Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Excuses

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Please read this and sit with it for a while. Discrimination happens every minute of every day and takes all forms and attitudes. This is just one kind of prejudicial behavior and when it happens, it is humiliating.

On Friday March 22, 2013 at approximately 4 PM I called a taxi to 300 Hamilton Avenue in White Plains and was refused service by the taxi driver. I believe the refusal was because I am blind and use a guide dog. The driver pulled up to the curb and rolled down his window, asking if I called a taxi; I nodded yes. When I turned to pick up my bag and tell my guide dog to take me to the taxi, the driver pulled away, leaving me at the curb. I called back the cab company, Intrepid, told them what happened and they apologized and sent another driver.

Since I do have about 5% of my vision left, I could tell it was a white cab with a dark line along it. There is no doubt in my mind, after going over the series of actions that I was definitely refused service. But since I can’t see details, I couldn’t see the cab number to file a complaint.

Consequently,, I did my due diligence and called Intrepid, asking for the driver’s name and operator’s number but was put off twice, being asked to called back and when I did call back, I was told they “had to look into” who it was driving that day. As of the writing of this letter I have not been provided this information, which is another form of service refusal. If I were a customer with vision, I could have seen who the driver was and gotten the cab number but because I can’t I am at a disadvantage and cannot obtain any useful information to lodge a complaint.

Blind customers face this type of situation each and every day. We are at the mercy of ignorant and discriminatory attitudes even though we work, pay our taxes and deserve the same treatment as our sighted coworkers, friends and neighbors.

As of this writing I’ve been made to wait after booking a trip ahead of time the following week. When I called to say I was still waiting 15 minutes after the scheduled pick up, the dispatcher sounded surprised. When I said I booked the trip through the contract via our county’s new taxi program for people with disabilities, the dispatcher again sounded surprised. Then she said that the guide dog wasn’t on the pick up sheet and that was why I didn’t get picked up. I thought, what the heck does that mean? I said to her that I did tell them the day before, twice, in fact and that they can’t keep doing this to me, it’s illegal and wrong.

So, now we’ll see if I can get any kind of cooperation from them. Being at their mercy like this is infuriating. Shame on them for treating me (or anyone else) like this.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Success at last

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At Last, Success

I haven’t written in a while due to many factors, the most telling being Dad’s death. I’ve just felt kind of blah, a bit unmotivated and a little weepy. Writing about Dad helps tremendously and I will post another reflective piece soon. Until it’s finished, though, I want to share a most excellent news bite: the technology barrier that existed to take the  marriage and therapy professional exam has been resolved. Yes, after two years of my letters, email, and phone calls falling upon deaf ears, the Empire State finally got the news that I was a victim of discrimination. In one week after the  new deputy director heard of my situation, she flicked a magic wand and `poof!` the laptop, standard keyboard  and screen reading software  magically appeared.  I was suddenly a hot item and received calls from the State as well as the testing proctors, who outdid one another with profuse apologies. I imagine they might have bowed and kissed my slippers if not for the contact being performed via the phone lines.

 

Anyway, the person who stuck with me and pushed was a State employee and for whom I owe this success. Brian Daniels, I love you.

 

Moving forward, I have registered and paid the $245 for the exam coming up in May/June. I can’t wait to get this all behind me. It’s been  six years since I graduated with a master’s in the field of marriage and family therapy and over ten years since I first decided to pursue a license-eligible profession. It shouldn’t have taken this long but this is water under the bridge.

 

What have I learned? I learned not to give up or give in, to not lose hope even when things seemed to be a dead end. Once I pass the exam, I will go to the next logical career move, becoming a certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor. Then, maybe a Ph.D. I am looking into programs now and will continue to research my options and shoot for a 2014 enrollment.

Next Try

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Frustration

 

Well,  in my last email I tried to attach an audio file about getting inked but it isn’t working. So, back to the more traditional way of blogging. J

 

Some of you might know that I’ve been going to the gym;making a change like this has been challenging for me. One reason is the transportation. I have to use our para transit service since the gym best suited for a blind person and a guide dog is over ten miles away and not easily reached with a regular public bus. More on this later on in another blog.

 

Next is the lifestyle change and scheduling. I tried one schedule and it felt like I was never home and always on a freakin’ short bus. Last week I switched things around and I’m working on a Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday schedule, which seems to be better. Just getting in the third day is a success for me, too. I was really avoiding it but now it seems to give me a boost energy wise and I don’t feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone’s Alternative Realm of Short Bus Travelers.

 

As for the weight loss, since I have this fear of weigh-ins due to crippling depression when I disappoint myself, I have chosen inches and instead am finding success in how my cclothes are fitting, etc. I have a weigh-in with my doctor later this month and that will be the first time in four months I will be revealing to myself if all this work has even made any difference in terms of my weight. I am metabolically challenged and I haven’t yet come to terms with it. . Changing my eating habits have been even more difficult. I’ve managed to cut down on portion sizes but I still have intense cravings during hormonal cycles, etc.

 

Anyway, all in all, I feel much better and hope that the summer gives me that extra boost of energy.

 

As for this blog and some of the blank posts, I’m trying to add a plug in for audio files via drop box and hope the webmaster and I can figure it out. For now, I’ll keep trying to post text and see what happens.

 

 

Frustration

 

Well,  in my last email I tried to attach an audio file about getting inked but it isn’t working. So, back to the more traditional way of blogging. J

 

Some of you might know that I’ve been going to the gym;making a change like this has been challenging for me. One reason is the transportation. I have to use our para transit service since the gym best suited for a blind person and a guide dog is over ten miles away and not easily reached with a regular public bus. More on this later on in another blog.

