A Little Consideration

This week Declan Groeger considers ‘consideration’ and how even seemingly small actions, or inactions, can have a profound effect on his daily experience. 

Inconsiderate, thoughtless and selfish people annoy me. Yes, they really annoy me! I’m not talking about people who forget the occasional birthday or anniversary. The people I’m talking about are everywhere; they live amongst us and carry no external warning signs.

Picture this- I’m rolling along in my wheelchair doing a bit of clothes shopping and my path is blocked by some clothes, still on hangers, that the last shopper knocked off the rail and couldn’t be bothered to pick up. Such behaviour is discourteous to other shoppers and particularly to shoppers with mobility issues. It may seem trivial but seemingly small issues often turn into major obstacles.

I understand that retail premises must try to achieve the maximum return for their floor space but it annoys me when the floor area is too tightly packed with product to allow comfortable wheelchair/walking aide access.

People who park on footpaths are another source of annoyance as the only way past is to use the road and that brings its own difficulties particularly if there is no ‘dish’ or it is blocked.

People who don’t clean up after their dog more than annoy me, they infuriate me. Wheelchair users need to be looking ahead for physical obstacles and should not need to be looking for dog foul on the footpath. When dog poo gets onto the wheels of a wheelchair it is difficult to clean off and very often it is not even noticed until it has transferred to the user’s hands. Simply disgusting.

I hate being questioned in the 3rd person, people asking “will he...?” “does he...?” addressed to another member of the group. I reacted rather badly recently when a restaurant manager asked my wife Jean “Would he prefer to stay in his chair?”

Architects and engineers who comply with the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law really wind me up because their ill-designed “accessible toilet” remains inaccessible or the corridor is too narrow.

I hate the legislators who fail to legislate for people with disabilities because there are not enough votes in it for them.

I hate gravel surfaces and cobble stones but I accept that at times alternatives are not available so I tend to avoid these areas.

I hate places that claim to be accessible but in reality are not.

What really annoys me is that I may have been that inconsiderate, thoughtless yob before I was diagnosed with MS. Even then my insensitivity may have continued for years until my own mobility became seriously compromised.

I love people who are thoughtful and considerate.

I love the person who offers to get that item from the top shelf which I can’t reach.

I really appreciate the people who offer a helping hand. I was amazed recently when a five year old boy, standing nearby as I exited the car, asked if I needed help.

I am grateful for architects and engineers who design really accessible places and the builders who bring those plans to completion. 

What’s your experience?

Declan

Don't forget to visit able2access.wordpress.com a blog about accessibility for the mobility impaired