Saturday, August 6, 2011

Utopian Daydream

I can’t stop having this idea.

I keep this idea close to my chest and don’t show it to many people because I haven’t indulged in this degree of idealism in probably years.

My mom used to work as an occupational therapist. When I ask her about it, she tells me, “Everyone can do something.” My dad used to be a Marxist; he is fond of quoting “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” Disabled people have a lot of needs. We also have a lot of abilities. So here’s my idea: disabled people living together as each other’s support staff. Get a group together, and see if everyone giving what they can means everyone gets what they need.

It might work something like this: maybe you would wake me up in the morning and make sure I got showered and dressed and then I would cook us breakfast or help someone else take a bath. If I can’t drive, maybe someone gives me a ride to work and if someone else can’t talk, I could make their phone calls and if you can’t lift your arms, maybe they could do your dishes. I proofread your emails. You help me with my taxes. We lend and borrow spoons. We fill in the gaps.

Would we still feel "broken" if the pieces all fit together?


  1. Yes, I have already thought about that since some time now.
    If we could organize it and do it, it would maybe finally make one of our best argument against those who pretends that it would be impossible to make sure that the society can't provide everyone all the accomodations they need.
    But first we would have to find the good number of disabled persons who believe in it and have all sorts of impairment and are classified all differently in the "severtity" scale...
    People who believe it is possible, people who aren't horrified to be put with "these" persons, and people who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to make the choices they want and the power to make this one.
    The thing is I am sure it is possible to do it, I'm certain that there are no excuses to not make the world a more accessible place, nad that even without the people who are classified as non-disabled we could do it (though it would be difficult in the beggining and would require a high level of organisation... after that I think it would work.

  2. What a gorgeous idea. My daughter is only 8 but she has an amazing capacity to make people smile because of the way that she is so excited by little things. I tried to sign her up to volunteer in a nursing home because where else would you find so many people who need a reason to smile? She'd be an amazing volunteer because she loves ALL mobility devices and has no hesitation to caress a wrinkled or disfigured face. But disabled nonverbal autistic 8 year olds don't fit onto any nursing home volunteer job description. We have such a strange either/or mentality about disability. Either you are abled and therefore useful and contributing or you are disabled and therefore useless and you need help but, by definition, you can't provide it. No gray area. No room to be both.

  3. I love your blog. Either all of us or none of us ("disabled" or no, "neurotypical" or no) are broken. My partner is on the spectrum. I am not. She does the planning and organizing (and getting me up in the morning). I do more of the people-talking and pushing for necessary changes which scare her (like moving out of Washington, DC to Colorado where we both know we would be much happier).

    She is not broken. I am not broken. And you are not broken.