Tag Archives: travel

Operation get the fuck to Toronto!! After a lot of prep, and a fabulous demo last night (which I will write about soon) we’re finally on the road!!

But why are we driving? Well, Via Rail and Megabus have very restricted accessibility options: Megabus you have to book 48 hours in advance at least, and they restrict access to one mobility device per trip. Via Rail only has one spot for a mobility device on each train. Not train car, on an entire train. And we didn’t think we should have to fly just to go between two major cities in Canada/ we are way too cheap to fly, so J decided to drive. Although it is more of a hassle in many ways than simply boarding a bus or train. Lucky we had the option to take J’s wheels otherwise we’d have had to take separate trips or go with way fewer mobility tools… We’re already planning a lobbying campaign for Megabus to get their act together…

In any case, very happy to be on the road!!

Any guesses how many mobility tools we have in this van? Shit’s off the hook. We are READY!!! Excited to go see family and do some interviews for my rapidly forthcoming zine: Underwater City I.

This is what a first class scooter looks like! Turns out the wheeled device spot on the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto train is in fiirrrst classs. So here I am baby. It was easy to get on with the scoot, Via Rail staff were chill and helpful. It makes such a positive difference when people are friendly!

Here amongst the business people and independently wealthy there are curtains on the windows, newspapers for all, and a man with a liquor cart. I don’t know why newspapers are a sign of upper society, I mean, the news is pretty much everywhere now. But ahhh the luxury of flipping through! Never thought you’d hear me say I like class systems eh? Well class tastes pretty good when it comes in the form of a complimentary 4pm gin and tonic! Hahaaa (evil capitalist laughter).

But seriously, this train is much newer than the one J and I took from Edmonton to Vancouver. And it is, unlike that one, rather accessible. There’s even a giganto bathroom. Too bad the western train is so filled with steps and narrow aisles.. Seems like the touristic (Rocky Mountain line) would have more of an emphasis on access. But maybe just more people travel on the central Canadian lines so they prioritized making them accessible first. Well… Something to ask my new Via Rail employee friends.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some gin to drink and polite elderly men to make small talk with.

Airbone

We’re airborne, baby

through the words, sharp corners around pylon teeth.

Round that nervous bend in your brow.

Airborne baby, that’s where we are.

Highways are made of dust and colour.

Speed faster, babe,

blur the signs together.

Speed past burning trees,

miss the turn-off.

On the highway

On the highway

This is  higher than we’ve ever been.

We’d never get paid for this;

Talk is cheap

Paper is expensive.

Down the highway,

Down the highway, baby,

we’re flying.

If you fall I won’t catch you.

Love isn’t real unless your ass hits the ground.

Fall for me baby,

fall for me.

We got matches

and water.

And our heads.

We’re airborne baby, its where we are.

Not where we’ll stay.

Anti-inflammatories, inflammatory comments, and gym-going businessmen

I feel like I came back to sit in my apartment. Like all the freedom and beautiful things I experienced in the city by the sea got crushed under the forced and weary footsteps I took yesterday on a quest to find wheels. Like the cheap wine and post election revolutionary stirrings in the street were not worth the lack of mobility and freedom I am experiencing right now, in this moment. I haven’t felt this much physical pain since I left Edmonton and thought I could just go to the dog park and walk around with my Mum like I used to. Boots laced up tightly and dog drooling all over the beige spring earth. I was wrong.

And I was wrong to expect that the Rheumatologist I came back in time to see would have anything to say that I haven’t already heard: take anti-inflammatories, here’s a prescription, oh they hurt your stomach and you don’t want to damage your kidneys? Well take this other thing at the same time, so it counters the side effects. Its all about quality of life. You want to have a normal life right? Well, take these things and walk like I do until you can’t anymore. Then have your bones cut out and reconstructed and then walk around like I do some more.

I don’t like ableism, the idea that the definition of a good life is one that mirrors that of the normal, jogging businessman. The guy who lifts weights after driving to the gym. The kind of guy who carries all his grocery bags in one hand. Its oppressive. And he, incidentally, is also the type of guy who cuts you off in the grocery store because he’s in a rush to go home and grab his ergonomic shoes and extra breathing exercise clothes and make it to the gym tonight.

I don’t like ableism, the training and practice in medicine that aims at contorting you, your body, your reality to fit the norm. The medicine that makes you conform. The physio who says, I’m closing your file, you need to stop seeing me and get on with your life. As though doing exercises that strengthen me and make me feel balanced in my movements are a temporary, post-crisis experience; the time in a wheelchair a negative period in an otherwise bi-pedal, therefore, positive life.

I can’t sit, I can’t stand, when I lie down the nagging god damn pain makes my breathing short, my muscles contract, and makes me scowl. This is what I get from their normal.

Why should I struggle getting everywhere I go? To let doctors feel that they have succeeded? To make people in the public feel more comfortable with my body? To feel like I made it back to the enrobbing comfort of the false norm?

How about instead of me walking around just so I can get on the metro and hopefully have the mobility required to buy groceries, get fresh air, see things and get to a job, we just put elevators in the metro so that I can use some sort of wheeled vehicle to do the same stuff? I promise having crips in public places doesn’t contaminate the public experience. I promise we won’t roll over your toes or force our ways of being on you, like you have on us. I promise you’ll stop feeling so uncomfortable the more you see us in your spaces. I promise that diversity of existence is a positive thing.

