Often I meet people for appointments all over town. Sometimes it is food courts in middle class suburbs, sometimes is cool cafes in hip parts of town. Recently I have noticed a trend. I was sitting waiting to meet someone in the food court of a tired, middle class, suburban mall, when I looked up and did a scan of the occupants of the foodcourt, there was an extremely high percentage of people who were disabled. I noticed a number of carers as well, helping and feeding their disabled relatives/friends/spouses. A few days after, I was again waiting for someone for an appointment, this time however I was in a hip, inner city yuppy/bohemian cafe zone. The main street was being used as a kind of open air catwalk by impossibly attractive and painfully cool males and females, who were out to mix haute couture with buying their everyday groceries. As I looked through the forest of legs clad in designer jeans, I struggled to see one disabled person. I guess they were picking up an unwritten message that the hip and non disabled were not – “stay away!”.
I have been on planes coming into my city where visitors are encouraged to visit Melbourne’s faux bohemain precincts, such is our culture’s worship of commerce and cool. I bet they will never encourage overseas visitors to go out and drink in the sights of the mall where the disabled people feel comfortable.