I've been reading this wonderful blog and it's got me thinking a lot about accessibility. And today I had one of those light bulb moments. You know what I mean? Suddenly something seemed so obvious it was hard to belief it just now occurred to me. But somehow I missed it until now.
People are often so self-centered. Myself included. But when we talk about accessibility, well, real accessibility means thinking of someone other than ourselves.
Today I was talking Isaac out to pee. I opened my front door and a sheet of paper fluttered to the floor. The property manager here sends out notices about various things on a fairly regular basis. Today's notice was about the severe cold and what we should do to keep pipes from freezing. When he, or his assistant, or one of the maintenance guys distribute these notices, they wedge them between the door and the door frame. When you open the door, the paper drops to the floor. There's no way it won't.
Now, I have a really hard time bending over to pick things up. Fortunately I have a service dog and he is happy to pick up these papers for me. If I didn't have Isaac, I would probably just leave the notices on the floor for the maintenance people to pick up.
The property manager knows I can't bend over to pick up these notices. I know he knows, because once he was out in the hallway when I opened the door and one fell to the floor, and he asked if I wanted him to get it for me. I told him no, thank you, but Isaac would do it. But why does continue to stick notices in my door like that when he knows I can't pick them up?
So today I took the notice from Isaac, put it in my kitchen, and took Isaac out for his walk. On our way out, I noticed a paper on the floor in front of one of my neighbor's doors. She is 80 years old, uses a walker, and looks pretty frail. And I thought, "Hey, I bet she has a hard time picking up those notices off the floor!" And then I thought of some of my other neighbors, like the one that wears leg braces and uses a cane and the man that uses a wheelchair and only has limited use of his arms and hands, and I thought, "Hey, I bet they have a hard time picking up those notices, too!"
So after Isaac peed and we came back inside, I called up the property manager. He probably expects these kinds of calls from me by now. I told him how, if I didn't have Isaac to pick up the notices for me, I would just be leaving them on the floor. Then I mentioned some of my neighbors I thought would have trouble picking them up, too, and pointed out that they don't have an Isaac to pick up things for them.
The property manager said he hadn't thought about that and I said I hadn't either, until today. He said something along the lines of he'll think on it and see what they can do differently.