Disability and Your Neighbors

I walk in my local neighborhood where my neighbors know I’m blind. They like me. They know all about my dog. In a perfectly decent way they think I’m kind of cool. Not in a pitying way, or a telethon way—“he’s so inspiring”—but because I’m another person they know who’s taking on the world.

This is what connects us. It’s solid. Meaningful. I like to call it “the good glue of existence”– a phrase from the Finnish-American poet Anselm Hollo. Glue. Neighborliness. Shared ambition. Curiosity about others. Appreciation.

When I contend with academic conferences that don’t like disability, or don’t admit they’ve a problem with it, I’m mindful that these are the missing ingredients: Neighborliness. Shared ambition. Curiosity about others. Appreciation.

I’d rather walk my own neighborhood than attend your average university conference.

Why the diff?

Because neighbors see in one another the local, the real, the collective.

Academic conferences, all of them, see the future perfect.

No one lives in the FP.

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