I just did a Twitter search for #DisabledPeopleProblems, because I wondered if anyone had made use of the hashtag to highlight the smaller problems and dilemmas that only disabled people have to deal with. I found a few tweets, but not as many as I thought I would.
I’m not talking about the big issues, like accessibility, discrimination, and messed up service systems … but rather the sorta hard, kinda annoying little things we deal with every day that don’t rise to the level of injustice, but which stick in our craw anyway.
For example, this afternoon I went shopping. My list was medium sized. That meant I had to decide whether to go the the big, full-service supermarket that’s got good parking, and always has plenty of mobility carts available, but is also usually crowded and hard to navigate? Or, do I go to my neighborhood, second-rate grocery store that only has one mobility cart, (that I don't care to risk riding on), but does have smaller shopping carts that are easier to push, and the store itself is both smaller and less crowded? On the other hand, it’s not very nice, and there’s usually at least one thing on my list that I find they don’t have. Which means another shopping trip.
As I said, these are not terrible problems. Most of the time, I can afford whatever is on my shopping list without having to completely rework my monthly budget, or dropping items off the list purely because of cost. I drive and have a car, so I don’t have to worry about adhering to someone else’s schedule … whether a friend or, say, a paratransit bus. I can get my groceries from my car to my kitchen, usually in just two trips, though to be honest, for me that is by far the hardest part of shopping. Things could be a lot worse, and for many disabled people, they are.
Yet, these are my little dilemmas, which I only really have to deal with because of my particular kinds of disabilities. I’m not complaining or comparing. I just think it’s interesting to explore the second or third-tier problems we deal with as moderately disabled people. And thinking of them as a variation of #WhitePeopleProblems helps, because that phrase carries with it a similar kind of ironic awareness about just how relative “problems” can be, depending on where you find yourself in society and identity.
What are your #DisabledPeopleProblems?