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Disability Bitch hates bank holidays

20th April 2011

• Disability Bitch is published every other Thursday.
• The rest of the time, you can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Readers, this week I should be happy, and not just because an excellent scientific study has indicated that swearing relieves pain. No, apparently bigger things are happening in the UK.
Believe me, the swearing cure thing is the best news a chronic pain-experiencing Disabled like me has had all chuffing year ... but I'm noticing that everyone around me is getting far more excited about the plethora of bank holidays about to enter our lives. Whatever. People are weird.

Let's spell it out: Easter, May Day and the royal wedding mean we get two long weekends in a row, that's four bank holidays in quick succession. So, next week only actually has three working days in it.

Most people seem to be planning celebrations this holiday time - if not strictly because of the religious festival and decorous nuptials - but it'll come as no surprise to anyone that I HATE BANK HOLIDAYS, mostly because the rest of the country is in such a good mood.
People in the Mall in cental London
See, people get it into their heads that they should Go Out and Do Things on these supposedly special days. And we all know there is nothing more likely to upset a usually well-balanced cripple than a swarm of Other People(TM) on the streets. Out they come, clogging up the high street and public monuments, often carrying backpacks or picnic hampers.

During an average working week, most of the irritating Ableds are safely stowed in office blocks where any organised Disabled can avoid them if they plan ahead.

On bank holidays, they pop up everywhere, elbowing me off the street with cunning ploys such as not looking where they're going while talking into their mobile phone, and stopping dead in the middle of the pavement without taking account of my increased stopping distance, then swearing when I walk into them. Although now, of course, I know they are only issuing profanities as a form of pain relief.

With more people on the street, there are more opportunities to be crushed to death ... though it's not necessarily any safer at home.

This week, my No-Legged Friend has been issuing endless invitations to his Easter barbecue.

"Don't be daft," I've told him. "Two disabled people near open fire and hot coals? That is an episode of Casualty waiting to happen." Of course, I've informed the Health and Safety Executive.

Undeterred by my negativity, he asked me if I'd rather attend the Kate 'n' Wills street party he is also planning. I've asked for the itinerary and I understand that draping oneself in a Union Jack and standing round drinking alcohol is a big part of it.
Kate Middleton and Prince William
I can just about deal with the above but then I read that the party also has a buffet. Yes, an unusually aware disabled man has chosen a buffet, everyone. Why?

Now, this has been on my mind for years, and I would just like to take the opportunity to say that for mobility aid users, there is no more unsatisfactory form of food delivery than a blooming buffet.

I'm about to go off on one, OK? This is a warning. I'm going to lose it ... like, really big time styleee ...

EITHER you're a wheelchair user and all the food is positioned at the wrong height for you, OR you are using one or more hands to clutch your mobility aid. THE DIFFICULTIES ARE OBVIUS.

At a buffet, should you be lucky enough to have a free hand, someone will shove a piece of crockery into it, that's how they work. or don't work. From then on you will have nothing to grab any actual food with ... though some kindly soul might pile it on for you. Probably your mum. Probably with the stuff you didn't want to eat. And even then, with a plateful of precariously balanced tiny snacks in your hand, you won't be able to hold any cutlery to get it to your mouth.

You certainly won't have enough hands to hold both a plate of food and a tumbler of drink, meaning you will either have to dehydrate or starve. If taken to its extreme, readers, this could kill you. It’s neglect. It's inaccessible. It's breaching my basic human rights and there are laws against this kind of thing.

So no, thank you, I will not be attending any bank holiday outdoor eating events, regardless of the national celebrations in progress.

Actually, I had rather hoped I might be able to catch up on everyday activities while all the Normals are out of the way, you know: go to the post office, chat with the bank manager, call the DWP for some advice on those forthcoming benefit changes, pop to the GP for a repeat prescription and a chat about the troublesome rash on the back of my knee. I'm not a stereotypical cripple at all!

The trouble is, you can't even do that: the worst thing about bank holidays is that everything useful is closed. And they screw up the TV schedules as well, so Neighbours is on at the wrong time if at all, even The News.

There's nothing else for it. I'm going to stay in bed until this holiday nonsense has passed. See you on the other side.

Facebook / Twitter

This week, I used my social networking pages to make an hilarious joke about how I'd completed the London Marathon in only just over two hours, and then had to explain that I hadn't really. That was my 'reasonable adjustment' for the irony-impaired.

I also updated my followers live from a restaurant bathroom: I'd fallen over and was hiding from over-zealous staff who wanted to help me.

If you'd like minute-by-minute updates on my adventures in falling over - and who wouldn't? - follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook.

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