Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Point made

Another HUGE interface with The Real World, yesterday... this time, courtesy the Air Travel System.

Security Theater wasn't more trouble than usual. Fortunately. There were many things I didn't understand... last time I went through, they seemed very concerned that I was using my own wheelchair, rather than one of the airport's, so they spent extra time swabbing it for explosives. Y'know, the sort of places people have long been known to hide explosives... the footrests, the empty bag suspended between the uprights, underneath the seat. Where, to most of us untrained ignoramuses, we'd, y'know, just look, and see that there wasn't anything there, but those highly trained experts needed to run BOTH HANDS over the plastic that was thinner than most windbreakers are, and REALLY REALLY CHECK those pieces of solid plastic upon which my feed rest.

Anyway, so yesterday, I used one of the airport's chairs, thinking that would make things simpler. Apparently not. They were concerned that the SOLID ALUMINUM things that my feet rest on might contain explosives. Or something.

Anyway, the kicker was not Security Theater, but someone from the airline. I had a "preboard" pass, I'm sitting in a wheelchair, an airport-provided wheelchair with one of those bright-red eye-catcher back-handles and all, and he says to me, "Can you go up the stairs?"

My first thought was to say, "Dude. I'm in a wheelchair. What do you think?"

But instead, I said, "If there's a thousand-dollar bill with my name on it at the top of those stairs... yes. Yes I can. If not... you're gonna have to use the lift."

Point made without rancor... and I think he realized precisely what he had asked, and of whom he had asked it... and I don't think he's gonna ask that ever again, of someone in a wheelchair.

Although, you gotta admit... the thousand-dollar bill would be pretty cool, wouldn't it?


Katja said...

Cute comeback!

But I can't fault these folks for asking, given the diversity of abilities amongst those who use wheelchairs. Especially if you're using the airport's wheelchair and not your own!

Muffie said...

I haven't gone through airport security in a while, so if I ever travel again, I'm sure many surprises await me. Glad, at least, that you're going places; sorry you had the problems, though.

Robert Parker said...

Katja: Being wheelchair-bound...sometimes myself... I know that there's "need the wheelchair" and "sort-of need the wheelchair" and "prefer the wheelchair." But still, I'd suggest they simply assume that someone in a wheelchair can't do stairs, and let them ask to use the stairs.

"Hey, I wanna walk it" is more fun for both parties than "Dude. Wheelchair. Can't walk anywhere. That's why I'm in the wheelchair. Or hadn't you noticed?"