Friday, September 11, 2009

Bigots at badminton and difficulties going to paradise

At badminton, things have changed, things have stayed the same. I wheeled in and put my racked in the holder (groups of four for doubles playing, supposed to be random). The male about to put his racket in stopped, counted the number, and then started going out and asking people if they were going to play. “I’ll get that for you.” He said grabbing their racket and putting it in behind mine until the group of four was filled, then he put his racket in. This is against policy.

It is 80% or more male now at badminton and most of them don’t seem to know that they are at ‘RECREATIONAL badminton’, which means any person, any skill level. Males going out on a court with females I can overhear, “Let’s finish this one up quickly.”, or “What a waste, I wanted a GOOD game.” In the five matches I have had, my experience includes: two males opposite refusing to hit to me or near me, but hitting only to the other player, if I go back, they hit front, if I take left, they hit right, for the entire volley, for the entire match; had my own male ‘partner’ hit the birdie out repeatedly to lose so that he can go onto a better game, had a male partner who simply watched another game while standing on the court and didn’t respond to serves, been told that my wheelchair up against the wall waiting with other players was sticking out too far (for those in a ‘serious’ game), was told by a player that my wheelchair did not have the right straps on it (because I kept coming out of the chair to hit the birdie when they placed it where they thought it was out of my reach), had both males go on the other side to partner together (so they didn’t have to partner with me) leaving me and a female to partner and have only had 3 male players (out of 13) on either side, including my own partners ever give me their name, even when I introduce myself.

But I don’t go there for love. I go there because I if I don’t expand my contracting vascular circulation, parts of my body will die, and I will die. When an elevator door shuts on your hand, and you don’t bruise because there is little to no blood, that’s bad. When you can’t give blood for tests because your veins have retreated so far, that’s bad. Yes, I am very white, I am very goth. I am also losing scalp and hair (but as one care worker said, if that DIDN’T bother me, there would be something wrong – so it bothers me). I know my reflexes are slower, I know that I don’t remember all the strategy to badminton I learned when I went regularly, and dying females in wheelchairs are not athletically equal to guys who sprint and leap and do slams around the court. But it is ‘recreational badminton.’ Or like so many things, it can be a mirror to the personality (people look at the surface and think that is all there is: assumptions).
My favorite doubles partner, who remembered me from before was leaving after last night because they were one of the government employees in Linda’s section who were laid off. Suck. The Wednesday Coordinator says there is a place for me to come on Wednesday and Linda, regardless. It is not his fault there are a lot of people who want to play the stupid, “How big is your penis?” game, in which females are by default secondary humans (no penis!) and wheelies are sub-humans.

My first game on Wednesday was my best. The guy next to me said suddenly during warm up, “This is my first game, no, I mean my first day playing badminton.” Okay. I had to wonder at the teaming but with an ace serve from me, we got a point and he got some rallies in, and it was almost fun. The last game I ended up facing not only my previous partner who hit birdies out to finish up a game but a guy who was verbally abusive, condescending to me and was the one at the beginning who made it plain he didn’t want to play with me. I was with another female. I will call the guy who rigged my first set, the one who when I fell out of my chair leaned over to tell me to ‘stop trying’ but didn’t help except to watch me helpless, Dick. Dick didn’t like me being there. Dick just couldn’t shut up during my serves, or his serves, ‘Where do you want it honey?” he would say before trying to hit it out of my reach. He told me he was toning it down so that I didn’t embarrass myself in front of ‘her’ the girlfriend, Linda. When I showed him and his partner I could take it, he called me ‘butch’. What gave Dick the right to determine to comment on my orientation, unless he calls a lot of female police officers who pull him over for speeding, “Honey”, “Why try so hard.”, “Fine, fine, you’ve shown me how butch you are!” It would be interesting if he did. Dick was a Bigot.

But then, I have had a lot of experience with Bigots. I started slamming them and getting points, so they stopped hitting to me at all. They ran my partner ragged and there was nothing I could do as there was no way to cover, as they were doing deliberate placement. It wasn’t recreational, it was bigot badminton. When I hit into the net, Dick would offer a ‘do over’ just for me. When I aced him, he said, hey, he wasn’t ready. He found after two over-my-head hits that I was ready to back up and I could get those. So he started to drop them just out of my range, his partner did the same. I threw myself out of my chair, again, and again (two points and one massive bruise for three dives). Dick never helped, even when I passed out a little on the floor, when I fell over trying to get back into the chair, he just watched and told me to stop trying, stop trying so hard, he even leaned down to tell me my actions were useless. Useless.

