Wheelchair Envy

This afternoon I had a meeting at Tate Modern and after it I decided I’d like to have a quick look at some of the exhibits there. I was tired and struggling to walk so Fran got me one of the Tate’s wheelchairs which they have for people to borrow.

It didn’t have a seat-belt so I felt a bit precarious, nor did it have a lot of the features my own chair has to make it extra stable and difficult to tip over. But this made it speedier and easier to steer than mine which meant Fran and I were able to whizz about all over the place. I love the extra safety features of my chair, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit envious of the one I’d borrowed.

Being out in a busy place I noticed a subtle change in the reactions of strangers when I was in the chair. People seemed less aware of my tics than when I’m on my feet. Maybe it’s because they see me as a generic ‘disabled person in a wheelchair’, or perhaps it’s because I’m not suddenly dropping to the ground.

Either way, having the chair made navigating the Tate much easier and as Fran pointed out, it let me have my most cultured ‘ticcing fit’ yet – in front of a massive film installation in the turbine hall.

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