> jumping into life.

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What struck me the most was a day at the Farmers' Market in Marina, which was a few blocks from her house. It was a beautiful day and we were trying to heal our friendship. I think it was a few months before our relationship began to acquire elements of the romantic, but a few months after we'd come to a mostly-friendly cease-fire regarding our mutual boyfriend. That's a story, but this isn't it.

We bought plums and fake beef jerky and were looking at vegetables and probably talking about Matt when the woman on the other side of the produce stand interrupted us.

"What happened to you?"

I was aghast. My friend just smiled gracefully, saying, "Car accident."


"A few years ago."

"Who was driving?"

She paused, and at this point I already desperately wanted the conversation to end. "My boyfriend."

"What happened?"

"He fell asleep and the truck flipped."

The lady looked at us mournfully. "Well, that's hardly fair."

"I wasn't wearing my seat belt," she said. "So it's my fault too."

As we moved along, I asked if that sort of thing happens all the time. She nodded. "Though it's nice when they're a little more polite about it."

Over the next year, I learned how to position a transfer board, how to collapse a wheelchair in about forty-five seconds, and how to reassemble it even faster. I also learned how to be grateful for the privileges so easy to take for granted: I can walk up stairs, for instance, and people hardly ever assume that my pain is subject to their demand. I learned that I am afraid of death, but more afraid of disability.

In the library where I sit, there is a giant replication of a disability parking placard put up behind the stairs leading up to the stacks. We have an elevator, of course, but the doors are heavy and it is out of the way. My favorite restaraunt has two steps in front of its door; my house had two stoop steps as well. The sign on the staircase - part of an art instillation project - I think is meant to remind us that our ease of movement is privilege. Those stairs are privilege. But don't stop there: privacy is privilege. Thinking clearly is privilege. Breathing unassisted is privilege. I think that part of why disabilism can exist as much as it does it because we forget that all the time. If those of us still walking and talking on our own truly thought of ourselves as temporarily-able-bodied - or if we truly recognized that my intermittent depression and my mom's rhumetoid arthritis and my friend's AIDS and her parapalegia are all points on a contiuum - or if we truly recognized none of that those points are what define us - well, that'd be a good start.