Rant…I’m pissed! Again!

Bare with me… rant incoming with F bombs. You’ve been warned.

This photo is a still from an upcoming / already aired episode of Legends of Tomorrow.

flash

If you can’t figure out yet what this rant is going to be about… you clearly don’t know me.

This Character is known as the Black Flash and as you can see like so many other fucking villains they’ve decided to make him “scary.” How did they achieve this… well they decided to fuck up his face.

I’m so fucking tired of never “seeing” myself on TV and instead seeing “bad dudes” made up to look like a version of me. I’m tired of saying that the only character I can identify with is The Phantom (he doesn’t even have a name!) from The Phantom of the Opera. I’m tired of realizing that kids today born as I was STILL have never seen a true, honest, “normal” role in a movie or TV show that represents them.

When they choose to cast able bodied or “normal” looking folks in roles in which they play someone disabled or with a visible difference (facial or otherwise) I often hear people say (in defence when I start ranting) that “well maybe no one with that disorder, disability, facial difference auditioned or may not have been a good enough actor to play the role or that they don’t exist”. You know why that is? Because we are not GIVEN A SNOWBALLS CHANCE IN FUCKING HELL to try.

If I went to an open casting call I’d be laughed out the door. If they are looking for someone with a difference it’s normally a tiny role meant to further the plot in some way or the actor/difference is being used as inspirational porn.

I get that I will never with an Oscar, I will never be an actor. I work in a call centre because I was NEVER told I could be anything I wanted to be or DO anything I wanted to do. You know what? That’s because I never had to be told that, I already knew. It’s 20FUCKING17 and in a time where we are focused on valid world issues such as #BlackLivesMatter (Damn right they do), #Feminism and all of the other valid struggles;  those with facial differences are STILL screwed over. There is ZERO public outcry, hostages, or a desire for society to change this. Zero movements or effort to raise funds for organizations that actively help those with facial differences navigate life.

Side note: In most workshops I have attended run by groups like this they actually advocate to call the employer ahead of time to “warn” them that you have a facial difference. FUCK THAT, if you see me and the first thought is FUCK she’s ugly and you decide NOT to hire me, you can go tuck yourself. I have ZERO desire to give anyone the chance to prejudge me. I’m tired of the fact that there is a HUGE assumption that just because we look different it automatically means we have a lower IQ. When I’m with anyone and we encounter a stranger the stranger will AUTOMATICALLY start talking with the person I’m with as if I don’t even exist. This is ALWAYS the most evident when I’m training a new volunteer. Someone will walk through the door and even when I say “can I help you” with my trainee by my side, the person will IGNORE me and first speak with my trainee (they clearly miss the deer in headlights vacant look most of my trainees have that first day). I have NEVER mentioned this but anyone of my trainees who reads this can probably remember this happening.

I step out in public every fucking day to provide for my family when there are days I’d rather stay home than venture out KNOWING I’m going to get stared at, looked at, laughed at, pointed at, and talked about. I step outside every fucking day and endure that and when it happens I either want to cry or snap. I FUCKING gave the finger to a kid at Costco yesterday and I laughed. I laughed because the alternative was either teaching that kid a few new swear words or cry. I can’t go out and shop in piece… nope I have to deal with shot like that. Most articles produced for those with facial differences talk about how to approach such topics, suggesting we make eye contact or politely strike up a conversation. I disagree with ALL of these methods; how about we start teaching children at an early age that people come in all sorts of shapes, colours, and flavours. How about we start producing movies, art, TV that show all walks of life so that when everyone is growing up we see EVERYONE and oh look no one is considered a freak (unless you like that sort of thing). It’s akin to victim blaming; I have to approach you differently simply because you’ve never seen another human being that looks different even though unless you are a twin we all look different from one another anyways.  I’m ok with being the anti-role model; I’m ok teaching kids to stick up for themselves and being able to tell others to mind their own business and stop fucking starring at them; they should be allowed to be anything they want to be but instead we teach little kids with differences that you have to teach others ducking decent human manners.

