                                       But it’s fine. I thought you were going to tell the pancake story.

Kyle:                                        I tried to make pancakes this morning. It did not go well. It went horribly. It was like a master class in what never to do when you’re making pancakes. It was just, it was awful.

Emily:                                       To be fair, I don’t, I know I made pancakes before.

Kyle:                                        I went to like home-ec in eighth grade and made pancakes from scratch. Not from a box. Like I tried to do this already, like mixing real ingredients and making real pancakes. I just couldn’t, it was horrible.

Emily:                                       Amazing. They trained the disabled people how to live.

Kyle:                                        Oh my god, you have no idea. They told us to do so much useful stuff that like, this is going to sound so like bad, but like a lot of the folks I went to high school with did not have the motor control to do any of those things unassisted and there’s absolutely no shame in that, but like, how can you do the assignment well? I mean, you have help, but like when you’re an adult, sometimes there might not be help. Like okay now, you know how to make pancakes from scratch, but you can’t hold a measuring cup. What good is it?

Emily:                                       Interesting. I had never really thought about that.

Kyle:                                        I’m not shaming anybody by the way. I’m not saying that to be a jerk. I’m just saying like it’s great that they taught us, however…

Emily:                                       Yes, it’s funny. I think I was at your school once. This was like years after we both graduated. I was at an event there and I think I ate food at an event that the home-ec class had made.

Kyle:                                        That’s really nice.

Emily:                                       It was good. It was like impressive. Certainly, better than what my home-ec classes did. I remember we cooked in a wok one time and the teacher thought he was so great because he was introducing us to culture.

Kyle:                                        Ah, yes, woks, the pinnacle of culture.

Emily:                                       I mean, delicious Asian cooking, but like, maybe think outside the box a little bit. What are we even talking about anymore? What is happening?

Kyle:                                        The internet is amazing because it makes our careers possible and our lifestyles possible, but it also is a place that you don’t want to be on or be at irresponsibly, I guess.

Emily:                                       Yeah, that sounds about right. I mean, the reason that I really wanted to talk about it is because and this has nothing to do with anything that we talked about because, of course, it takes me 200 years to get to any point in an episode. I got a message on Instagram the other day from a woman who has the same disability as me. And whereas, you have cerebral palsy and everyone in the whole world has cerebral palsy. Nobody has my disability, which is Larsen syndrome. This woman from Brazil, who’s two years older than me sent me a message. Now, I have a cool friend from Brazil who looks like me.

Kyle:                                        That is so cool. See, like that’s amazing. That’s incredible.

Emily:                                       That was the point I really wanted to make at the beginning of the episode, but I got waylaid by talking about Amazon, but like the Internet is really freaking cool. I would, I always feel, even though I have a very large “community of disabled people” who I connect with, there’s something very different about someone who messages you, when you have a rare disorder. Then it’s like, that’s me, it’s me. It’s me except in another country.

Kyle:                                        I can’t imagine what that must, that must be so surreal.

Emily:                                       Because you, I mean, we’re almost never not around other people with CPE.

Kyle:                                        It was to the point where, when I was able to, I got away from them. Not, not because I didn’t, it was just like, there are people without disabilities places like, well, let me learn about those.

Emily:                                       That will never stop being a strange concept to me.

Kyle:                                        I know. It’s completely weird. It’s a very strange.

Emily:                                       It is the absolute opposite of my experience, which we’ve talked about more in depth.

Kyle:                                        It’s true. Most, I always knew that I was disabled. I can’t remember when I learned, but I, as far back as I remember, I knew, so not only did I know I was disabled, but everyone around me was too, except for my parents. Of course, they weren’t disabled because they were my parents, so it made sense. Then my sister showed up and I was like, “Wait a minute, hold on.”

Emily:                                       This is funny because have we talked about this? I don’t, I can’t remember anything we’ve talked about. I really need to go back and study our episode list, but I have no idea when I became conscious of the fact that I had a disability.

Kyle:                                        Oh man, that sounds like a different episode. We’ll go into this in more detail at some point because this is so cool. This should be the next thing we talk about. [00:25:51 inaudible]

Emily:                                       I really, really want to do that and you know what I want to do, you know we’ve never done, but I really want to do, I feel like maybe we should put a poll out there somehow.

Kyle:                                        That’s a great idea. I don’t know how we’ll do it. We’ll figure it out.

Emily:                                       I don’t how to do this. Anyway. Stay tuned for that episode because I would love to know like early realizations of disability in your consciousness.

