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Lemurs rule

and the San Francisco Zoo's new exhibit for them, which I saw tonight with my sweetie kyubi, is very cool indeed -- they actually get to climb in real, mature trees. There were, according to the keeper, 10 male lemurs sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G and every once in a while they'd start chattering away in an enormous variety of voices, loudly, and sounding to my ear more like 50 critters than 10.

The exhibit mixes together several species; I don't know the names of most of them, but there were white ones with black faces, red ones with black faces and tails, and ring-tails.

It was the annual Members Night at the zoo. We got there late (my fault), so we only got to see the lemurs. It was foggy but that didn't deter the hundreds of families with kids. After the zoo closed we sat on a low wall near the exit and ate sandwiches and watched people leave. I told kyubi that any residual obligation I felt to contribute to the next generation of humans had been swept away. Lots and lots and lots of kids, walking and being carried and being pushed in single strollers and double strollers.

Sometimes when I see lots of kids being pushed in strollers or carried and I go to a kid-friendly place and see strollers for rent, I think about how it's seen as entirely natural that parents should let their kids ride in strollers even if they are capable of walking, but it's more rare to see older people out and about in wheelchairs or scooters, even though probably a large percentage of older people would benefit from them and would be able to go out and do more things if wheelchairs for adults were as casually available as children's strollers.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
queensheba
Jul. 27th, 2002 06:28 am (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. Right now, my grandfather's mobility is becoming extremely limited, and he's staying at home a lot rather than going out to do things because of it. He's always enjoyed going to church, out to eat, shopping, to the library, and I hate the fact that he's not able to do it anymore - but he and my grandmother are really denying how severe the situation is, and if they'd just get a wheelchair, he'd have so much more mobility and comfort - so many places are wheelchair-accessible, and he'd have that freedom he used to.
naesa
Jul. 27th, 2002 07:17 am (UTC)
i don't think the stroller sra ejust a mobility issue. it's also easier to keep track of your kid if they're strapped in, than if they are walking all over the place.
firecat
Jul. 27th, 2002 09:28 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, another interesting one. If you strap your kid into a chair, that's considered OK, but if you put your kid on a leash, a lot of people consider that abusive!
dawnd
Jul. 27th, 2002 09:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, this one always burned me, too! We had a leash for Allegra. It saved my sanity. Especially the time we went out on the tallship, The Lady Washington, in the SF Bay. Most of the time I was hanging on to her for (literally) dear life, but the leash was an extra measure of comfort, since there are many places on that ship that have holes plenty big enough for a 14-month-old to slip out of and into the ocean.

People are very strange about what they consider to be acceptable behavior with kids (and seniors, as you mentioned). Personally, I'm all for wheelchairs being able to be rented just like strollers. One issue I see is that a stroller is much narrower (most of them, anyway--double ones are pretty wide). Therefore, wheelchairs can be harder to navigate through exhibits than strollers. OTOH, I think that this just means we need to revise and update our various exhibits (zoos, museums, etc) for better access. I got to be a LOT more sympathetic toward mobility-impaired folks when I was pushing a stroller all the time. It is just *amazing* how many places are simply NOT accessible, or only through a great deal of extra effort ("oh, you just go over there, in the corner, and take that ramp, and that takes you to the opposite place from where you want to go, but that's the only way up there....).
lcohen
Jul. 27th, 2002 10:18 am (UTC)
i wonder if wheelchair rental availability is somewhat different in different communities. when we visited ayana's mother in dallas in june, we took her to a botanic garden where they had free wheelchairs (if you left a driver's license or credit card as safe-keeping) so that we could push her around the gardens. otherwise she would have given out after a short time and not have been able to see nearly so much of the gardens. but i don't recall seeing much of that up here (chicago).
naesa
Jul. 27th, 2002 11:07 am (UTC)
Re:
i'm not saying it's right.. and i was one of those people who used to go "oh, a leash, how awful!" until i saw the parents who didn't watch their kids *without* the leash. eep. now, I see it as making sense. my mom tied a rope to my walker when i was a kid, and kept track of me in the house that way.
iamlisabee
Jul. 30th, 2002 10:19 pm (UTC)
I used to say "oh, a leash, how awful!", too. Until I had a 2 year old. Now, while I still don't use one, I can certainly identify times when one would be very very useful. Barring the leash, the stroller is still the single most effective way to keep track of him - especially in crowds like the zoo. (Though we tend to go back and forth between running after him and putting him in the stroller.)
sashajwolf
Jul. 27th, 2002 02:08 pm (UTC)
I think reins are more effective, and I would guess they carry less risk of injury (I have no statistics to back that up, but I do know from experience that yanking on a child's hand, e.g. to keep zir from falling, can dislocate zir elbow.)
firecat
Jul. 28th, 2002 12:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, reins or a harness would be safest I think.
mittelbar
Jul. 27th, 2002 09:00 am (UTC)
I want someone to pull me in a red wagon.

(Maybe part of the problem with being old is that you know enough to be embarrassed at imposing on people.)
firecat
Jul. 27th, 2002 09:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree, but it's interesting that many parents don't consider themselves to be imposing on someone when they push strollers, even though the strollers do change traffic flow, more or less same way wheelchairs do.

