E. Going out
There is no reason you can’t go out as much as you want with your friends and colleagues, just like anybody else. In Australia where I live, and a bit less so elsewhere, most though not all venues are accessible. If a place seems inaccessible it is usually worth ringing them up to check, as they often have a special way in that is not obvious from the outside.
I still go out a lot and always have from day one as a quad. As I get older my tastes, interests and income have changed so the places I go have changed. I know go to bars and restaurants and shows whereas I used to go to pubs and music and dance more often, but I still go out.
It can be easier to go out with friends and colleagues, or attend social events, if you become one of the chief organisers in your friendship group. That way when its time to go out people naturally look to you to nominate venues etc. This means you get to pick the accessible ones right from the start. As a result you have fewer awkward moments of either not attending because the venue is inaccessible, or asking the organiser to rearrange everything after its already been set up.
This approach might not suit everyone. In my case it has meant I have had to learn some organisational skills, develop some judgement about what people like and don’t like, and keep my finger on the pulse of what new events and venues are happening. This means subscribing to various sources of info about places and also making phone calls about accessibility, and sometimes going to places to check them out before arranging to take a group there. It works for me, so if you are like me it might work for you. There are some links to sites in the expert section that give info on venues.
Very crowded venues can be intimidating. However there is one technique I found that is extremely helpful. Often in crowded venues you need to get from one place to another through the crowd, for example to get to the bar, to the toilet, to the band or to reach your friends. This can seem impossible but with this technique it becomes easy.
I start moving slowly in to the crowd, when I reach someone who doesn’t move I reach out and touch their elbow, they usually look around then down at me, I say excuse me, or gesture if its noisy, and they move. This starts a wave through the crowd and people start shuffling aside to make a path. Each time a person doesn’t notice I touch their elbow etc.
I have found that the elbow is the only body part for with which this works really well. If you touch them anywhere else they either don’t notice, or think its rude or look around but not down and don’t see you and don’t move. In contrast the elbow works so well that I now lead my friends through crowds rather than getting them to clear the way.
Be warned though, it does not work in super crowded places because people physically can’t move enough to let a chair through, even if they want to. So avoid those places or stay on the fringe of the crowds if you do go.
CLICK HERE for a you tube of a guy moving through a crowd in a night club. Its very much like my experience, usually few problems.
I’m not sure I would recommend this approach to crowd management
It might end up like this
Here’s what the experts say
CLICK HERE for a report from a wheelchair user who goes to big music festivals
CLICK HERE for concrete playground which is the main source of info I use on venues in Sydney, because it includes accessibility info. There are global ones like trip advisor, urban spoon and time out that all have lots of info about what is out there and contact details, as does google maps itself, but they don’t necessarily have info on accessibility.
Rule number 5 – Regret is pointless.