I told him that I was there to play, I was there to try. And he started to tell me I didn’t have to when I interrupted him to tell him that I had seen him, we had seen him, segregate against me earlier, so yes, I DID have to try and I would ALWAYS try my hardest against him. Why? Because of his assumptions and because of his actions.

One of the times I came out of the chair I made the hit and got the point, another time I stopped him from making a drop shot. He emphasized that he was ahead in points, so it didn’t matter. So I asked him if this was all he had to offer, could he play better? Since I would always be playing MY hardest, at least against HIM.. Linda, the kind mediator called him an arrogant, obnoxious A-hole. Yeah, he got me angry and maybe I lost a point or two on that. Next time I won’t. Though, if Dick or his friends need to beat up on a dying girl in a wheelchair to make themselves feel better, or to try to make her go away, they are very small people.

One time I used such force I hit and rebounded and now have a fist sized bruise on my elbow and skin missing the size of a quarter. That is victory. Two weeks ago, the blood wouldn’t have come up high enough to bruise. I’m playing recreational badminton and I’m extending LIFE itself. What are these people, so intent on not ‘bringing down their game’ by playing with a female doing? What do they get out of it? Certainly not new friends.

Hawaii. Hawaii! Okay, Hawaii was this dream where I could go and it would be fun and casual and I could see stuff. Only I can barely go out an hour every few days. So the dream of being with Linda on the beach has some problems. And like the rest of the world, one of the problem is green. . Med-alert is going to cut me off as I don’t have the funds to pay for another year RIGHT now. We barely made rent, barely, barely.

And I am trying to figure out what to do. Because I am the problem. Traveling with a person of severe disability is more expensive, it costs more for each bag (like $50 per bag per flight), it requires being there earlier, having forms signed (doctors charge for those). Having AirMed to fly me home if I get so ill, I need that ($$$). Plus, I am not making the $800 I hoped to bring to the table. So far I’ve made about $185 in cash by selling books and $150 in doing research savings. Still trying to get the bike listed ($175-200 with all equipment). Ebay is harder now for me, more energy expended but less listed. Linda explained we go in just under three weeks, Oct 4th. I thought there was more time, I thought I had more time. I am almost half way there in earning and I am out of time.

With those limited options, I came up with ideas. Linda does not support them. Plan #1 – beg on the street selling pencils with a tin cup (I have the tin cup!) – not optimal but I don’t want to disappoint and make life so hard for Cheryl and Linda), #2, ‘sell’ stuff on the street, with payment by donation (I have stuff lying around, I could do that!). I am already putting my DVD’s on ebay, and selling some of my book collection on Amazon. Linda says no. She says it is too cold, that I WILL get frostbite, that I won’t know when to stop (true) and then get disoriented and not be able to make it home.

I don’t like being helpless. I don’t like other people having a bad vacation because I am there. I don’t like that. I don’t want that. I want to not go, and for Linda and Cheryl to go to Hawaii. Then there will be no more talk about money or problems. And since I don’t need to eat or rather feel hungry, staying here is no problem.

I AM weaker than when this trip was planned, than when this trip was booked and we have been ignoring that (an hour a week of activity doesn't mean I am strong). I am supposed to be rested and yet I have construction across the street limiting my sleep and assaulting me daily. I lie in bed, I am sometimes unable to get out of bed unassisted, or get back into bed, or to the bathroom unassisted. What does that mean for a trip? What will a flight and showing up hours early to the airport going to take out of me?

Plus I am guilty. I spend time in the bathroom, I have finally I think regulated my movements, using hydration and grapes, and time. So I read manga, so I buy manga, Yuri manga (and Yaoi). I used my allowance on this and gifts and cool stationary, and postcards because I did not know that Hawaii was that close, I thought it was two animals away at least. Only my calendar was on the wrong animal. My time is off. Mea Culpa. I gave up buying the art books long ago, and now giving up all but the gifts which I will post after Linda and Cheryl get back from Hawaii. Still too late.

