The wicked things we do

Tomorrow, instead of heading to Bradford, to do a normal, full day at work, I’m heading to Leeds instead. No, I’m not throwing a sickie, or anything, its work related.

In an ideal world, my back would allow me to work for nearly another 6 years, and retire at what is now the normal retirement age for British women, at 66. In truth, I would say, that even doing a 4 day week, as at present, my chances of doing so, rank probably as fair, but no more. So yes, on a pre retirement course tomorrow, to learn what I can do to make my future as easy as possible.

The thing is, it means I need to be in an office, just outside the center of Leeds, for 9.30 tomorrow morning. Yes, thats right, I need to get there right in the middle of the rush hour, and thats why I’ve done a wicked thing.

Its fair to assume that the 8.15 train tomorrow, from Huddersfield, to Leeds will be busy, and its quite likely some people will need to stand. Yes, the chances of me being able to stand, even with my brace on, for about 25 minutes, in one place, not good, or less! So yes, depending on your view of matters, I’ve either been practical, or wicked, and reserved a seat on the train, no pot luck for me! I cant do the same coming home, unfortunately, because I dont know exactly what time the course will end, and whether I will get out in time for the 5.00 shuttle, especially given my mobility limitations (its meant to end at 5.00), or need to be on 5.30 one, and that will affect the time I get back to Leeds station, and what train I’m able to get, so yes, wish me luck on that trip, especially as my disability is an invisible one! Hopefully my old commuting skills will return, and I can find a seat!

But yes, I know, I’m partially disabled (suspect I count as disabled, but prefer not to see myself as that, just yet), so I shouldnt be bothered by covering myself this way, but I do! But yes, it will be nice in the morning, knowing I dont have to scramble to get a seat on a rush hour train.

The video, talking of things wicked…

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Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

Search for the hotel room for yourself

Well fine, I have finally come to the decision that the back will (probably) survive the flight to Seattle, and back in May, so have started the process of transferring money to cards to allow me to pay for everything. Fine, I might have left it a couple more weeks, but Thomas Cook tell me there is a sale on to Seattle, so fine, it has to be done! Always was on a budget for these things, but even more so now I’m only able to work a 4 day week. A fact which also means this will be the only US trip that I will pay for this year! So yes, only trip lol! 😛

The amusing thing, when it came to hotel rooms, was the discounted rates available at the Choice Hotel group hotel I’ll be staying at. As a member of their scheme, I get a discount over those that dont belong, which is fine, we need some incentive, lets face it! And no, I’m never going to stay enough to get free nights lol! The thing that ‘annoyed’ me slightly, was the fact that I can get my discount for a standard queen/king bed room, but nothing if you need an accessible one! Fine, I can almost certainly get by without one, and will have to now, but I must admit I looked for one, as the extra help in the bathroom at least might have been handy, given the state of my back, let alone the room more designed for someone with some mobility issues.

Maybe its the norm, I dont know, as of course its the first time I’ve ever looked for such a thing! But no, I’m not paying $17 a night extra, for 8 nights, just on the vague chance I might need that! I guess the number of access rooms are more limited, so not offering them for discounted rates is due to that, but it concerns me for others, who might need it, are on a budget, if they cant get rooms for the same price as people with no health issues.

OK, disability rant over, though I might yet write to their customer services dept, and ask them why, and see what answer I get, hmm?

Fine, video time. M People fitted for my other blog video, so I took the lazy route in finding this one. As so often, clue is in blog title!

No more guilty feelings

No, sadly I havent been brainwashed, or mind controlled into accepting that its fine for me to use a wheelchair, when I need one, much though I would enjoy it if I was! No, the reason I can officially accept it now, without having personal issues over the matter, is that I have been given the news for real, I count as disabled. So yes, absolutely, go for it girl, use that wheelchair with freedom when offered one!

I might add, that for now at least, I dont plan to use one, unless I really need it, which pretty much means it is going to come down to travelling matters, principally airports, though I suspect that major railway stations may become a place where its now all too tempting to use one. I did decline one at Boston recently, though I suspect Kate thought I probably should have done, and fine, it was one of those matters you could make a case out for, either way. But as I didnt have to worry about the case, and I was only walking to the train seat, not stood in one place, it was fine.

