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"Going the Distance"
It’s a relative thing.
A conceptual flux, constantly changing,
Depending on the person
And the terrain.
The ramp placed “out of the way”
The handicap stall at the end of the line
Constantly causing pain and fatigue, cursing the architect’s name.
The architect that did not choose functionality,
But instead, design.
Going up and down the stairs becomes essential.
Avoiding the pain and fatigue—or trying to.
It’s a balancing game.
Still a struggle,
But not knowing what else I can do.
It’s a relative thing.
But for me,
It changes everything.
Classes and extra-curricular activities sometimes include excursions, which are supposed to be an enjoyable experience for everyone—they are generally fun and take learning to a different dimension. Unfortunately, this means desired access to objects that are sometimes ignorantly placed. Part of Columbia’s history, for instance, is documented through historical signs placed throughout the city. A few of these are located in areas that are inaccessible to individuals with physical disabilities, such as the one by the staircase leading to Strom. Elevator access is available, but it leads only just above and below the location of the sign.
This leaves us alone. Isolated. The others go on ahead while we are left behind, never able to truly see what the others see.
We are in the minority. You can see it in the way others pass by us, the looks we get. You can see it in the harmful words they say. And you can even see it in the layout of the land. USC’s campus and the city of Columbia is notorious for insufficient parking. But none of that compares to insufficient handicap parking. Some buildings have one space in front of the building, causing us to fight for it when the lot is full and the metered spots are taken. I am in the Civil Engineering building a lot this semester, making it the prime example. A handicap spot—the ideal—is directly in front of the building next to the ramp. There are some located at the bottom of the hill; but as someone who uses a walker, it does not ease the pain and the fatigue caused from the extra strenuous activity needed to venture another 50 feet.