Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve was pretty low key around the Dean pad this year. I planned to have a few people over but one’s flight got delayed until pretty late and didn’t end up coming by at all and the others decided to go out downtown Minneapolis instead. I had the option of joining them but I wasn’t interested in going very far. As I discussed in my last post, the Minneapolis area got hit with a ton of snow and it’s made parking and getting around via wheelchair difficult in certain places. On top of that the Twin Cities was getting hit with a frozen rain storm so driving around town wasn’t advisable. And all that aside, I wasn’t interested in going anywhere overcrowded anyway. I’ve gone out to bars on New Year’s Eve and dealt with crowds in the past and it’s hardly fun trying to move around in an asses to elbows environment.

I bring this up not to lament on the fact that I ended up flying solo on New Year’s Eve but to make it applicable to this interesting blog post I read last week about the New Year’s Eve dilemma for wheelchair users. It gets a little heavy on the guilt factor, but the premise is that wheelchair users are limited in which bars, clubs, house parties, etc. they can go to celebrate New Year’s Eve on account of a lack of accessibility of many places. So the dilemma is that the wheelchair user’s friends might want to go to the more fun locales but either feel held back because they have to account for the accessibility factor and/or feel guilty for ditching that friend to go to an inaccessible celebration spot. On the other hand, the wheelchair user gets sick of the same accessible haunts, can’t go to the inaccessible spots (or doesn’t feel like the extra effort of making it work), and/or may feel guilty holding their friends back from doing something more fun just so they can stay included in the group venture.

Like I said, it gets a bit heavy on the guilt factor, but it sheds light on a topic that all wheelchair users can relate to on some level. The last time I went out to the bars on New Year’s Eve the evening started out at a friend of a friend’s accessible apartment (with a wide open accessible bathroom) and then moved on to the bars. It was also a cold and snowy night with a lot of newly fallen snow on the ground. I tried unconvincingly to keep the house party going and skip the bars but got quickly overruled. Parking was a mess, crossing streets and rolling down the sidewalk got tricky with the snow, and I had to be lifted into a few bars that just had steps, which is something that I’m not crazy about when the people lifting me have been having more and more to drink as the night goes on. So in that case I tried to hold people back from the fun that they wanted to have, and then ultimately had less fun myself on account of all the extra hurdles I had to jump to celebrate with my friends.

So as much as I was disappointed that I didn’t end up having company on New Year’s Eve, taking all that above into consideration, having a few drinks to celebrate on my own didn’t end up being too bad a night after all.

Happy New Year everyone.

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