Kyle:                                        Like when were you first told or learned doesn’t matter which, and then when were you faced with something that you had to do differently or couldn’t do that was directly because of your disability?

Emily:                                       I hope we get some answers. Feel free to email us. It’s [email protected] or you can tweet us, call me, beep me if you want to reach me. We’ll put that out on social media too. That’s awesome. I have so many questions. Everybody telling me your deepest, darkest secrets about when you realized you were crippled. I’m allowed to use that word.

Kyle:                                        Yes. No, that’s okay. That’s our word. It’s our word, but it’s not– never mind.

Emily:                                       It’s fine. I get it. If I get it, everybody else gets it.

Kyle:                                        There you go.

Emily:                                       That’s how that works. You have been on a delay on video this whole time. Your facial expressions are confusing to me because it looks like you’re not reacting to what I’m saying. Then like five seconds later, you’re like, “Ahahaha” so, and then I’m like, “Kyle doesn’t think I’m interesting anymore,” but then you laugh.

Kyle:                                        Are you kidding? You are so interesting. You have a book.

Emily:                                       I do. I did that.

Kyle:                                        Do you feel different?

Emily:                                       I will. When I’m holding it in my hands, although I looked myself up on the library of Congress website the other day.

Kyle:                                        What? You are on there?

Emily:                                       Yes, like because they have to register the copyright for the book and everything. I was looking at the copyright page in like the preview of the book that I’m looking at and I copied the link for my library of Congress entry and put it into the address bar, just so that I could look at it, then it felt a little more real.

Kyle:                                        Let me see. Let me see it. I want to see it, show it to me afterwards. That’s so cool.

Emily:                                       Kyle was my first book pre-order, you guys

Kyle:                                        It’s true, I was.

Emily:                                       It was so great. Anyway, this was an all over the place episode of The Accessible Stall, but I’m going to say we made some good points, right?

Kyle:                                        I agree, definitely.

Emily:                                       I feel like we’re at a good stopping point before we get onto tangent number 45, and then we make another entire new episode, 30 minutes into this one.

Kyle:                                        Do you have any final takeaways?

Emily:                                       My final takeaway is that the internet is pretty cool. I don’t really have anything insightful to say. My brain is spent at this point, and this was not even particularly intellectually stimulating episode, but it just felt good to like, get my thoughts out about the internet, which is that it’s a complicated, weird place. That brings me a lot of good things.

Kyle:                                        I don’t have anything to add to that. That was amazing. You were amazing. The internet is amazing.

Emily:                                       I’m resisting every urge, except I’m not because I’m doing it now, to say the internet is for porn.

Kyle:                                        I was doing that the whole time.

Emily:                                       The whole time.

Kyle:                                        The entire time.

Emily:                                       I just, I wanted to try to be mature about it, but I just can’t do it.

Kyle:                                        Everybody. If you don’t know what that is, look it up.

Emily:                                       It’s from Avenue Q. It’s very good and offensive musical because Kyle and I really like offensive musicals.

Kyle:                                        It’s true. I didn’t realize we had that in common. I know we do. That is true.

Emily:                                       Well, the one that we saw together was wildly offensive.

Kyle:                                        I don’t think… oh my god. That was… remember when we could do that like go to a place.

Emily:                                       What’s that like?

Kyle:                                        Do you remember places?

Emily:                                       I’ve been to a few places. A few very socially distance places. Like I went pumpkin picking this weekend.

Kyle:                                        I was at target recently and a woman stepped on my foot and my first thought wasn’t, “Aw, you stepped on my foot.” It was, “If you’re close enough to me to step on my foot, you’re way too close to me, like way too close.” Like it’s the point where like she turned around and she said she was sorry, but like, I was already gone. I was like already six feet away. It’s like, I don’t want your apology. Give it from over there.

Emily:                                       Oh my god. I would have thrown down. That would have really made me mad.

Kyle:                                        I didn’t say anything because it was like, it was clearly an accident, but like still like, no.

Emily:                                       That’s really stressful. I’m sorry that happened. Wear masks everybody, stay socially distanced.

Kyle:                                        This has been another episode of The Accessible Stall. I’m Kyle.

Emily:                                       I’m Emily

Kyle:                                        Might we say, you look great today. I mean like super, super great, like totally amazing. That new hair of yours is so good.

Emily:                                       Quarantine hair is absolutely working for you. Good night, everybody.