I did have another plan, a plan one comes up with late at night when the talk of the cost of X and Y and Z drive me to the brink. So the plan is....mugging. Okay, admittedly kinda Thelma and Louise done disability style. But it does have a very strong attraction of empowerment when I have little right now. I figure that no one would suspect me, I could get close. On the other hand, how hard is it going to be to identify me?

Overall plan is that I am just trying to get to spring. And I don’t know what to do, so I don't really HAVE a plan. I have a winter coming, I have so many systems compromised and I AM getting weaker. I fight back by being willing to take the pain, to have my resting heart rate be 120-140 beats a minute the night after badminton, to feel the pain for days, in order to LIVE. I want to see the spring. I wanted to go to Hawaii where I could see the wonder from the car, where Linda could see the sea life snorkeling, where Cheryl could see new things, I wanted things to remember during the winter, until the flowers come out again. During the winter, there will be construction going 20 feet away. day after day. When I sleep is determined by that, when I eat, what I drink is determined by optimal health. I am still not absorbing foods and nutrients. It is like being on a diet and training program with a gun to the back of my head. And winter is statistically when people like me die. I don’t WANT to die. I want to clean up the study. I want to get things organized. I want to watch more shows and put them on ebay for sale. I want to do fun posts.

If I live to spring I can go to Sakura-con again. It is the mundane that I miss the most just thinking about. So I take the pain in order to see spring, I go get the doctor’s appointments to get the task 2’s done so I can get care when I return, as I expect I won’t be able to lift my torso by myself for a few days. I need to avoid being completely bed-ridden during winter if I am to see spring. I need to get a lift system put in after Linda gets back from Hawaii. This is the reality.

I screwed up, I thought Hawaii was about the flight, not about the huge costs over there. One person I know cancelled as housing was going to be $3000. We have the housing, we have the inter-island flights, we have the car, we have access to the mountain, to lava, to rare sea turtles and dolphins, to sheltered tide pools, to black and green sand beaches, to 1,000 foot waterfalls coming down cliffs into the valley of the kings. Things like a few hotel nights (Seattle, Honolulu), food, gas/petrol, and some entrance fees finances still working on, I am still working, going or not, I will do my part as I can. Back to trying to breathe, to the respirator. Then rested, maybe putting something on ebay.


SharonMV said...

Beth, you will go to Hawaii! If money is the problem, you will get it somehow.I want you to see & experience all those beautiful things - the trees & flowers, the colors of the sea, the texture of hardened lava. I need you to see them for yourself & so you can write them for me, and I can live all that beauty with you. Time with Linda & Cheryl - you deserve this & they need it.

The badminton bullies - they are scum. They need to learn how to have a human feeling. What dignity is and why it is important. People who have to hate the "other" - women, gay people, the sick & disabled, people of color, just to shore up their own self importance - I don't understand it, just as they have no inkling of what they are missing.


PS: please bring me a shell, even a bit of shell from Hawaii

Elizabeth McClung said...

Will do, or will have Linda or Cheryl do it - I hope they have shells on the beach, they must. If anyone else wants something (please don't ask for anything that will get me arrested), let me know.

Diane J Standiford said...

First, thank you for the postcard. Second, you are insane. Now I will have to play Bridge again, you have shamed me. I do not have the will to live that you do. I never have. I don't know why. Hammering in my head keeps telling me I was never meant to be here, not the way I am, not this body. A big mistake. Yet, YOU, you play badmiton with a prick, er, I mean Dick, fling in triumphant swinging to hit a prepared to live are you---at any cost. I think you insane, but amazingly, brillantly, full of LIFE.

cheryl g said...

I will NOT be going to Hawaii without you. A great part of the joy in going is the opportunity to share this experience and make these memories with you. You don't go, I don't go.

I am not willing to be away from you that long and I am not willing to leave you home alone. I understand your health concerns but I believe we can do this. I understand your money concerns but I KNOW we can do this. Please don't give up the dream.

Devi said...

Really, really, achingly wishing you that you will see spring, and that Hawaii trip as well! (Not entirely unselfishly, as I expect the pictures you will share with us will be amazing.)

