Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Post: Carl Thompson

Thanks to Carl for his continuing insights on everyday happenings....

Bouncers Can Be Friendly, Or Extremely Stupid

Most people my age hate bouncers and security guards. Reasons being they supposedly often enjoy spoiling a good night out, or are quite lecherous when there is a pretty lady nearby. From a disability perspective however, bouncers often transform themselves from a cold and indifferent human fun preventing barrier, to an overly protective and overzealous bodyguard of the cripple in a wheelchair.

The reason why I am writing this post is because yesterday I had an amusing bouncer experience. I was convinced by my friend Andrew to travel to the gambling area of a traditional pub post meal. It's not normally my scene, because I like spending my money rather than giving away. Excuse me, what was I saying again?

Oh yes, the bouncer. When we arrived in the pokies area Andrew was asked for his ID. Upon presentation of his ID, the bouncer did not address me, but addressed Andrew instead whilst pointing at me and said “He’s over 18 right? I suppose you wouldn't be volunteering and looking after him if he wasn't.” The bouncer then walked away. If anyone was volunteering in this situation it was me, because Andrew was spending my money on those stupid skill games that occasionally cough up lame prizes for copious amounts of cash. In this case, the bouncer was most definitely an idiot.

On another occasion I once had a bouncer who ordered my friends and I to travel up and down the same step on four separate occasions in the one night, without realising that it is extremely dangerous to try to lift my to 200kg electric wheelchair up a step, no matter how small it is. By the fourth time I asked him to help, and when we finally reached the top of the step I ‘accidentally’ gave his shins a (more than) slight nudge.

I find it quite amusing, contrary to my two experiences above, in most cases they love me! I can remember when I once entered the front door of a concert venue and a bouncer spotted me, he put his hands up signalling me to stop. It was frightening! Luckily for me, he wasn't about to throw me out, he was acting as my own personal chaperone and clearing a path through the inebriated crowd!

In theory, this is a good thing. It definitely made it easy to get a good position at the venue. But if you think about it more, it is preferential treatment. I really don't want preferential treatment, just as I don't want to be treated in a traditionally negative discriminatory way.

Whilst I say that I don't want any discrimination, even if that discrimination is positive, I have to admit that I am not being entirely truthful. I certainly appreciated the bouncer who helped my friends and I into the Big Day Out by circumventing the line that would have taken an hour to reach the front of. That is certainly okay by me!

My favourite bouncer definitely has to be my Caribbean friend. Every day when I was working in the city I drove my wheelchair past this six-foot six mammoth of a man. He was a friendly chap, and we had some strange conversations. I once asked him if he was ever bored just sitting there for eight hours a day ushering people into his place of work. His response amused me, (cue West Indian accent) “No bro, I am a positive thinker, standing here is an opportunity, an opportunity to talk to so many pretty ladies, and bro, believe me, My oh my! There sure is some mighty fine ladies ‘round these parts!”

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