YES, I have a job, I have a house, I have a sister who is my rock (shout out and lots of love to Crystal), I have amazing friends and co-worker and complete strangers who think I’m awesome. That helps it really does however this post if for the rest of the world, to those agents, casting managers, film makers etc… Pull your heads out of your ass! I’m FUCKING tired of all of this shit. Yes to those who support me (you know who you are) I get that I’m loved, I get that I’m luckier that probably 80% of the world but that doesn’t help me get out the door every morning. If anything it adds to it. I have a voice I can say ALL of this but it won’t make a difference. Those countries who treat their disabled like shit will continue to do so, those countries who throw away their children because they look different will continue to do so. Until we as a society decide that those with differences are a VALUE and not trash, not something to be pitted the world will NOT change and I will continue to have to write these words. I won’t stop, as much as it gets me mad, upset, everything I will gladly take on ALL of that. I would take on all the hurt that children suffer and I would be ok, I’m USED to it! I keep putting one foot in front of the other because if I dared to stop, I would crumble and I wouldn’t be any good to anyone.

PLEASE share this, please ADD to it. Tell YOUR story! Together we can change the world; one voice really CAN make a difference.

 

Transit

grt1

For those who don’t know me or haven’t heard me complain about it often enough; I’m not legally allowed to drive, so my only option is public transit since I haven’t won the lottery and cannot afford a private driver.

 

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo (aka Region of Waterloo) we are serviced by one transit system that spans 3 cities (well I guess it’s more than that now as it also serves some smaller townships). For the most part over the years I’ve seen vast improvements in both the routes and the customer service. However this post is going to focus on the huge pain points that me and my family have gone through with respect to Grand River Transit.

 

Weekend Service:

I typically start work at 7am, no matter what day it is. I thought by working on Saturdays I would be able to get to work before 7am. Sadly the first bus that goes by is 6:21am the time it takes me to get from my house to work is 58 minutes which includes an 8-minute layover for another bus. By taking this option this would get me to work for 7:20am IF they were on time; unfortunately, this would make me 20 minutes late for work, not cool

I’ve been lucky a co-worker (hi Cory) has been able to go out of his way to come and get me however on the off chance he cannot (as he won’t be able toon an upcoming Saturday due to vacation) this has left me with 2 options for which I have to choose to get to work on time:

1) walk, it’s about 10km one way which takes me roughly 2 hours; or

2) pay a large sum to a cab or car-share ride program to get to work on time. I’ve done this on the way home one night because I was tired and it cost me just shy of $18 (that’s with 20% off promo code) to get home from work going to work will pretty much be the same cost.

 

When I bought my house Sunday bus service meant 1 bus every 60 minutes. This has slightly improved to be 1 bus every 45 minutes however the first bus that goes by our house is at 8:15am. I typically start work at 7am, or 8am, however when bus goes by after you are already scheduled to start your shift with about an hour commute to go you can see the limitations I face. Thankfully I don’t have many Sundays where I need to work so if I do go out it’s by choice and has not been the biggest pain.

 

Weekday Service:

I really can’t complain about the weekday service. I can get a bus at 5:34am which gives me a nice layover where I can grab a coffee and still get to work before anyone else at around 6:25am. Even coming home after work at around 3pm hasn’t been that much of a problem. Now I have been doing some odd shifts and I can say that trying to get home after working until 9pm isn’t really fun as I usually have a 45 minute wait in the cold (it’s winter) for my connecting bus which will get me home but those shifts are few and far between so I honestly don’t mind them.

