Spain still thinks I’m 12

Last year I wrote about my frequent conflicts with purchasing alcohol in Spain and naively thought growing a beard would be enough to make things easier. Well, it doesn’t.

I swear there’s this universal law within Spanish hotels where you cannot trust disabled people or their families to know whether alcohol is safe for said disabled person to consume.

I was in this really nice hotel for a week in January and for every evening meal we’d order a bottle of wine. I shit you not when I say every single day we’d have to tell the waitresses that I needed a glass too, and no I didn’t want fucking water I wanted wine.

This still remains one of my biggest pet peeves with having a disability. It’s so hard to feel like an adult badass. Hell, just feeling like an adult would be nice. Spain obviously has problems when it comes to disability. They build drop curbs opposite high pavements. I got a photo at a Spanish zoo only to realise after purchasing it that the photographer had awkwardly tried to crop out my wheelchair via photoshop.

Attitudes in the UK are better on an accessibility level but still generally shitty when it comes to the social side of things. The other day I was at a club when these two smartly dressed women sat nearby. My eternally optimistic brain thought, I wonder? They put me off in about 0.6 seconds: “Aw, what’s his name?” They were actually there to chat up my carer.

What I try to do nowadays is visit places where people are more likely to be open and semi-intelligent – theatres, talks, hippy festivals, disability sports… Oh dear I’m struggling to think of more.

I don’t know. I keep returning to this topic, don’t I? The topic of “People generally suck.” I keep yearning for a world where there is no need to feel discomfort or uncertainty towards disability. One issue I have with Britain is that people seem hung-up on what is and isn’t an appropriate thing to say and do. Unless you’re close friends, few people are open to discussing sensitive topics – sex, the legality of certain drugs, immigration, Islam (although slagging off Jesus is fine.) This bleeds into a nervy approach to disability. What should you do? What mustn’t you say? Etc.

Meh, whatever. I have some friends. I have some acquaintances. It’d be cool to have more discussion with strangers, though. And it’d be brilliant if I could buy wine in Spain without getting dirty looks.


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