Equally, already, if I have to stand in one place, unsupported, for more than a couple of minutes, its a problem! Thankfully, with a bit of planning, most places I can avoid that situation. And for example, things like the wedding, with my brace on, I can survive a fair bit longer, but yes, Immigration, or Security, at an airport, no chance! Especially as I have discovered that wearing a brace through airport security, you have to prove what it is, lol! So maybe next time I’ll take it off post handing over case, but before going through security, just slip it in hand luggage! Ah well…

The main blessing for me, now its been recognized as such, is that I can get a special design chair at work, to help support my back in a way it needs. Standard office chairs are fine for most folk, but when you have a bad back, they’re not sympathetic lol!

Yes, I hope my disability doesnt get worse, as most of the time I can get by under my own steam. It has slowed me down, that 20 minute gap between finishing work, and getting to the bus bay has got more of a challenge! Still doable at present, but…

But yes, now, next May in Manchester Airport, if not sooner, I will have no need to feel guilty about needing a wheelchair to get me through any more, I have disability status! Thats not to say that if someone wants to ‘convince’ me that its fine, that I’d say no, but… 😉

The video, something I dont need to feel any more about this requirement

Acting crossover stuff

Right, before I get back to the reality of work tomorrow, lets have a non holiday piece about the crazy world of casting patterns in the acting world.

Back in the early days of movies, ethnicity issues produced some, err, interesting developments from the movie studios. Though a small number of oriental actors, and actresses did break into the movie industry, the emphasis is on a small number. And the situation was little better for African-American actors and actresses as well, beyond a few token parts, generally as servants, or slaves.

Indeed, to take one famous name, Myrna Loy, before she finally got her big break, seemed to only play orientals, generally of the evil kind, or mysterious foreigners, despite having been born in Montana! Thankfully her chance to act as ‘herself’ came eventually, and a star was born! Other famous roles, such as Charlie Chan, Fu Man Chu, and others, yes, you get my drift, white actors in makeup! Thankfully, eventually things changed for the better, but seriously…

One area of personal interest, that sadly doesnt seem to have changed, is disabled roles, most specifically in my case at present, roles involving actors, and actresses, in wheelchairs. Have you noticed, even now, nearly all, if not pretty much all those roles are played by people that dont actually need a wheelchair to get around? Now, thats not to denigrate some, like Patrick Stewart, and Raymond Burr, who were really good in their roles, who just maybe genuinely disabled actors couldnt have matched, but all those smaller roles, where…yes, I know, I might be biased at present lol!

Firstly, let me say, its fair to say that at present, I’m not strictly a disabled actress of the kind I’m talking about. I, thankfully, as I proved at the airports, and the like, can get out of a wheelchair, as long as I dont have to stand in 1 spot for too long. I’m lucky, others arent, but if with this rant, I can help them too, then all the better! But equally, at present, especially on stage (which is in truth, probably more my field level), I couldnt perform out of a wheelchair for very long, so count me in, for now at least. In truth, I suspect that over time, my back will probably get worse, not better, so…

Put it this way, my dream role would be a female equivalent of Magneto, Davros (Dr Who & Daleks) or something equally sci-fi, but in truth, any challenge of a suitable role, for a 60(ish) actress, in a wheelchair would be good. No, I dont want a Tony/Oscar winning type role, my acting skills arent that great, I suspect. But a smaller role would be nice, in more senses than one.

And much though my dream is to act in the US, in the sense of that type of role, I’ll consider anything, almost anywhere! So, if you want to give me a chance to prove it (ha, ha), or know someone that might, then you can either email me at stephmajor8@hotmail.com , or contact @cgemLLC on Twitter, or at cgem-llc.com and mention the name Stephanie Carpenter, and they would probably be as thrilled as me if you did.

I know, I know, wont hold my breath!

Video time, going back to the old days, and in this case, a Scottish woman, pretending to be Japanese! One hit wonder time, btw.