As for the batminton jerks, they're ultimately only diminishing themselves. If a woman in a wheelchair is this threatening to them and their self-concept, it does make one wonder how small their lives are, indeed.

Neil said...

What I want from Hawaii is for all three of you to enjoy being there, and all three of you come home happy to have gone.

I am confident that the money will be available for your trip somehow.

Love and zen hugs,

Lene Andersen said...

That guy you called Dick? Is one. And a teeny one. And a fuckwit.

About Hawaii... Sometimes, receiving can be harder than giving, but accepting a gift can be the greatest act of love. You are used to giving, always giving and it's an inspirational aspect of you - I've learned much from you, talking to you about giving, reading about you giving and sacrificing. And now it's your turn to receive - Linda and Cheryl's gift to you. To go to Hawaii, even though it's hard, even though they make sacrifices to give it to you. Because they love you. Let them.

yanub said...

Eh, my experience of sports has always been of bullies who don't know the difference between recreation and domination. Any game might be fun, interesting in itself, good exercise. But taking it seriously, as if anyone should care who wins a freaking badminton or football or horseshoes match, sucks all the enjoyment out of it.

I have no advice about Hawaii. I am not a traveler. If it is more than 3 hours away by car, it is unlikely I will ever go. But you will go and likely take enough pictures and meet enough interesting people that you will have blog material for weeks. If you need to find gifts, take empty medicine bottles and put sand in them. Wouldn't it be fun to give some Hawaii beach to someone? I bet it would smell of Hawaii.

SharonMV said...

Yes,yes Cheryl! Cheryl's right & you should listen to her Beth. And to Lene. The money is not important. Cheryl & Linda want to go with YOU, to be with YOU. And they are certainly not going to leave you at home alone.
I know that your situation has changed since you went to Japan, but I seem to remember you had a lot of fears & concerns prior to that trip. Maybe you should go back & read your blog entries for that time.

FridaWrites said...

Beth, for goodness' sake, you need to go to Hawaii. Everyone is prepared for you to go with them and it wouldn't be the same without you. Plus the photos you take are a gift to the rest of us, they really are. It sounds like you're about halfway there with the money--if you earn the other half after you get back, that is a lot better than most people do. You cannot turn down a trip to Hawaii--do it for the rest of us who can't travel right now! And foremost for yourself, Linda, and Cheryl.

Dick is not just a dick, he's an asshole as well. Now that's a sentence. I don't understand people using their white male heterosexual privilege against others like a weapon.

Kate J said...

You shall go to the ball, Cinderella... or in this case, you SHALL go to Hawaii, Beth McClung.
If I've got anything left in my holiday fund wehen I get back to UK from Canada I'll contribute. Mind you, the way it's going I don't think I'll have anything left. I was supposed to be staying with a relative this wekend but she's sick so now I'm in a hotel in Victoria. YES, I'm here in your town! So I'm just going to phone, see if I can visit with you today...
Hawaii does sound great... not somewhere I'll ever go, I'm afraid, as it's even further than Canada! (A long way, if you're coming from UK).
Love & peace

Baba Yaga said...

About Hawaii - what Neil says.

About badminton bigots - they'll never know what they're missing.

Raccoon said...

Do you like thunderstorms? We had a huge thunder and lightning storm here this morning. Less than half an inch of rain, but thunder so loud it seemed like it was directly overhead.

If I'd been able to, I think I would've gone out to watch. But it was at 5:30 AM...

"All you can do is all you can do." I heard that a long time ago. You are living up to that, more than so many of the rest of us. Makes me a little ashamed, sometimes.

Comic Con is in July, 10 months from now. I hope you can make it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth.

You're a published author. You generate very long blog posts on a regular basis. You write very detailed replies in the comments section. Have you thought about freelance writing at all? I imagine the jobs are hard to get and don't pay well, but if you get one job it might lead to another. Working to a deadline is stressful, but your current uncertain, hand-to-mouth existence must be even more stressful.

Two seconds of Googling produced this:

More extensive searching might be more productive.

Or perhaps look into putting advertising on your blog. I've seen ads on other blogspot blogs, so it ought to be possible. I'm sure your longtime readers wouldn't begrudge you for including ads.

