deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
True Story: I only eat oranges when someone offers them to me. I can't peel them, I can't use (as seen on TV!) orange peelers, I can't scoop them out with a spoon like they're tiny grapefruit. I can sometimes peel a clementine, but not reliably. Yes, I could ask a friend to peel me an orange, but honestly, I have to ask people to do so many other things for me just so I can eat (carry that bowl; drain that pasta; chop that onion; open that bottle); I'm not going to waste one of my precious asks on an orange when I could just eat an apple.

Another True Story: My mother brought me up to feel real shame over convenience items. She was willing to compromise on keeping tinned soups in the house we kids could make for ourselves, and buying bakery bread. But everything from supermarket bread to pre-chopped garlic to cake mixes were items worth nothing but scorn. (Oddly, we had a microwave. Also, I'm pretty sure that in the 70's vegetables grew in rectangular frozen bricks.)

#OrangeGate thus hits home for me.

A summary of The Case of the Package in Orange: Last week, [ profile] awlilnatty tweeted:

The image in the tweet is of peeled oranges being sold in plastic tubs by Whole Foods.

Social media backlash was huge, Whole Foods pulled the oranges, the press covered it in multiple countries. Meanwhile, disabled folks on Twitter said "WTF, those oranges are awesome!" and got called Earth-destroying demons by some asshats on the Internet. (References: Crippled Scholar, "When Accessibility Gets Labeled Wasteful". [ profile] AnaMardoll, "Feminism: Oranges and Disability Accessible Items".)

Every time I purchase a convenience item, I argue with the inner puritan my mother instilled in me, the shaming voice that sounds like an army of Twitter eco-activists happily tweetraging away from their rare earth-filled mobile phones. I am lucky enough to be a well-to-do person with a disability, so I can make convenience choices: the robot swiffer; the accessible doorknobs and taps I've installed in my home; the touchpad remote control; the top of the line microphones and adaptive tech. And every one of these makes me feel lazy and shamed.

Once, I bought a motion-sensitive liquid soap dispenser. It was awesome, especially in the mornings when my hands are minimally functional. Later, someone I follow tweeted mockery at an ad for the dispenser. When mine subsequently died, I couldn't bring myself to replace it. Seriously, every time I see it in the drug store, I think about buying it, but stop myself. I've even put it in the shopping basket before putting it back. I hear my inner puritan yelling at me, now combined with the mockery of people on the internet. So in the mornings I struggle with a regular soap dispenser (uncomfortable, awkward, sometimes painful) or bar soap (constantly dropped, difficult to grip, sometimes painful).

  • The robot swiffer means I can help out a little more around the house and not rely on my partner.
  • If it weren't for [ profile] diceytillerman reminding me I'm allowed to take taxis, I'd see my friends even less often.
  • Do you know they make tool that both unscrews bottles and opens that annoying wedge of cardboard you're supposed to push in with your thumb? It's amazing.
  • My partner has to pop daily pills into a pill case for me, because nobody's invented a convenience tool that defeats blister packs.
  • If I could bring myself to buy pre-chopped onions, I'd cook far more often than I do. But every time I think about it, I'm confronted with people making fun of them as luxuries as in this old piece from Consumerist.
  • My mother shames me for buying sliced sandwich bread -- from the bakery, even, not from the store -- because if I won't bake it, she can bake it for me. But the store bread is sliced. Slices matter.
  • I remember when I could eat artichokes. I haven't been able to eat an artichoke in 15 years because I can't grip the leaves, but I can eat a canned artichoke heart.

Disability is expensive. An adapted life is one which is allowed to have a footprint on the world. Living without convenience items by choice is a luxury, and you should be grateful you can.

Excuse me. I need to go eat an apple.

Date: 2016-03-09 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] diceytillerman
Shame is so squirrely and tricksy. I have a bunch of it too. I've realized that, weirdly, sometimes the strongest tool I have to wield against shame-based (anti-crip) decisions is to pretend I'm one of my friends and am making the decision on their behalf. When I think of a friend, it takes literally no effort to know what the right decision is.

I guess what I'm saying is, I buy shredded cheddar and act like it's for you. Because that is clearly the right decision.

The shame is only green on one's own side of the fence. Go buy the soap thing and tell yourself it's for me.

Date: 2016-03-09 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] diceytillerman
Taxis are only the tip of the iceberg. I'm not done with you. :P

Date: 2016-03-09 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jazzyjj
Thanks for this. I must admit I've started to feel a little bit of shame in the fact that I can't travel outdoors unless someone is with me. There are exceptions to this, but for the most part I need somebody with me who has working eyeballs when outdoors. I'm a cane user and am very ambulatory. To make a long story short, the reason for this lack of independent travel is that I have not had any formal travel training for quite awhile. This is, in a sense, really starting to bother me even though it isn't at all my fault. Everybody knows it's not at all my fault, yet sometimes people act like it is. But I'm going to straighten them out once and for all at my upcoming Service Contract meeting. Or at least try and do so. Everyone around here is very forward-thinking though, including my entire family so this shouldn't present too much of a problem.

Regarding fruits and veggies, I also need somebody to prepare them for me for the most part. This is true of cooking in general. I'm not ashamed of it at all though, despite having a former roommate who took issue with it. Regarding accessible doorknobs, the new landlords for my apartment complex and their construction crew have replaced most of the doorknobs here with those curved levers. In addition, they just renovated the entire ground floor here and several of the lights have motion sensors. The guys did a great job, and more renovations are in the pipeline. No motion-sensored soap dispensers as of this writing but who knows?
Edited Date: 2016-03-09 07:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-03-09 08:34 pm (UTC)
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (trenchcoat)
From: [personal profile] brainwane
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm grateful to get to read it.

I value you and I hope my voice is one of the ones you can hear when you consider whether to make an activity more possible for yourself.

Date: 2016-03-09 09:42 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Thank you for posting about this.

If I invent the blister pack tool, you're at the top of the list for one.

Date: 2016-03-09 11:22 pm (UTC)
exor674: Computer Science is my girlfriend (Default)
From: [personal profile] exor674
I actually had a pair of cashiers at a store start openly mocking people who buy the pre-shucked ears of corn.

This is something I actually do (in my case it's not even for any disability reason, just that my time is worth more than the pre-shucked markup -- but I can see those being an accessibility item too)

I then got shouted at and shamed for being angry about them by people when I got home.
Edited Date: 2016-03-09 11:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-03-09 11:28 pm (UTC)
exor674: Computer Science is my girlfriend (Default)
From: [personal profile] exor674
If we're meaning those stupid medicine in bubble things, I LOATHE those stupid things.

I typically just use a knife to cut the foil on the bottom if I'm somewhere with the thing and a knife.

Sadly, I think the difficulty with making a tool would be the vastly-different pill sizes.
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