Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wheelchair Crip Goth goes visiting the cemetery

You really can’t call yourself a Goth, much less a lesbian crip goth if you don’t hang around cemeteries; even if Victorian/Edwardian cemeteries are not very wheelchair accessible. So today I made sure to stop at Victoria, BC’s Old Burying Ground, the fort/city’s second cemetery which was only open from 1855 to 1873. After that people went to the Ross Bay Cemetery (or depending on ethnicity the Jewish Cemetery or the Chinese Cemetery; that early distinction pretty much sums up why I first left here). Of course Victoria’s cemetery doesn’t really compare to the cemeteries of London I used to visit, one of favorites being the Brompton Cemetery, one of the “ring of seven” great cemeteries opened at the start of the Victoria Period around London. In a delightfully macabre yet thoroughly British style, Beatrix Potter of the children’s book fame, took many of her character’s names from the tombstones (good enough for her, good enough for me). Indeed, the famous Mr. McGregor, arch nemesis of Peter Rabbit was not only “raised from the dead” as it were ala name stolen from tombstone but his infamous garden is based on part of cemetery itself. Something you might want to mention when reading it to children at bedtime.

I chose the oldest part of the cemetery and did a wheelie to get myself situated amongst friends; rotted mulchy friends but friends nonetheless. Of course, I got about two feet before I fell over backward in the chair. Not many people can get grass stains on a hairband; at least not without some sort of sex involved. I wearing my NEW corset ( many corsets, so little time). It is the Victorian style Christabel Corset with brocade, lace at the neck and velvet black ribbon lace ups along the sides. Skull earrings, skull headband, red skull converse; it is a trend I think will last, at least as long as people keep dying. Just think of me as that skull cup in the painting, your little reminder of mortality except I also happen to have that squashed breasts pressing upward in a sexy way thing too. Plus the “living on an island full of hills” giant wheelchair arms and muscles.

Little did I know that less than an hour later men would be assisting me OUT of my corset (sounds like a classic gothic story to me!). Little tip for people with multiple heart conditions: Don’t do a lot of stuff for six straight hours and THEN decide to climb two hills to go to the library. Not if you don’t want to have some/several heart “episodes.” have to be put on the floor of the library in the recovery position and start shaking uncontrollably like a super-excited greyhound (only in humans they call it “going into shock”). There was an argument about being a slave to fashion or improving my circulation/breathing and because I couldn’t actually talk at the time (or move my limbs, or have a steady heartbeat), I lost. Sigh. Corset removed, covered in blanket; I was lying down....but it wasn’t sexy (or satisfying). Good news was; I got to meet the Head Librarian. I know that because I read his tag when he bent over to put the oxygen mask on my face. First thing I said when I could: “Please don’t ban me!” They said, “No problem” but then checked out my books while I was still lying down. So I guess they didn’t want me browsing some more after the 35 minutes on the floor? Seems like a mixed message, no?

I haven’t blogged awhile because I was on vacation and the internet computer was up a double grand staircase. Not exactly wheelchair accessible. And being on vacation I, of course, went and did everything I could (zodiac rides into the wilderness, boat rides across ocean channels as the tides make scores of whirlpools, spa treatments, getting down stairs into the bar, going to a sauna, seeing the local wildlife (I mean the people in a remote fishing town – skary!)). I was like a six year old at a birthday party, I was having so much fun, I kept getting sick (like when you ate the ENTIRE icing on the cake), but then as soon as I'd recover I run off and have more fun until the next incident. So, by the second day and third day of my “vacation” the resort kinda had this EMT guy who kept an eye on me most of the time. Still, when I wasn’t slumped over or laid out on some dock getting revived, I was plotting or starting some new adventure. Hey, I pass out lots of place, but here I could pass out in NEW places, while doing new and exciting things. Having to have oxygen and recover from a 50 mph zodiac boat trip where I watched young eagles learning to fly is WAY cooler than having to recover and have oxygen because I stood up to put the groceries in the fridge. Of course, I was in such bad shape once I got back home I had a sort of “medical vacation” to recover from my vacation (see, today was supposed to be my “all better” day). I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, and I have: “never give up, never surrender!” I have already booked a wheel along the beach tomorrow; as long as the sun shines and I have mobility in at least 50% of my limbs…that’s good enough for me (and remember; a new day, a new corset!).


kathz said...

I've never seen eagles in the wild - how wonderful. (I haven't see killer whales in the wild either but I might have gone off them after your last post.) I've seen osprey and various other falcons, though not yet red kite (KateJ - note this when you read the comments because I think you see them every day, except when I visit!).

I like visiting cemeteries too but, despite being a Londoner, I've never been to Brompton. My aunt and her family lived near Highgate Cemetery which was a great treat - it used to be in such great disrepair that my brother and I would peer through cracked monuments into vaults, hoping to catch sight of some bones. There in the middle of it was the Karl Marx memorial, ofted surrounded by suited delegation from Eastern Europe - all, I suspect, much better dressed than Karl ever was (and that was just the beginning of the differences). There's nothing so impressive where I live now. I do, however, know a gravestone to one Harriet Bloodworth, with the inscription "At the day of judgment it will be known what she was." (what is that all about?) and I know a war memorial to soldiers killed in the Crimean War, include two in the charge of the light brigade. They were probably the lucky ones of all those on the memorial; it gives causes of death for the others too - diarrhoea and gangrene. The World War I memorials are much blander and don't go into details.

Sorry to hear about the "episodes" - I hope this post (lovely to read your blog again) is a sign that you're a bit better.

I'm still wowed by the thought of seeing eagles.

Wiccachicky said...

Your first line could totally open a book! Hope you had a good vacation - we're doing a mini-vaca this weekend as well.

KateJ said...

Yeah, eagles are cool! When I was in Canada I saw quite a few... and met a number of Americans who'd come to Canada especially to see their 'national bird'. Yes, they've pretty well wiped them out in the US, I believe.
Sounds like you had a good vacation, although it must have been quite a sort one. I guess this was on one of the Gulf Islands and just wondering which one! (I have family on Salt Spring).
Cemeteries can be real havens for wildlife, and increasingly they're having at least part left unsprayed and unmowed.

GayProf said...

I think that it is only fair to spend 35 minutes on the floor of the library if you looked fabulous.

Philip. said...

Wow - what an interesting post!!

I'll be back to read more and have added a link to your blog on mine.

Philip :-)

belledame222 said...

goddam, you can turn a phrase.

rotted mulchy friends but friends nonetheless.

maed me laugh out loud.

LOVE the corset.