We are all PwD now! Read persons or people with disabilities, not disability. It is rare that any one person has one disability. It is even more rare that any one person was born with one disability.
People with disabilities are ubiquitous and they have a multitude of them, especially if they made it to the ripe old age of being a “senior” citizen who is 65 years old or older. Meanwhile seniors are notorious for being unwilling to admit they are PwD or frankly vulnerable. This distresses the disability rights community, no end.
COVID-19 is giving all of us a lesson in “underlying conditions” be it age or the correlation of race and age or further the causation and correlation of living with food or drug insecurity or residing in such deserts, which should be called healthcare deserts.
Now, I escaped my previous remote location in New York City, on the one island in said city that is as friendly to people like me (i.e. PwD, who claim it). I have had trouble getting to the island (hence Fred’s piece in National Review last year). Yet, I have never had trouble getting off Roosevelt Island.
My escape is easier than my reentry given the simple reason that I plan my escapes long in advance of the actual day, armed with accommodations for the accommodations. Like most PwD and frankly most people, I don’t like the indignity of being “needy” or worse, being and looking vulnerable. Even worse is being in more pain than I’m already in. So I will suffer the first two situations to get to the last goal of living with less pain on a daily basis.
My office is stuffed full of accommodations. So is my home office. I have accommodations and accommodations that I use every day I set foot in the office in addition to having a private person help me access them. Indeed, my direct supervisor is instructed by HR to let this individual help me, or she can have her assistants do the same. She opts for the latter, needless to say, though only after I involve HR each and every time when I was in my physical office at my physical workplace. (HR is exacerbated, needless to say).
Now that I can’t access my accommodations in my office, not only do I have a mirror set for at home, but now that we’re traveling across Arbnb’s in a series of remote locations, I’m figuring out what is an essential accommodation and what is not. What is essential really is akin to what is “reasonable.”
I know what the essential functions of my position as a central line at the Graduate Center is. This is articulated on my workload sheet each and every semester, so it is never unclear. In fact in my remote remote location I’m able to do an overload last semester and next. This is very cool. This means, I am really a PwMD who can do more and be assigned more to do in my remote workplace.
This makes me not a supercrip but a overhighly functioning one — or as I described in Bodies in Revolt, an agent provocateur. Unlike civil rights for immutable characteristics like race, freedom from discrimination from ablism is rather easily defined — it can never be defined — it is fluid.
This means that one needs to figure out the system. And since I just hit 499 word count, the answer to my question — other than read the book — will be in the following blog December 29 or 30. Hint, the system is not an actual or physical space like those who manage my physical or virtual or remote workplace. Plus I’m not staying in hotels. These are public accommodations that have very clear dos and don’ts when it comes to what is a reasonable and an unreasonable accommodation.