22 August, 2018

Inaccessibility 2: 2 Menus 2 Furious

I was rereading my Inaccessibility post from last year and just wanted to add some addendums. Sometimes thoughtful waiters at restaurants will bring everyone else a glass of water, and bring Anna water in a disposable cup with a lid and straw.

Your mileage may vary (I can't help thinking of the Deal with Disability post about being brought a sippy cup) but this really warms my heart. I can see that the waiter has noticed Anna, seen that she's severely disabled, thought about what accommodation she might need, and decided to bring this cup, presumably because they know other disabled people who drink out of a cup like this.

However, it's actually a waste of the cup and straw because Anna can't drink out of a straw. She drinks out of an adaptive cup or a squeeze water bottle (which she brings with her). Or, in a pinch, I very messily pour drinks into her mouth out of a glass.

It means a lot to me when people are paying attention and thinking about what a disabled person might need, to the point that I have a very mixed reaction when the disposable cup appears. It's so considerate! But...it's wrong for us. It's nice when staff at our haunts get to know us and know what we need, but if you don't know, it's better to ask.

Also, in the previous post I complained that the waiter didn't bring menus or glasses of water for Anna or her friend "Otter." I realized maybe I should explain why I have a problem with this, as Anna and Otter each bring their own water bottle, may not be able to read menus, and can't order their own food. The waiter was technically correct in judging that they wouldn't drink out of the glasses of water and wouldn't pick up the menus, read them, and order from them. The reason I don't like this is:

1)This assumption is wrong a lot of the time. Somebody may be able to drink out of a glass (maybe with a straw, maybe not); definitely may be able to read their own menu and order for themself; and may still enjoy having and looking at a menu if they can't read or order. Shane Burcaw's blog has some good posts about being treated like a child at restaurants and stores, when he can order for himself.

2)Even if someone MAYBE doesn't need a menu or water, if you normally bring a menu or water for each person at the table, then by automatically bringing 2 menus and 2 glasses for a table of 4 people, you're implying that you only see 2 people at the table. In the general population of "able-bodied" people, some of them have a regular order that they always get, and it's certainly not like two friends would shrivel up and die from sharing a menu. But it's still common to bring everyone a menu. Just bring everyone a menu because everyone is a person. Why.

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