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Disability Bitch hates other disabled people again

6th August 2009

Readers, in case you hadn't noticed, it's August. Traditionally in August, the entire population of the UK flees the country for warmer climes. I am no exception. Yes, I am on holiday. I'm telling you this now in case some major cripple-based story breaks this week and you wonder why on earth I'm not covering it. I'm not covering it, readers, because I don't care. I'm on a beach, or at least I will be by the time you read this, and that, people, is the only news I'm interested in right now.
An airport queue
To be truthful, I'm at the airport, staring at my pasty-faced passport photo, imagining just how sun-kissed I will get in the weeks to come. I was in rapture. And then I started getting backache. I should explain that as I write this, I'm standing in the airport check-in queue. If you're thinking it's impressive that I have time to pen this column at all in such a situation, you should know that I've been standing here for about five hours straight. The bloke in front of me is letting me lean on his back. He says it gives him something to do. He also lent me his Blackberry, on which I'm writing this.

Much as I love going on holiday, I HATE QUEUING, and the check in queue is easily one of the worst queues I encounter in an average year.

It's pretty darn obvious that I would hate queuing: as a bipedal I'm rubbish at walking and even worse at standing still. It's a stamina issue. Even leaning on a walking stick, I can only manage about two minutes in line before that familiar twinge hits my spinal muscles. Five minutes later I'll be shifting from foot to foot and necking anti-inflammatories as if they were Smarties. After ten minutes, I'm in so much agony I have to give up and throw myself on the ground, even if that ground has been recently trampled by a herd of elephants with bowel control issues.

But that, readers, is not the source of my anger. After all, no one likes queuing, not even the Normals. No, the cause of my wrath in this matter is OTHER DISABLED PEOPLE.

Specifically, I hate those handicappers who look more disabled than me. All of them. Yes.
wheelchair at airport
A wheelchair just like the ones that have people sitting in them
You see, I like to think I'm an honest cripple. I haven't got one of these awkward 'hidden impairments'. You know the ones, as sported by people who bound up to you when you're sitting in the priority seat, fit, toned, muscular, looking for all the world like they've just cartwheeled off an Olympic training track and are wanting to empathise with you because they're also disabled. "Oh really," you say, privately thinking, "Give me a clue then, or even better, wear a sign".

My disability is nice and obvious: I walk like a freak and wield a stick when I'm out and about. It serves the same purpose as having the word CRIPPLE tattooed across my forehead but, oddly, is a little easier to deal with.

When positioned in the middle of a large crowded queue, it would seem my disability becomes less noticeable. At least, for the last five hours, every time a wheelchair user has appeared in the same queue that I'm standing in, they've been merrily waved through into some kind of special magic 'priority' queue while I remain here. They disappear through a door in a matter of minutes never to be seen again.

Either this is some secret government euthanasia programme or they are teleporting onto their aeroplanes without so much as a "did you pack these bags yourself, madam"?
Aeroplane seatbelts
Readers, I've got a question: why do wheelchair users need to jump queues? (I bet they've never heard that one before - Ed) After all, these are people who bring their own seats with them to any event they attend, even events at which seats are not traditionally provided. That's sort of the point. If there was an international standing upright convention, every single wheelchair user I know would take their wheelchair with them. You'd think they could wait in the queue with the rest of the world, sitting in their nice, comfortable chair, enjoying the texture of their custom made ergonomic cushion, maybe reading a book, filling in some puzzles, or having conversations on their mobile phone. But no, they always get to queue-jump.

Yes, yes, I know. Some wheelchair users have limited stamina too. That's fine. I don't mind those ones being waved through. It's just that in every queue I've ever been in, every wheelchair user who shows up gets waved through priority boarding no questions asked. I, meanwhile, find myself begging pathetically to anyone who looks even vaguely official, rolling up my trouser legs to reveal operation scars, twisting my body to ensure I look especially like a handicapper that morning and roughing up my oh-so-trendy stick so it looks a little more like I was gifted it by some NHS scheme for especially needy folk.

Sometimes it works and I get to join the priority queue. Sometimes I am asked to fill out a twenty page questionnaire detailing my medical history. Sometimes I am asked where my carer is. And sometimes, dear reader, the keepers of the queue are paying me so little attention I find it impossible to make eye contact with them, and they only notice I might need help when several of my fellow queuers are dialling emergency services because I've just collapsed on the ground.

I've had enough. I'm not queuing anymore. I've got a solution, though. Next time I spot a wheelie entering the building, I'm going to grab the handles of their chair and claim to be their carer, making patronising comments about them as I do so. It's a sure-fire method of getting into the priority boarding club.

I'm hoping this little trick will also get me upgraded to first class.

MillsWatch

No update on the life of our most prominent showbiz crip this week. Find your inspiration somewhere else. The Church of Heather is closed - like half of the BBC.

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