What does your heart say? "wig to safety" doesn't parse for me.
dawnd
Jul. 27th, 2002 09:45 am (UTC)
I think mittelweg is saying that the *older people* don't demand wheelchairs, because *they* are embarrased about imposing. The kids don't care if they impose or not.
firecat
Jul. 27th, 2002 12:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know. But how come older people are more embarrassed about imposing than parents are? Is it something about asking for it for yourself vs. for someone else, do you think? And/or is it that society accepts strollers as something normal and considers wheelchairs abnormal/disturbing? I suspect it's some of both.
nimma
Jul. 27th, 2002 05:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know. But how come older people are more embarrassed about imposing than parents are?

(grouchy old person mode on) Hmph. These young people today have no manners, that's the problem. (grouchy old person mode off)
firecat
Jul. 28th, 2002 12:54 pm (UTC)
I admit to sometimes feeling that way around families who are simultaneously taking up a lot of room with their strollers and giving me the evil eye because I'm fat and take up more room than the average adult.

Never did like crowds.
wandra
Jul. 28th, 2002 03:41 am (UTC)
My mother, who has arthritis, recently borrowed a wheelchair to go to London for a demo. She was reluctant to do so because she has such negative associations with it. She won't use one at all in her home town because she really, really doesn't want people to see her in it.

I think part of it is about imposing on the person who has to push her around, but mostly I think it's about drawing attention to herself, and having to explain herself to people who are used to seeing her walking. (She just stays at home on bad days, usually.) She also commented on how irritating it was that she seemed to be invisible in the chair, with people talking to my dad, who was pushing her, but not to her. And I think she dislikes the idea of starting to be, or to look old and infirm. She's only 67, and doesn't look particularly old, and she's had the arthritis most of her life, but I think age is starting to feel more of an issue.

So I think embarrassment is a major factor, but it's not embarrassment at imposing on other people (apart from my dad). It's embarrassment at standing out from the crowd (possibly being seen as attention-seeking in some way?) and at using a wheelchair at all when she doesn't have to use one all the time.
firecat
Jul. 28th, 2002 12:56 pm (UTC)
It's embarrassment at standing out from the crowd (possibly being seen as attention-seeking in some way?) and at using a wheelchair at all when she doesn't have to use one all the time.

That makes sense, and I've heard the complaint about people not talking to people in wheelchairs.

But I can't help but wonder whether people who could benefit from using wheelchairs would feel better about it if more people used wheelchairs in public, if that makes any sense.
mittelbar
Jul. 27th, 2002 01:16 pm (UTC)
It says wig to safety.
It will parse in a couple of weeks.
firecat
Jul. 28th, 2002 12:57 pm (UTC)
Re: It says wig to safety.
hmmm... (curious)
treacle_well
Jul. 27th, 2002 10:44 am (UTC)
This is spooky. I recently confessed to G. that a favorite activity as a kid (and I admit the idea is still appealing) was being pulled around in a red wagon.
chorus_of_chaos
Jul. 27th, 2002 06:03 pm (UTC)
as my fibromyalgia has progressed, I have finally given in and on extremely bad days parked in handicapped spots. (I have the plate but it's for when take my parents places, it wasn't intended for me) I'm getting to the point where I'm debating using the electric carts they have in some grocery stores some days. I know people look at me and don't get it, they don't see anything "wrong" with me until I've walked halfway through the store, had a muscle spasm so bad in my back down to the back of my thigh that I fell on the floor kicking like an epileptic. I'm learning now to stop every two aisle and sit on the floor for a few minutes and rest my body. I get wierd looks but I figure fine, I'll just do my part to make people lives surreal, and I tell them I am healing the karma of the aisle I'm in, it's damaged. (shrug okay, so I like messing with people's heads.)
had someone say something nasty to me one day when I parked in a handicapped spot, she was like "That's for handicapped." I said "I have a plate, it's legal" she said "There's nothing wrong with you." and I went ballistic. "Lady, do you think people with parkinsons and MD and Fibro and a host of other illnesses just one day wake up and are wheelchair bound? have you ever considered the disease has a progression rate and while I may still have some mobility I wear out really quick now? You bitch, if I didn't hurt so bad I would kick your ass and make you feel like I do!!!" It's so frustrating....to have an "invisible" disease. They are wanting to put me in a back brace now to take some of the strain off my muscles, plus breast reduction surgery, which I've wanted for years anyway, because I'm having back and rib spasms so bad I can't expand my ribcage properly to draw a good breath. I'm on drugs that would put most people in a coma...and they do almost nothing for me.
Sigh..not meaning to whine or sound oh pity me, but just giving folks something to think about next time you see that apparantly healthy person using the handicapped stall in the bathroom, or a parking spot or using the electric carts at the store. There is so often so much more than meets the eye. I personally have actively lobbyed at our local malls to do electric wheelchair rentals, as I really can't mall shop anymore. Hell, Target takes it all out of me by the time I check out. I've had cashiers get me a chair and unload my cart for me because I was so pale and looked so sick.
firecat
Jul. 28th, 2002 12:59 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of doing your part to make people's lives surreal!

she said "There's nothing wrong with you." and I went ballistic.

I'm glad you did that. I hope she learned something.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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