Who needs elastic

I was musing the other day about the value of elastic, or rather lack thereof. Before you all dispose of your knicker elastic, or cut it, and cause a general uproar on the streets. I am off course referring to those of us who can’t stand. As I lie in bed or sit in my wheelchair, I find elastic a mixed blessing. Elastic has its uses, in keeping knickers up for instance. But it also has a big drawback; it cuts into your waist. You see I am not completely crazy, there is reason behind my musing. As a perpendicular person you need elastic to prevent gravity acting on your underwear. After all you don’t want to have to hold your underwear up all day. As a horizontal or seated person; I don’t. For me the elastic only has negative impact. In fact, as I wear jogging bottoms as well and they are elasticated, then they have the same issue. I end up with red marks around my waist.

With these important facts in mind hear my brilliant idea. A range of clothing for permanent wheelchair users. A range of clothing that has no elastic. I hear the gasps of admiration and astonishment now. You will be thinking why hasn’t it been done before? My range of ‘wheelie wear’ as I will call it ‘patent pending.’ Will be unique, because it is a totally elastic free range. All the wheelchair clothes I can see have elastic in them somewhere. My genius amazes even me. If you are a wheelie and reading this, you are probably open mouthed in amazement. You are no doubt thinking of all the advantages. Yes, you may have thought of those few disadvantages that also occurred to me. But just how many people are miraculously healed and spring from their chairs in praise? The resulting embarrassment of trousers and knickers around your ankles will be momentary. Then there is of course the size issue, it’s true elastic does cover a multitude of sins. One size fits many. But my range would have to be broader and perhaps there would be an issue with giant gaps at the sides, but what is that compared to the convenience. A few drafts and some discomfort all great inventions have teething problems.

I am thinking that a conventional catwalk show would not work to show off this range of clothing. Although the range would be a bit hidden when worn by wheelies, the compere could point out the lower part of the product. Perhaps the range could be held up for perusal. It may well be that in this day and age when it is so fashionable to have trousers hanging off people’s behinds that there may be a crossover for my range to non-wheelies. It would certainly be an eye raiser and make front page news. I can see the headline now, ‘New wheelie range is a wheel eye opener.’

Before you all start looking out for ‘wheelie wear’ by Nevin, I should point out that my tongue has been firmly in my cheek for this blog.

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You can’t handle the truth

‘You can’t handle the truth.’ In the movie A Few Good Men.’ Jack Nicholson pronounces those words. They have come to mean things that are more than we can grasp or understand. They are an excuse for not sharing the whole truth and I am sure many governments have found comfort in the idea that their voters, couldn’t handle the whole truth, and therefore they don’t share it.

Truth is a curious thing. It is like a currency. There was a time when that currency had immense value. Now it is almost without value. What happened to cause such a drop? The notion of relative truth happened. It’s something I have talked of before because it is so important. If truth is relative then it’s value is effectively floated on a stock exchange of ideas to be compared with other things of value. That was the beginning of the devaluation of truth. ‘If it’s true for you then that’s OK’ was the concept. That simple idea devalued truth. Because truth was no longer ‘true’, truth was relative to experience. You had a truth and so did I. I am not saying that there was any sinister motive in this change. In fact the opposite was true. It was a kick back to a world of hard rules and hard judgement. After all we all want to be accepted and loved. But making everything right and true is not the way to achieve that. It’s how we react to truth that matters. We don’t have to ignore it.

The trouble with kicking back at something is that we tend to throw everything out. Poor baby goes out with the bath water. That happened with truth. In making truth relative then truth became so devalued that it had no meaning. All ideas had equal value, all you needed to make your idea accepted was a large enough group of people to accept it. So the new arbiter of truth became public opinion and how do you sway that? By the media. Those who knew how to play the media became those whose ‘truth’ was most accepted. If you have ever wandered why it is that over these last 20-30 years we have had one fad diet after another, one panic after another, one crazy notion after another, it was media pushing relative truth and how on earth we could end up with people in power who we would have laughed at 10 years ago (and did) then it’s relative truth. There is no absolute so any ideas go, therefore if you can push your truth loud enough and well enough people listen. Media manipulation by those who can play it well has meant that we, the public are being led to ‘believe’ one thing after another. Is that really better than knowing what the truth is? Has obscuring the real truth by a series of relative values done us any favours?

If I as a writer had written a plot about the current situation in the USA and the UK 10 or 20 years ago and submitted it for publication. Publishers would have seen it as unbelievable and silly. I am living through it and I expect to wake up any minute. Truth has become so devalued that it is meaningless. You can see that in the Trump impeachment farrago and you can see it in the unfolding drama in our own country. Relative truth means that even as we are lied to, the politicians have an answer and people believe them! After all what can their behaviour be held up to as a standard, there is no standard any more. We removed it.

But truth cannot be relative. There has to be a time when we wake up and realise that. One day, hopefully soon, we will again find the ‘truth’ in ‘truth’. That day we will no longer say ‘if it’s true for you that’s ok.’ But instead we will engage our logic and thinking faculties and say, ‘you say it’s true for you, but have you asked the question whether it’s actually true.’ Let’s stop calling lies, misunderstanding and folly truth. Truth is truth. Let’s stop floating ‘truth’ on a stock exchange of ideas and put it securely where it belongs. Let truth again be true.

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Sense and Sensibility

I like Jane Austin, there I’ve said it, get all your ridicule out of the way now. Oh, you don’t have any. I really like Jane Austin, she was an author ahead of her time. Humorous, clever, insightful and radical. She was able to put over ideas about gender inequality in a way that even men at the time found acceptable, didn’t they? Well they should have done. She has a timeless quality and her books have been re imagined in so many ways.

Sense and sensibility is one of my favourites, along with Pride and Prejudice. In Sense and Sensibility Jane contrasts a sensible sister with an overly emotionally sensitive one. It can appear at first reading that the sensible sister, Elinor, is the heroine the one we are to see as right. Marianne, the overly sensitive one, seems so flighty and over emotional that it’s hard to emphasise with her. But, as in real life both sisters are on a journey. Marianne needs to gain more sense, but Elinor needs to get more in touch with her emotions.

Why on earth would I quote from that book? What relevance is there to me or you? I have been reading a lot of posts on disability ‘wheelie’ sites about comments non wheelies make to my fellow ‘wheelies’. I have also had a lot of, well let’s say ‘insensitive’ comments made to me. It got me thinking, ‘how do we respond to ignorance and insensitivity?’

It seems to me we can often be like one or other of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor or Marianne. Either too sensible or too emotional in our response. The sensible being to ignore the person being insensitive. The emotional being to get angry and upset, then shout or be rude back. Then it struck me maybe a better way forward would be somewhere between these extremes. Emotions are going to hit us, how can they not. If someone says something stupid to us. Accuses us of malingering or acts as a disability police, or maybe just pushes us unasked in our wheelchair. But we don’t have to respond to that feeling. We can draw on our logical, sensible side to realise that it is ignorance that causes such comments. How can people understand what they haven’t experienced. How can we blame people for believing the lies in the media. We need to help people understand, teach, explain, use our emotional response to drive us into a passionate defence of disabled people and our sensible side to prevent ourselves just ranting and getting angry. The world needs to gain insight into disability; not gain more reasons to shy away from disabled people.

The point of this post is a plea to my fellow wheelies. When you meet ignorance, pause, count to ten and think before responding. I know it’s tempting to respond like for like. To meet ignorance with ignorance. It can feel good to have a great cutting remark in response to an idiotic remark. But; if we are to change the hearts and minds of those around us, it can only be done through insight and knowledge. Communication is the key. People gain knowledge and understanding partly through hearing, partly through seeing and partly through experience. Do your part to help them understand.

If you are not disabled or limited and reading this then my plea to you is stop and look, listen, think. Try to put yourself in a wheelchair, buggy, hospital bed. How would you feel, day after day, limited, and frustrated. How would you feel when your moves and choices are so closely monitored and others feel the right to judge you and test you at every turn. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Communication and understanding will change things. Let’s not give in to hate or anger. Let’s take hold of our sensibility (emotional response) and use our sense to make an informed response to what happens around us. That applies to both disabled and able bodied alike.

