Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Gorilla is Quite Tame

I've been browsing the posts of the Blogging Against Disablism Day 2009, and one of the most interesting things I came across was a link from the 2008 day, The Gorilla in Your House, which was an extended comparison between living with a disability and living with a 200kg primate.

A gorilla-housemate is a nice analogy for the way I've been trying to think about disability and its expression as unpredictability. How the normal course of affairs can be suddenly derailed - how a car or a person or a crack in the pavement in the wrong place might throw everything off balance. Sharing one's life with a gorilla means taking a rather short term view of the world, a view in which one does not know what is around the next corner and whether it will be surmountable. If you have a body that has a fragile relationship with the world and itself then there are a large number of things that one cannot take for granted, and that one cannot predict.

Everything has an upside, of course. There are many trivial challenges - trivial in the sense of a small step, but a small step can be a big problem - trivial challenges of, say, a toilet I don't know whether I'll be able to stand up from. But facing down these challenges can, on a good day, make one feel like an absolute champion. 'Disability is an art. It is an ingenious way to live' [via] and it comes with its own private celebrations of athleticism and cunning.

Also, it's not surprising that gorillas make for good rock music: Spasticus Autisticus from Ian Dury; 'as I walk past your window give me lucky looks'. [via Floating In space]

4 Comments:

OpenID northlighthero said...

Thanks for this. The Gorilla metaphor seems pretty helpful for us recovering ablists who are trying hard to 'get it.' Sometimes simple aging can be a little like living with a gorilla, too ... but, at least so far (in my case), the old-age gorilla takes extended vacations elsewhere. For which much thanks.

I am delighting in the notion of private celebrations of athleticism and cunning. Indeed everything does have its upside.

May 11, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I enjoyed this blog. It's nice to have a new way to relate things to.

May 15, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger driftwood said...

northlighthero, Megan, thank you both for your comments. (I would have said before, but for laptop-breakage).

p.s. northlighthero, I found the wonderful Object Lesson through your site; much appreciated.

May 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I'm glad you liked it :)

June 23, 2009 at 4:05 AM  

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