You include quite a few anime pictures in your posts, typically without attribution. I believe Amazon (as well as other sites) has a feature whereby you could include the attribution along with an online link so that people who like a particular picture could buy the art, and you would get a little cut.

You already have enough material in this blog for a set of essays about living with disability. Pick out the best ten essays or so, edit them, compile them into a book and get it published.

You write well and compellingly and prolifically. Figure out how to get paid for it.

You will have reasons why you can't do any of the above. You are ill, you are in pain, you have no energy, etc. Recall that Jean-Dominique Bauby was able to write a book despite being totally paralyzed, dictating the entire manuscript via eye blinks. If he could do it, so can you.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Anon: These are all points which I have pondered at one time or another, why don't I? They are good questions.

Um, the 'very long' is just sort of how I trained to write - 2000 words is a standard length, 1000 words for a single topic.

I did write freelance for 2 years for the BBC on a schedule, missing it only after a small stroke. That led to being part of a radio interview. I also get offers to do other writing, like for pet adoption blogs but they are not as yet paid. I did some small paid work. But nothing that produces a living.

Advertising: I do generate enough traffic to get an income with advertising. But I suppose I am a luddite in that I oppose the idea of commodification, or rather that people, experience and emotion can have a residual commodity value. The problem within the Able Bodied view of the disability community is just that, "What can you do?" - which is why annual to every two to three year tests are forced upon us just to determine if we could work MORE. These types of tests are not in the workplace; people don't go into a DIY store or another store, test the employees and then tell them they need to find a better job every year or they will have to pay more taxes or get less income. Yet this is standard for those with disabilities. Nor are those who are able bodied required to even rise to the level they push upon the disabled. The author of Sea Biscuit took five years to write it due to M.E./CFS - this is used to tell people with M.E. THEY should be doing more - why? Has every person without a fatigue and other complication disability written a best seller first? So, no, I want people to come here to learn, to chat, to become friends, to be my friend, to participate. I want any value they wish to send to be a choice, not a click. Or they can have postcards, or even presents from me, because I make that choice. If people wanted to buy my book, they can do so at 'Girl's Gotta Fly'.

The anime pictures I include are ones which I own usage, or own the picture. Pictures I have taken I freely encourage others to use (which is how I became an ad for a disability sex film). I think the 100 year copyright system that Disney rammed through is one which stinks, but I do abide by the usage rules by owning the materials before use, I am not sure what the links would be? To me? End Part I.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Anon Part II: As to the book of Essays, I would like to do that, I would, the essays are done, they need to be organized, but if I got an agent they would come out in 2011 or so. Also, to do the type of editing I need, I would not be able to blog, since it now takes me 6-10 times longer to write, thus my move from daily to 3-4 times a week.

Jean-Dominique Bauby who wrote the Diving Belle and the Butterfly was the Editor of Elle Magazine. He could have written a paragraph and had it published in a several hundred thousand magazine. His connections and mine are different. My work is published, my work on disability is published and used in universities, and organization for people with disabilities and caregiving agencies. But all at no cost. I will not charge people to learn how to better interact with those with disabilities. Probably a book or two will be published after I am dead, I fail to see the way this would benefit me.

I made a choice, have no friends, or public interaction and work on writing, or connect and use the feedback not just to build connections but to find out how well I write and how quickly my mental and hand deterioration is occuring. I have reasons, they do not mean I do not have value or should be without means. That is a legislative decision, in a country with no disability act. No pension because I worked in the UK, no monthy income because I am not on welfare. It is my very nature which does NOT fit the stereotype you seem to have of excuse giving disabled people which makes me excluded. Sorry. And Jean-Dominique Bauby did not write that book, he dictated it to his P.T. - I don't have a P.T. after almost three years, but I am still working at cutting the red tape to get one. That's my job, stay healthy, stay alive, narrate.

But good questions.

rachelcreative said...

I hope you get to Hawaii. I hope you see Spring. I hope you have a winter that is kind to you. The bigots? Well I hope you don't have to suffer them.

I want wonderful things for you my friend.

wendryn said...

Sorry to catch this so late - worked a lot this weekend.

The badminton bullies are useless. They are focused on things that don't matter and ignoring the people, which is what really does matter.

I really, really hope you can make it to Hawaii and keep your meds and stay alive. *hugs*