January 17, 2012
It has been a little more than six months now that I have been driving full-time. I have said this before, being able to drive has changed my life. Going wherever and whenever I want to go is something most people take for granted. But when you are a person with disabilities, it makes all the difference in the world.
I can probably not convey the joy I feel at the idea of being able to just pick up and go. Having spent, up until a few years ago, a significant part of my life in a wheelchair or using some sort of mobility aid that made using regular transit services very difficult if not at times impossible, and getting my drivers’ license only this past summer (because the idea of driving before that was not fathomable nor encouraged), just taking off actually required a lot of forethought and planning.
Continue reading drive
November 14, 2011
Ce texte a été publié dans le cadre d’un projet collectif réunissant cinq personnes handicapées qui racontent, selon leur perpective unique, la journée du 10 novembre 2011. Je vous invite à aller lire leurs histoires. Chaque histoire compte.
Je ne devais pas assister à la conférence de Colin Barnes. Je devais être à Combermere en Ontario chez mes parents. Ou au pire, je devais être sur la route vers Combermere, peut-être légèrement égarée (ça m’arrive des fois de me perdre en conduisant), vraisemblablement stressée. Mais mon voyage a été annulé à la dernière minute et mon jeudi soir était soudainement libre. En fait, j’aurais pu, j’aurais dû, rester chez moi et m’avancer sur la tonne de boulot qui s’accumule sans fin, du moins il me semble. Mais Laurence m’a rappelé cette conf à McGill et spontanément, je me suis dit que ça changerait d’un écran d’ordi.
Depuis que j’ai une auto (mon père m’a offert un vieux bazou cet été pour célébrer l’obtention de mon permis de conduire), j’ai accès à la spontaniété. La spontaniété dans la vie d’une personne handicapée, c’est plutôt rare. Nos gestes, nos déplacements sont généralement planifiés d’avance, souvent longtemps d’avance. On passe notre vie à attendre après les autres, à développer des routines pour pouvoir arriver à faire tout ce dont on a besoin de faire pour se rendre de A à Z. Mais depuis que j’ai l’auto, je peux être spontanée. Alors, ne faisant pas les choses à moitié, je décide de partir à la dernière minute possible. On est spontané ou on ne l’est pas…
Continue reading chaque histoire compte
December 22, 2007
I know I have already written about the STM’s crappy service when it comes to Paratransit and I might be tempted to apologise to my handful of readers because really, this is not what I want this blog to be about. But yesterday was an all time record in corporate stupidity and utter lack of consideration for those of us who rely on this service to get around the city.
So, yesterday morning, I wait and wait for the gawd-damn taxi or minibus or whatever it was supposed to be to show up. After a half hour (which is the requisite time I am expected to wait before contacting them to ask “where is the transport?”), I call. After waiting on the line for about 10 minutes, I am told unceremoniously that my reservation has been cancelled. Just. Like. That.
Needless to say that I was quite pissed off. I mean, wtf?! But I did not have time to debate it with the woman on the phone nor to ask the reason for this decision as I was going to be late for a meeting. So I did the only thing I could do and called a taxi and high-tailed it to the office, arriving 10 minutes late for my meeting, pissed off and stressed out. Thankfully, the guy I was meeting with was really nice and understanding, not to mention hilarious, and we had a really fun and productive meeting so at least that was something.
Continue reading foiled by the STM’s Paratransit service yet again
December 2, 2007
Today, when I called the STM Paratransit Service to make my reservations for the next three days, I was told unequivocally that I would not get any service tomorrow because Montréal is expecting a “big” snow storm and all transports have been cancelled (except for dialysis patients and long-standing medical appointments).
Indeed, unbeknownst to me (because I am usually pretty oblivious to small talk such as in “some weather we are having, eh?”), it seems that the southwest region of the province is expecting anywhere between 15 to 30 centimetres of snow by tomorrow (although, as of 21h50, I have yet to see my first snowflake). So today, as a preventive measure (for whom, I wonder), Paratransit refused all new reservations and has unceremoniously cancelled everyone, even people who are travelling to go to work or school. Just. Like. That.
Continue reading white-out
June 15, 2007
As a wheelchair user, naturally I use the Montreal Paratransit Service of the Société de transport de Montréal to travel to and from places that are just too far to get to using my own power or that of my power wheelchair. I have been using this service for almost 20 years now and it has often been the bane of my existence, to the point that I have always tried to find apartments that were close to work and to all the goods and services that I am likely to need on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there are times when I need to use adapted transit services as I do not drive and after all, Montreal is a big place.
I often get remarks from non-disabled people concerning adapted transit that eloquently reflects how clueless people are regarding this service. Things like: “Oh, you are so lucky, you get door to door transportation, like a limo service” or “There may be a few hassles once in a while but at least it is free, right?” or “Ok, maybe you have to pay a fare like us but it is far below the real cost of the service you get”, etc., etc.
Continue reading mini-buses trying to disguise themselves as surveillance vehicles