Outside, Looking In

…Another in a series of accessibility-related blogs….

I’m back in my soon-to-be-replaced-hip boat, waiting for my June 6th surgery.

Meanwhile, I move around outside my house by wheelchair; indoors I use a four-wheeled “walker.” I’m in constant pain, and everyday, I carefully and dutifully catalog the new aches and pains as the crop up: Currently, I have a strained left wrist, and a right ring finger “trigger finger,” and occasional numbness and tingling in my left thigh.

Exciting times, this.

I try to stay active and get out on weekends.

This past Saturday, I ventured out of my comfort zone to attend an “event” in the first block downtown/old town Belleville, Illinois, and frankly I was beyond disappointed: I was angry that over an hour of my life had been needlessly thrown away.

First I circled the block and consecutive blocks looking for ADA parking, and found none on E. Main Street. I found no signage directing me to any public parking lots that might have some ADA parking. When I found a parking spot on the block I needed, one of the shop owners had parked over the marked white line, giving me very little room to get my wheelchair out of the car trunk and onto the sidewalk. Another shop owner said there was handicap parking on the east side of the street, but when I wheeled myself to that side, I found he was mistaken.

Belleville advertises many, many activities though the year — Christmas, art festivals, etc., but frankly, for those of us who are mobility-challenged and try to remain as independent as possible, it’s a waste of time.

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