, ,

3 Steps to Opening Boxes and Wholeheartedly Embracing the Contents

Shelves stacked with boxes

We define people by boxes. Our house is a box; car is a box; job title is a box; salary is a box; skin color is a box; gender is a box; and on and on and on….

The obvious answer then is: Think Outside the Box. Except that’s unoriginal…and wrong. People who advocate ‘outside the box’ ignore the reality that how we organize information matters, especially when referring to people. Categories carry consequences.

Occasionally someone will say, “I don’t see skin color ” or gender or ability or whatever. While the sentiment is lovely, I want to smack them in the mouth. Okay yes, I know…that wasn’t nice, but it’s true. You can’t erase labels simply because you want to pretend they don’t exist. Of course you see the categories. Every single person in your world fits into some kind of mental box.

A wise person doesn’t try to ‘think outside the box’; they recognize the categories and delve further into them with curiosity. Whether you talk about better understanding people or problems, the solution can be found by looking inside the box and noticing how it relates to the contents of other boxes.

Don’t ignore the container; get more familiar with the contents. 

Read more

, ,

You don’t mind that we’ve relocated your legs, do you?

mannequin legs hanging from a beam

I’m on a Southwest Airlines flight that has just landed in Sacramento, arriving ten minutes late from Denver. I have a two-and-a-half-hour layover before my last leg home to Seattle. In usual fashion, I’m the last person departing the aircraft because I have to wait for my wheelchair to be brought up from the cargo hold.

I’m waiting…and waiting…and…hmmm….

It seems longer than usual so I ask a flight attendant about my chair. I know it wasn’t left in Denver because from my window seat on the plane I saw them load it into the cargo hold. That’s a little nerve-wracking to watch, by the way.

According to recent data reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines break an average of 25 wheelchairs or motorized scooters per day. Over 700 times per month airline employees damage or misplace someone’s personal and essential form of mobility. Do you think they would be more careful if it belonged to their mother, child, spouse, or friend?

Finally, a gate agent steps aboard the plane and says, “They’ve already taken your wheelchair to your gate. We’ll just take you in one of our chairs.” Ummm, excuse me? What gate?? Remember that part about a two-and-a-half hour layover? My wheelchair with the motor is a $15,000 ride and acts as a stand-in for my legs. I’m not at all comfortable with someone arbitrarily deciding where it goes without me. Besides, I don’t want to go the gate. I want to go the bathroom, take my dog to the relief area, and get some food. In other words, just like anyone else, I have opinions about where I go. Read more