I got a phone call about a week ago that I didn’t recognize the number for. I usually don’t answer those numbers, but a lot has been going on in my little universe lately. . . or it could have been an appointment reminder from a doctor.
It was Joseph Rose from the Oregonian! He had gotten my phone number from a friend of mine and wanted to talk to me about blinky lights and how they affect photosensitive epilepsy. First of all, I was excited by the fact that good ol’ fashioned networking works . I tout it all thing during the employment classes I teach at work. But to see it work in real life; awesome sauce!
Second of all; the Oregonian is one of two main newspapers in town. Four if you count the pseudo-alternative ones. (And you should. They really have the best information as it relates to Portland metro.) The others; Portland Tribune, Willamette Weekly and Portland Mercury. Then there are a plethora of other niche magazines that appeal to different areas of town and interest groups, etc. Totaling a couple dozen different ways to get the information you need. But the Oregonian? That’s the long fingers the news. And Mr. Rose is known for his sometimes contentious transportation stories.
I almost wanted to decline talking to him.
But then I figured that there are a lot of idiots in the world (insert people who are naive about other people’s disabilities) and if I could at least plug a little bit of knowledge worm in a couple people’s ears then I had done a good job.
And then I read the comments.
As I’ve stated in previous entries, I really, really hate the acronym “NIMBYISM” and until recently didn’t even know what it meant. If you don’t, it means “Not in my backyard.” This is especially frustrating when someone is saying it in the context of, “I’m gonna continue flashing my strobe lights until drivers stop trying to kill me.” That doesn’t even make sense. There are a myriad of studies that show that while flashing lights may help drivers visually see you better, it is more difficult to predict how far or close you are.
What people don’t think about is that epilepsy is a DISABILITY. It’s not just people whining about flashy lights. One of my favorite analogies to use is; if wheelchair users complained about the lack of curb cuts on sidewalks, would people treat them with the same indifference and downright malice in some cases?
In the comments on this article, and this is not the first time that I have read this, people have actually had the gall to say; “Why don’t they just avert their face?” Why don’t wheelchair users just use the side of the street instead of mounting the sidewalk? Do people not realize that it just takes a couple strobes to trigger a seizure!? Apparently not. Furthermore, some people with photosensitive disorders may not have the capacity to whine about it like I do. Some may BE wheelchair users that do not have a voice to say that they are suffering. For some reason, people are under the assumption that it only effects people with epilepsy and that we’re driving. What? We could be pedestrians, waiting for a bus on the sidewalk, passengers in a car, riding a bus, riding a bike or even sitting inside a building.
What this is very reminiscent of, is my recent experience with the Bike Theft Summit. It’s the fact that people have gotten away from the “community” mentality and more towards the “all for themselves” thought process. People are caring less for each other and how their actions effect another person. They are caring less about personal accountability and pushing it off; “I’m not going to do this until this person does this.” I don’t care what the other person fucking does! You should be doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do! Period!
Stop making excuses.