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Watching the world go by

Aren’t people funny? Not me of course, other people. I am sitting at a window table in Perkins Warbeck, Weatherspoon’s in Taunton. Watching the world go by. People are very different, have you noticed that? Large, small, tall, thin, wide, in fact any shape you can think of. You had to think of a star didn’t you. Then there’s the clothes. I didn’t know there was such a range of clothes available. Or walks, I thought The Ministry of Funny Walks was a Monty Python sketch, not real life.

Hang on, it’s 1:30pm on a school day, where are all these school kids going, is it lunch time. Maybe the local authority should hire me as a truant officer.

It started raining about half an hour ago, not that you’d know by the way some people are dressed. It’s winter isn’t it? I am in a coat, hat, scarf, leggings and I am sat in a hot restaurant. OK so I have taken my hat and scarf off, and undone my coat. But some people going by are in T shirts with a light open jacket! Why is that lady wearing a bikini, just kidding.

Now there’s a novelty, a lady has just used her pushchair to open the door. The toddler seemed to enjoy kicking the door open. Maybe Weatherspoon should get auto doors. This is a very good place for wheelchairs, apart from the door. Mary has to open it wide for me. But once inside it’s very roomy and of course the window seats are great.

Trouble is next time you are passing you will look in to see if I am sitting looking out. Do wave if you see me. Mind you if it’s not a Thursday, Curry day, I probably won’t be there. We are only here today because of an eye test.

That reminds me, I was sitting in Cleve coffee shop a week ago and a lady who reads my blog recognised me; by the colour of my hair! You know who you are, thought I’d mention you, but not by name Karen, oops. At least I missed off your surname.

Crowds are building outside, is it a major event, an accident, Royalty? No just smokers. They are trying to shelter under the covered doorway and seem to be just succeeding. Mary is popping in and out shopping at nearby shops. Surprisingly I don’t enjoy shopping. I know, you’d think any man who liked Jane Austin would love shopping. So I am having the endless cups of coffee you can get here. Can I just add that we did actually buy it. I say that because one time we were sitting here and someone came in, walked up to an empty table, picked up a used mug and went to get a free re fill. Hope that the person they ‘borrowed’ the cup from had nothing catching. No, it wasn’t their cup and they hadn’t just been out smoking. I overheard their conversation as they searched tables for an empty cup.

Crowds are thinning outside, the rain is getting heavier. I do like the reflections you get on the roads. Rain and snow somehow make roads look nicer, prettier. I feel like I should say something really butch and macho now to balance out all the flowery stuff…. No, I’m a blank.

Anyway I am going to finish my coffee and carry on people watching. Who knows, maybe you just walked past me.

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2020 Vision

I have 2020 vision. Is what I would be saying if it were true. In fact my eyesight is not very good. 2020 vision is an interesting notion in the light of the current year and our situation. ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone, I can see all obstacles in my way…’ sorry I burst into song. Have you seen ‘About a boy’? The young lad in that looks like I used to, pudding bowl hair cut and I have a tendency of singing at odd times. If you have read my Hilda books that might sound oddly familiar; pure coincidence I assure you.

Back to future, I mean the present. Talking of presents I had some Lego technic for Christmas. Well actually it was Kazi, no toilet jokes please. Now that Lego has lost its patent Chinese companies are producing cheap versions. So I made a Lego type model of a digger. It sits proudly on my shelf. How can I tell it’s proud? Because it sticks it’s nose in the air. One downside of cheap Chinese imports is that several pieces were missing and I had to make do. I bought it via AliExpress or Ali not so express as I think of them. They are fine if nothing goes wrong. I only buy cheap things from them. Have I gone on a tangent? How unlike me.

2020 vision, did you know that there are other fractions which indicate lesser vision? 2040 and 2060. I wonder if I will be around in those years. Back to 2020, I am hoping for a good year. Now I sound like a wine connoisseur. I don’t even drink. Well I drink a lot of water.

What was the purpose of this blog. No, I’m asking you, what was the purpose of this blog? A bit of New Year fun. So there you go. Mission accomplished. All the best for this New Year. Oh yes and you’ll be reading everywhere not to abbreviate the year, so don’t go skipping to the end.

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