Sarge and I still date. Each other. It’s allowed. And also important. When he’s working late, and I’m not working enough, dating is a way for us to remember what the other one looks like without tired eyes (his) or PMS (mine). These days, our dates are weekend trips to the movies after having coffee that Sarge doesn’t have to make for me. And I promise, these dates do differ from our nights in with fish and chips and a box-set (Northern Exposure, The Sopranos, Spaced, Black Books.)
And so yesterday, high on holiday mochas with whip, we rolled into the cinema to see Hugo. We asked for our tickets and there was a pause.
The wheelchair space needed to be ‘released’ and this required approval from the manager. The manager comes over and eyeballs me, possibly waiting to see if I’ll leap up and proclaim that I only use the chair to get the not-really discounted seats.
‘We have to make sure that the space isn’t booked by someone who doesn’t need it, you see.’ He said this to Sarge, not me. ‘And there’s your ticket. So you can sit next to your colleague.’
‘She’s my girlfriend.’
‘Oh. Enjoy the show.’ He went away. Leaving us with the girl at the counter.
‘Are we colleagues?’ I asked Sarge. ‘Because, you should know, I don’t sleep with my colleagues. And if we did work together, we’d never get any work done.’
‘No’, he said.
And with that we went into the movie. Where I transferred into a seat and Sarge parked the chair into its designated space.
‘Can I hold your hand? Or is that not allowed? Since we’re colleagues?’
‘That’s okay, I think it’s in the contract somewhere,’ I said.
I have CP. I hire a PA to do all the things Sarge, as my boyfriend, shouldn’t have to do. Nor would I want him to. I have been on friendly terms with all my PAs; we have a laugh on the way to my office building. Where I work. With my colleagues. Sarge is not one of them.
Saturday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this is also Disability History Month in Scotland. I’ve been trying to think of something to say about these important days. On Saturday, I wrote words that had nothing to do with my CP, and then I spoke to my Dad. When Sarge got home from an afternoon spent playing ancient geek games, we had the aforementioned fish and chips and shared our evening with the Sopranos.
And yesterday I went on a date. With my boyfriend. Because I could. I can celebrate Saturday, and any other day, by just being here. Living my life, changing the things I can and hoping for the rest. Because that’s all anyone can do.
I mentioned earlier that I wanted to say something important and worthwhile within my ramble, I guess my two c(p)ents is this. Every disabled person out there has family and friends, people who care for them and support them, without being paid to do so. Some have partners and jobs. We even go to the movies.
After Hugo, Sarge and I came home, where we weren’t colleagues. Sometime in the future we might be, if I break my own rule and we ever open that bookshop we talk about. But that’s another post.