 

MobilityPlus

When you live in the Waterloo Region and you are physically unable to take the traditional city bus there is a door-to-door service called MobilityPlus. It’s an off-shoot of GRT (Grand River Transit) which provides transportation for the elderly, disabled, and such. Since my mom had a stroke 3 years ago my sister and I have become very much aware of this service, how good it can be and the clear gaps and improvements it needs to make it the best it can be. Currently the only way to book a ride is by calling; they seem to have 1 human at any given time manning the phone to answer your call to book your ride. There is one gentleman who works there (no idea what his name is) who has the customer service skills of sandpaper. He is extremely rude, he makes frequent errors (when pointed out to him blames the customer), and seems to have zero regard for plain decency. And yes before you comment asking if we have lodged complaints…we have, almost after every single interaction with him. While he is still employed in the role is beyond us; the fact that I work in customer service makes dealing with him all the more frustrating because I can promise you if I EVER talked to my customers like that I’d be suspended, talked to, and if it happened again on top of mistakes that cost the company money I’d be out of a job. I figure the guy is protected by a union however I would imagine they could give him any other role that is not customer facing to satisfy the employment requirements. The other few agents they have working in the office are 100% awesome; sweet to talk to and never make you feel rushed.

 

Because they seem to only have 1 person manning the line at any given time sometimes the wait times are absolutely nuts. I think our record wait time was over an hour however recently you can’t even get through it just rings busy. Now you might be asking yourself “Why don’t you book online?” That is a GREAT idea…sadly the systems they are using are SO dated that booking online is not even an option. As someone who can only hear out of one ear waiting on hold having to hold the phone up to just one ear I can tell you is NOT very comfy. I tend to use my cell however if I put it on speaker I risk missing it because their hold music is so low and of such low quality it might as well not exist.

 

Once you have your ride booked (which at this point we can all agree is no easy task) comes your pick up times. They tend to give you a 30 minute window that is at least 1 hour from your scheduled appointment. So if my mom has a doctor’s appointment on a Thursday at 1pm the pickup time will be between 11:30am and noon; assuming there are no other pickups (there never has ever been) it’s a bout a 10-15 minute ride. This in turn means if we get picked up at 11:30am on the dot we will get to her doctor’s office by 11:45am-ish that means we have a lovely 1 hour and 15 minutes to sit doing nothing while we wait. We all know that doctor’s appointments tend to be quick; so lets say we are seen right at 1pm (cause we’ve been sitting there for an hour) he chats with my mom and we are done by 1:15pm-ish, MobilityPlus will take the appointment time of 1pm add an hour and make our pick up for our return trip home to be 2pm-2:30pm this means yet another potentially hour or more that we are waiting for a ride home. Now that’s IF they get there by 2:30pm its very possible that they forget you, or they are just plain late. This means a simple 15-minute appointment has taken half a day. This frustrates us to NO end because it is not convenient.

 

We have also been told that because we live in the North end of Waterloo we will always get least priority since they have to come out further to get us. This means longer wait times but also has meant that mom has not been able to attend a day programme on Thursdays. She used to be able to go but apparently due to cut-backs they have had to limit rides and thus my mom gets shafted. She has not been able to attend the Thursday program for about 6 months now and it upsets her since she had so much fun going. On Wednesdays she also attends a day program however because there is a therapeutic component to it the program director fought with GRT to have her rides on Wednesdays consistent. This means that they are prescheduled and we do not have to call every week to book both the pick up from home or the return trip home. We did try to have this done for the Thursday program however GRT declined and as such we have waited on hold an average of an hour every Thursday morning to book a ride for the following Thursday only to be told that there are ZERO rides available…why? Because of “cut backs” “because of where you live”. When it comes to non medical outings you can only book a week ahead of the day you are calling. So if mom and I wanted to go to the mall THIS Saturday we would be out of luck; the earliest we would be able to go would be the following week IF they have time slots available that work.

 

I’ve provided feedback and short of going to the Mayors office (Waterloo and Kitchener) I don’t know what else to do to accomplish the sweeping changes that are clearly desperately needed. I know that we are not the only ones that struggle with GRT as I do work with two gentlemen that also rely on the service and have the same headaches we do.

 

To be fair we are extremely lucky to have such service in the first place. I’ve heard of some other similar services in other parts of the world and they have their own limitations. Overall the transit in the Region of Waterloo is pretty decent and again has expanded as the city has but as someone who will only ever be able to take the bus I see flaws that don’t need to be there, barriers that could be overcome and great people who work hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly.