I have been running.
Now I know I also talked about what it was like to talk about running in my last post, but back then I was running ironically and laughing about it later with my friends at the hipster bar. Now I am running “in earnest”, which is more time consuming and less popular in Brooklyn.
Speaking of my running:
Today my roommate Andy, friend Kelsey, ex-tutor Serena, and muse Gristle and I went to see part of the Para Asian Games, the second in the Pair o’ Asian Games that our fair city has hosted these few weeks.
The opening ceremony of the Para (short, I believe for paratrooper) Asian Games was held last night, so there was a picture on the front page of the Guangzhou Daily, my perennial journalistic hobby-horse which I oft fain ride like the piece of shit it is.
This is the climax of the ceremony: the lighting of the torch by two disabled athletes engaged what picnic or carnival organizers might jocularly term a “two-legged race”. They’re carrying the Flame of Asia (or, whatever) to the torch. Incidentally, the torch is at the top of a flight of stairs. Incidentally, they’re both missing legs.
Apparently Guangzhou’s commitment to organizing a “barrier-free games” did not extend to the opening ceremony, which — and I’m just going off the picture here, so bear with me — appears to have possessed certain architectural features which I would term “non-accessible”. For instance, off the top of my head: instead of of a ramp with slope at most 1:12, the opening ceremony grounds appear to have 15 large stairs. Perhaps the organizers did not realize that the opening ceremony might involve people for whom climbing 20 vertical feet up a stone wall might be difficult.
A page called Facing the Challenge from wheelmeon.org notes,
people with physical disabilities…typically have personal challenges to contend with daily….Our challenges come in all shapes, sizes, and when least expected [, such as at the opening ceremony of a game dedicated to providing opportunities for disabled athletes].
Sadly, it appears the “normal” population lacks awareness, and that society has two problems: 1) Providing services for patrons that use wheelchairs and 2) [they build huge flights of stairs and ask one-legged people to climb them for sport. They don’t even let us use prosthetic legs or anything.]
By the way, the large Chinese characters next to the photo say “CLIMBING DREAMS”. No. False. They are not climbing dreams. They are climbing stairs. Large, precarious, uneven stairs.
Anyway, today I et al. went to see the Para Asian Games and cheer on the noble paratrooper athletes as they tried to play games meant for normal people unscarred by the wrath of god’s arbitrary whim. We got to the stadium and there was a big to-do about tickets and scalpers and Serena called the police but despite that breathtaking summary it wasn’t very interesting overall and eventually we got into the main stadium, where a badminton match was already in full swing.
And you know what? They weren’t even that disabled. I mean, not at all. How’s that for a buzz kill? If I go to the Para Asian Games, I expect to see blind people on the floor, man, like in goal ball, so that when I watch them I can see their tragic nobility and undaunted spirit.
I mean, one of the ladies we saw play was missing a foot. A foot. That’s nothing. Get in the real Asian Games. You’re basically complete. There was also a competitor whom none of us could detect any problem with. She appeared to have all her legs and hands, and that’s basically it for badminton.
Gristle’s opinion, while we were leaving: “maybe she didn’t have eyes.”