Week 1 – Twickenham to Home

I arrive at Twickenham Station at 9:43am, nice and early, next train to Waterloo is departing at 10:01am – perfect, I think.

I don’t have time to mess around so I go straight up to the front desk:

“Excuse me, I’m getting a train from platform 4, and I need assistance with the stair-lift.”

“I’ll just ring one of my colleagues, go to the stairs and he’ll be with you shortly.”

I go to the stairs. One minute passes.

2 minutes pass…3 minutes pass…4 minutes pass.

Back to front desk:

“Your colleague isn’t there.”

“Have patience, he’ll be there soon!”

Back to stairs, and fortunately, the ‘colleague’ has arrived. Unfortunately, the stair-lift is at the bottom of the stairs, and I am at the top of the stairs. Five or six (I lose count through utter boredom) painstakingly slow minutes later, and the stair-lift has arrived. I get on.

‘Colleague’ presses button. Nothing happens.

‘Colleague’ presses button. Nothing happens.

‘Colleague’ walks up stairs and presses another button. Again, nothing happens.

This goes on for another ten minutes…I sit there, delving into Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar. But then:

“Excuse me, that’s my train – the one the announcer just said, I need to get that train!”

“Well if you make it you make it, if you don’t you don’t.” (As usual, the National Rail staff establish themselves as masters of logic.)

“You don’t understand…”

“Sorry, this machine is always slow – not my problem.”

I have already realised that the machine is not the niftiest of its kind. A few minutes later, my train speeds past. I’ve had enough.

“Let me off this thing.”

“What?!”

I go back to front desk and explain the predicament. First to the original member of staff, then to a parent via payphone.

Member of staff now explains that the stair-lift was “ultimately” working all along. I go back to the stairs. The stair-lift, incredibly, is not working.

I go back to the front desk, and shamelessly push in front of the entire queue. Of course, asking politely first.

“Look, I’ve been here for half an hour, and you and your colleague have not managed to get me onto a platform. I’ve already missed one train, and I do not intend to miss the next, which leaves in ten minutes.

He wants to deal with the queue first. Obviously.

Three shell-shocked passengers later and this member of staff accompanies me to the stairs. Along with the help of a stranger, my wheelchair is carried down the stairs and onto the platform. I walk.

I now ask the ‘colleague’ for a ramp – but apparently, I have been “wasting his time!” After him walking the length of the waiting train three times, searching for a suitably accessible carriage, I am on the train. I rather think it is him, who has been wasting my time.

‘Colleague’ will be reported, I assure myself.

I arrive at Waterloo at 10:58am. After a bit of searching, I find the bus-stop from which the 176 should be taking me home.

The 176 took a long time. After twenty minutes, I am relieved at the sight of it.

A couple of people get on the bus, and I call to the driver for assistance – ignored. This happens a few times and eventually everyone else is on the bus.

It drives off. Without me.

While I contemplate who to sue first, another bus quickly arrives. This driver is much more friendly and immediately lowers his ramp.

As I drive on, the ramp (which has not been put out properly) buckles and I fall over backwards, crunching my head and back on the pavement. After a few minutes of scuffling to see who can help the disabled person the most, I am on the bus.

Just when I think the spotlight shining on me can not get any brighter – “WARNING – WHEELCHAIR RAMP CLOSING!”

19 responses to “Week 1 – Twickenham to Home

  1. definiteley should continue

  2. If you stopped writing these blogs, I would not feel, as I do now, that I can share your life.
    I’m sure many others feel the same.

  3. I was confused and put my comment in the wrong place.. xx

    jody! you’re amazing person writer and activist. never never stop telling about your experiences. never stop telling the truth!! xxxx.

  4. It is ultimately up to you of course whether you want to write the blog or not. Clearly a lot of people read it and you are providing serious insights into what life in a wheelchair amounts to along with many of the everyday problems and limitations that go with it. Coupled with your travelling and activism this has to be a unique blog that gives inspiration to a lot of people.

    So if the question is does it provide insight or benefit to other people, then the answer is emphtically yes. If you are asking what you should do in your life I find this a bit of a shock from someone as determined as you are to follow his own path!

  5. I can’t say how much your blog affects people’s views – on living with disability, on Palestine, on British society. Whether or not you continue, the work you’ve written so far will be an asset to us all.

  6. Rebecca Pierce

    Keep writing Jody, it’s good to hear your insights!

  7. Apart from enjoying the fact that your blog gives me a glimpse into your amazing life, every time I read I learn something new …. so …. keep it up!

    BD
    xx

  8. i enjoyed reading this again. definitely continue….

  9. Hi Jody,
    I’ve just read this piece and thought it was brilliant.

    It highlights, in a humorous way i might add, the plight many of us in wheelchairs face daily.

    Would you mind if i were to re-post it on my Blog, I’ll make sure I credit it to you of course.🙂

    http://www.damianplant.wordpress.com

    Cheers Damian.

  10. Of course, you are welcome to.

  11. Hi Jody, can I find colleague and punch him in the face?

  12. Jody, you are an inspiration. Vital to the struggle!
    Onwards to victory, hasta la victoria siempre!
    In solidarity xx

  13. Pingback: Week 71 – “See you next week Vince!” | Life on Wheels

  14. Pingback: Menschenrechtsverletzungen bei Studentenprotesten in London- Jody McIntyre « Urs1798′s Weblog

  15. Jody peace brother

  16. I’m French. We must unite to win. Why can’t we understand that, for instance, Palestine’s issue has a connection with capitalism? And so on.
    Struggle for freedom, justice is universal.
    We are big.
    I watched you on BBC. You expressed very clearly (y)our point.
    Please contact me whenever you come to Paris.
    It’s just the beginning. Otherwise, why should we all live? Even if we achieve only 0.0001% of our dreams, it’s better than doing nothing. We have a duty to resist.
    You’ve inspired me. Keep strong my brother!
    I live a bit in the world that I create myself.

  17. “Well if you make it you make it, if you don’t you don’t.”

    Agh! Where do people get off thinking – no, assuming – that disabled people don’t have lives and things to do!? How did he know you weren’t going to an important meeting?

    When the wheelchair repair company ring me up and say ‘we’re coming to check your wheelchair on….’ I immediately stop them politely and say I’ll have to check my diary, and put them on hold for 30 seconds. 9/10 I don’t have anything on but it’s the principle!

  18. Ha, ha! Sorry to be off-topic but your appearance on the BBC (http://t.co/R1a4gmx) beautifully demonstrates that both the police and Ben Brown picked the wrong guy to have a go at!

  19. people need to buck up their attitudes!
    we really need to sort our disabled facilities and stop incidents like these!
    keep on writing jordy!

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