 

Next is the lifestyle change and scheduling. I tried one schedule and it felt like I was never home and always on a freakin’ short bus. Last week I switched things around and I’m working on a Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday schedule, which seems to be better. Just getting in the third day is a success for me, too. I was really avoiding it but now it seems to give me a boost energy wise and I don’t feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone’s Alternative Realm of Short Bus Travelers.

 

As for the weight loss, since I have this fear of weigh-ins due to crippling depression when I disappoint myself, I have chosen inches and instead am finding success in how my cclothes are fitting, etc. I have a weigh-in with my doctor later this month and that will be the first time in four months I will be revealing to myself if all this work has even made any difference in terms of my weight. I am metabolically challenged and I haven’t yet come to terms with it. . Changing my eating habits have been even more difficult. I’ve managed to cut down on portion sizes but I still have intense cravings during hormonal cycles, etc.

 

Anyway, all in all, I feel much better and hope that the summer gives me that extra boost of energy.

 

As for this blog and some of the blank posts, I’m trying to add a plug in for audio files via drop box and hope the webmaster and I can figure it out. For now, I’ll keep trying to post text and see what happens.

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Permalink

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Incidental, Accidental, Whatever

 

I love vacationing mostly because it’s always an adventure. I get stuck in a rut living and working doing the same thing and breaking away is gratifying. Okay, there are hiccups along the way but that is to be expected, right?

 

After planning my trip, I called the motel I usually frequent in Saratoga California. Surprise, the renovations weren’t completed and they don’t have rooms. Frustrated, I go to plan B and find another motel in the area and book it, annoyed that I am paying $20 more a night for an older and less stellar lodging. But, hey, it is pet friendly, has a free buffet breakfast every morning and is in downtown Campbell near all the restaurants.

 

My flight is uneventful and we arrive at the motel, check in and I collapse after being reunited with family.  It’s a large motel with 200 rooms, amenities and best of all; I am only a few hundred feet from the dog walking area. It’s decent but in need of updating. The furniture and beds are from the last Century and it takes me and BFF Myla three days to get used to the old, paddle like springboard we must sleep upon.

The food is great and the coffee is even better, so it negated the bouncy beds. We finally get the refrigerator fixed and then the TV volume fixed. I’m not sure I’m letting that go, mostly because one thing is forgiven but two items that should be working weren’t and I really hated those beds so I think I will write them a letter.

But how we enjoyed the weather, the family, the organic food! I tried a new wine from Cupcake Vineyards in Napa Valley. Very tasty. I also got happy over being able to find one of my favorite beers, Fat Tire in the market and enjoyed that, too. We ate a great pizzeria and another organic cafeteria which I wish we had in New York. Sigh.

 

The inking experience was great and we got great tattoos and great pricing. The more business you bring them, the lower the prices on your own ink. Cool.

Verona played in the dog park, scarfed too much at my sister’s and had to be supervised after a day of loose stool.

Mom rescued a lost dog that almost ran into traffic and got hit. I felt like I was in the Matrix movie, the feeling of degas vu came over me when she jumped out of the car and grabbed him before he got hurt. Two years ago she did the same thing for another dog.  I told that little dog that his angel was named Mary and if he found his owners, they had my mother to thank. I didn’t know she could move that fast, either. Adrenaline is a super drug when you need it.

This is the best part of Mom’s selflessness when it comes to animals: she left her purse in the shopping cart at the next stop and when we rode back to find out if it was still there, thankfully the parking lot attendant had placed it safely in the hands of the front desk. All Moms’ cards were in it and so was the$20 I’d given her. We agreed that the safe return of her purse was recompense for saving that little dog.

I often wonder what Verona thinks; as she watches everything we do and is allowed to go unobserved in many human social interactions. Is she thinking that the little terrier  is a lucky dog? Is she thinking that the double bed isn’t big enough for the two of us? One night she tried to roll onto her back and ended up on the floor. Another thing she does is lay in the corner under the desk in the hotel room.  We also played bed jump to give her some play time in the room when it rained. She loved that one, springing from one bed to the other across the gap between them. Most of all, though, Myla and I loved her up, shared the space and liked her snuggling when it got cold at night.

 

The next adventure is in August and a few short trips in between. All in all, a great time with my family and my BFF.

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Success at Last!

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At Last, Success

I haven’t written in a while due to many factors, the most telling being Dad’s death. I’ve just felt kind of blah, a bit unmotivated and a little weepy. Writing about Dad helps tremendously and I will post another reflective piece soon. Until it’s finished, though, I want to share a most excellent news bite: the technology barrier that existed to take the  marriage and therapy professional exam has been resolved. Yes, after two years of my letters, email, and phone calls falling upon deaf ears, the Empire State finally got the news that I was a victim of discrimination. In one week after the  new deputy director heard of my situation, she flicked a magic wand and `poof!` the laptop, standard keyboard  and screen reading software  magically appeared.  I was suddenly a hot item and received calls from the State as well as the testing proctors, who outdid one another with profuse apologies. I imagine they might have bowed and kissed my slippers if not for the contact being performed via the phone lines.

 

Anyway, the person who stuck with me and pushed was a State employee and for whom I owe this success. Brian Daniels, I love you.

 

Moving forward, I have registered and paid the $245 for the exam coming up in May/June. I can’t wait to get this all behind me. It’s been  six years since I graduated with a master’s in the field of marriage and family therapy and over ten years since I first decided to pursue a license-eligible profession. It shouldn’t have taken this long but this is water under the bridge.

 

What have I learned? I learned not to give up or give in, to not lose hope even when things seemed to be a dead end. Once I pass the exam, I will go to the next logical career move, becoming a certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor. Then, maybe a Ph.D. I am looking into programs now and will continue to research my options and shoot for a 2014 enrollment.

 

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0
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