Drop into my master bedroom suite on any given night, and the scene is predictable: I’m sitting at my computer desk, with my back to our TV, listening intermittently to the fluffy, feel-good shows that my wife watches from bed as I write my latest late-night ramblings and correspondences.
On this night, I’m on cue, with my wheelchair wheels pressed into their usual ruts worn into the plush, grey carpeting in front of my desk, and my wife is into the first few minutes of one of her favorite prime-time shows. As I spin my chair around, heading to the kitchen to sneak a cupcake, I see wheelchairs rolling across the TV screen.
“Oh, cool, wheelchairs,” I say, pulling up within inches of our entertainment cabinet, practically pressing my noise against the flat-screen television. “What’s this?”
“Joan of Arcadia,” my wife says.
“Cool, look, they’re playing wheelchair basketball,” I say, pointing at the screen as if it wasn’t entirely obvious. “There’s a Colours chair, and a Top-End, and a bunch of Quickies.”
I look at my wife, and her perturbed stare back at me suggests that she’s far less enthralled by the wheelchairs on TV than I am. If I’m a dog chasing its tale, she’s the wise cat watching me act like a fool. I look back to the TV, and see a guy in a Quickie GPV trying to coax a guy in a Quickie 2 to play basketball with the rest of the team.
“Hey, that guy in the GPV has stroller handles on his chair,” I shout, fingering his chair on the screen. “No one plays basketball with stroller handles – what the hell kind of blasphemy is this?”
“Stop,” my wife says, striving to break my fixation on the everyday wheelchairs racing back and forth across the basketball court.
“What the hell – look, that other guy has drop-in T-arms on his chair. No one plays basketball with T-arms,” I say, watching the guy with the Quickie 2 and T-arms roll off the court. “Good, go home and get a real basketball chair….”
The TV shuts off, and I look at my wife holding the remote control.
“Hey, I was watching that!” I shout, frustrated that she pulled the plug on my wheelchair watching and whining.
“Go away,” she’s says.
“Turn it back on,” I say.
“No,” she says. “Every time you see wheelchairs on TV, you end up yelling at the TV.”
“…Because they’re always wrong,” I say. “They never use the right types of chairs.”
“It’s a TV show, they’re actors – the guy in the Quickie walks during some of the fantasy scenes, he’s not really disabled,” she says.
“So, at least get the chairs right,” I insist. “Show me realistic wheelchair applications and I’m fine. Show me stroller handles and T-arms on a basketball court, and I’ll flip out every time.”
“Go away,” she says.
“I’m going,” I say, turning toward the hallway. “But, there better not be stroller handles and T-arms on the basketball court when I get back.”