Repacking is much less fun;) on ee voir bien tôt mtl!

Poetry recasts words too dangerous to write. Omissions know the truth.

I get cranky before I write. Like everything has to be perfect, like I have to burn the right amount of incense, like I have to avoid the right amount of words said to anyone, like I have to place the right amount of folded blanket under my knees and play the right Chopin Nocturne. And have the right level of pain – that pushes me, makes me a bit anxious, but not enough to distract me. Its my inspiration. She’s my inspiration. Those eyes with the impossibly long lashes, the webs of truth and age-old knowledge spun in the blue-green stare that says I love you and I will always love you, and we’ll probably never be together in all senses of the word.

We’re together as she tugs at my bones, winding and twisting, nagging at me to move, to stay still, to be in water, to get out already, to worship her, to ignore her. I can’t ignore her. We’re together as we travel from town to smile past box stores and sky-covered fields. Stay with me she hints, never saying it but with her eyes. Leave before I get busy so I can mourn your departure one more time. We know it won’t be the last.

Her name is whispered on the lips of local carnivores, licked and yearned after. Desired and reviled. I can’t do more than reflect on the right to remain silent and love in a time of punishment. Offer my hand when she is near and my ear when I am not. What we have is lasting

but

sparse.

Take your time my dear, he said, as I struggled to pull the one side of my coat with holes to meet the side with the buttons. I didn’t realize it but the waitors’ hasty movements and hurried closing activities like slamming bar stools on benches upside down, and whipping their ponytails back and forth were making me rush to get out of the hippy cafe bar we found after a long day of travelling from the island to the mainland. There’s this phrase I’ve been saying a lot lately: on se décalice. That’s what I was doing. J was already on his scooter, ready to roll to catch the second-last sky train; we didn’t want to risk going for the last one, and I felt like once again I was making him wait, I was taking too long to do everything. I was feeling rushed and impatient with myself. These are not new feelings nor are they sparse. I have always found myself around faster moving people with quicker paced schedules than I have, and have quite often felt like I’m not measuring up. Like I’m not walking fast enough or working fast enough or eating fast enough or getting out of the bathroom fast enough or changing fast enough after going swimming with childhood friends. I had this thought today as we were having our breakfast in the hotel lobby, after J said I’m almost ready to go because he thought I was anxious to leave, but I was just enjoying my coffee, waiting for the rain to pass, that sometimes I prefer to be alone not because I don’t want company but because I don’t want to have to explain myself or say I’m coming, almost ready. Its simpler to go alone. Easier to follow my own rhythm when I’m the only one playing the song.

The thing about the Underwater City is that its as much about people as it is ramps or wheels or pave-jobs. Its about patience and laughing as you race down the sidewalks, mocking the bi-pedals for being so slow. Its about figuring out how to fit two scooters in an elevator, on a bus, how to hold the door open for each other. Its about J giving me lifts on the ferry to look at the sunset, and me grabbing something from a tight space that would be a pain in the ass for him to drive his scooter into. Not that he wouldn’t be able to do it, or that he would complain at all. Its about asking ça va, when I am clearly upset about something, its about being there for each other and finding a pub to eat and dance in.

Its about the scientist giving the writer space to sit on the pier with my cell phone writing, texting myself new bits, and the writer trying to give the scientist an estimated time of how long it will take to get her idea down on a semi-used napkin in a bar. Its about not wanting anything in return after petting my hair when I am overwhelmed with emotion from the broad uncertainty I’m swimming in, being treated so well in public and seeing the vast blue-greys of sky meeting ocean and mountains.

As we both sat on the seats of the skytrain, our scooters rocking with the turns, patiently waiting to carry us when we arrived at our stop, I said I wished I had more crip friends when I was growing up. Its comfortable and well-paced and not frustrated with me. We’re good to travel together. He gets me coffee when I’m sleepy, I make us pose for pictures. He said its true, quand tu voyage avec les gens bi-peds il comprennent pas quand tu cherche un ascenseur ou que tu prends plus de temps pour s’habiller. They are shocked when elevators aren’t as obviously located as escalators or stairs and don’t seem to understand that sometimes you need to sit there kind of groaning on a ferry seat with your legs spread in the air flashing the seagulls flying on the wind currents outside the boat window to recuperate before you go on. I’m so happy J joined me, took me to Stanley Park, and taught me how to get on the bus in a scooter without loosing my shit. We’re closer with each other now after having travelled to three different cities, across mountain ranges and prairie, across countless rivers and between tiny islands in the pacific ocean. We’re closer and I feel closer to finding the Underwater City. As I’ve jokingly been asking him repeatedly over the course of our travels… are we there yet?

The Megabus station in Mtl is a Mega fuck-up. A step to enter, four to get to the counter. And Mr Clean product being sprayed as though they were trying to disinfect our souls!! Too bad they moved out of central station. Well I made it, got the best seat on da bus:) Bye Underwater Friends, love uuu!!

All the gear I need: recording and aquatic! All set to head out bright and early tomorrow morning on my underwater adventure!!! Stay tuned for updates from the streetcar in Toronto… I know they let dogs on, will they help a bitch with a walker out?