When you’re in a wheelchair, despite there being many alternatives around for you to be able to get out do some hobbies, sometimes they just don’t cut the mustard. You may have this sense of not really feeling the experience in the way you may have done before becoming a wheelchair user. It can feel like you’re not fully immersed in the event or activity. For example, at a big concert, I’m sat in a designated area for access and this could either be a spacious row amongst the rest of the crowd. But with nothing close in front or behind, one can feel a little out of the atmosphere. Or, at outside gigs, you’re sat on a raised platform – again, fantastic that you have a clear view but it does make you feel rather conspicuous and self conscious about dancing with everyone else; this was never more true than at a Prodigy gig I went to at MK Bowl. The whole place went crazy dancing and I just didn’t feel a part of the crowd. As it wasn’t about seeing a fab production and ogling at your idol, I decided I’d rather be down on the floor, missing the spectacle as it were, but just going mad with everyone else, feeding off the energy of the crowd.
Something I have done recently which certainly allowed me to fully engage and experience it without feeling that something was missing, was driving sports cars. I’m a complete tomboy when it comes to cars, knowing intricate details about spec and performance. As I cannot stand at all, I always thought I’d have trouble getting into such a low ride but when a friend bought me a supercar experience for my birthday, I thought by hook or by crook, I am getting into those cars! Fortunately, as I can move my legs, I can use a normal automatic car, but I’m pleased to say the company also offered adaptations for those who needed push/pull handles for the brake and accelerator. I was the happiest person ever to be whizzing around the track in a Lamborghini and Audi R8. I felt just like everyone else having a track day. Ok, the elegance and dignity didn’t last when it came to getting me out of the Lambo with the instructor and my personal assistant both pushing and grabbing at my clothes to heave me out of the car – couldn’t be doing that outside a swanky Monaco hotel..
Another friend recently let me drive his Jaguar F-Type. What a treat that was, and again I was buzzing from the freedom of doing something that didn’t make me think ‘if only I wasn’t in a wheelchair..’ .