What To Say When A Biped Asks Why You Can’t Walk On Yr Feet Legs, And Other Awkward Questions

Q:

“What happened to you?”
“What happened to your legs?”
“What’s wrong with your legs?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s the [mobility aid] for?”
“What’s with the [mobility aid]?”
“What did you do to land yourself in that thing?”
“Permanent or temporary?”
“So… car accident?”
Etc

A:

  1. “Termites”
  2. “Nothing happened, I was born and it got worse”
  3. “Why do you ask?” + repeat ad nauseum
  4. “Sorry, didn’t catch that” + repeat ad nauseum
  5. “Me legs just fell off one day” (especially good if you still have legs)
  6.  “Me legs were eaten by sharks” (see above; important to specify that multiple sharks were involved)
  7. “What legs?”
  8. “I don’t like to talk about my medical history”
  9. “I don’t like to talk about my medical history with strangers”
  10. “I don’t like to talk about Fight Club”
  11. “I don’t believe in talking about my medical history before marriage”
  12. “Oh my God, Karen, you can’t just ask someone why they’re disabled”
  13.  “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you”
  14. (to “what’s the stick/cane/crutch/walking frame for”) “For walking”
  15. (to “what’s the [mobility aid] for”) “For mobility”
  16. “That’s a weird question”
  17. “That’s a bit of an intrusive question actually, I’m not comfortable talking about it”
  18. “I know you don’t mean to be rude but that’s a bit of an awkward question and I’d prefer not to answer”
  19. “My parents shagged”
  20. lemon scream
  21. Feign ignorance then look down at your mobility aid & say “oh where did that come from”
  22. “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee”
  23. “What up I’m Jared I’m 19 and I never fucking learned how to walk”
  24.  “BEES?????????”
  25. Just stare at them in silence and then very slowly raise your finger to your lips and say “shhh”
  26. Just stare at them in silence and then very slowly raise your finger to THEIR lips and say “shhh”
  27. “It is what it is”
  28. Just straight up start belting out the 2011 hit single “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
  29. “Tragic drop bear attack”
  30. “Tragic masturbation accident”
  31.  “Oh no this [mobility aid] isn’t mine, I’m just minding it for a friend” + then start laughing but with kind of an edge to it then gradually move away from them while continuing to laugh
  32. “Oh, it’s, um, hmm, long story, I don’t know it’s uhhhhh it’s weird to explain, uh it’s my ? joints ?? it’s ? a genetic thing?? I’m ? connective tissue disorder” (I don’t actually recommend using this one but in the spirit of transparency it is my usual response)

Other good responses

33. “Do you always begin conversations this way?” (via The Princess Bride & this person on Twitter)
34. “Died in the war” (via my mate Paul)
35. “Really bad sex swing accident” (via someone called Lorna)
36. “I don’t like to talk about The Incident” (don’t remember where I heard this one)
37. (re: a prosthetic leg) “I got really into pirates a few years back” (via this person’s dad)
38. (in response to intrusive strangers) “I’m so sorry, obviously we’ve met before but—” sheepish laugh “—I’m afraid I don’t remember your name.” (via this person on Twitter)
39. “I’d rather talk about anything but that.” (via Captain Awkward)
40. add yr own in the comments. Have fun xox

 

QUEERING CRIP, CRIPPING QUEER

QCCQ Cover

Rainbow collection of disability symbols under text reading QUEERING CRIP, CRIPPING QUEER, workshop facilitated by Robin Eames.

I did a workshop today at the University of Queensland for the Queer Collaborations conference, titled QUEERING CRIP, CRIPPING QUEER.

A recording of the workshop is available here (Auslan interpreted) and the slides can be accessed here.

Love & solidarity,
robin

On the movement of bodies, or, the transgender celestial

I have a poem in the latest issue of Voiceworks, #111, Riff. This poem is a lot of things: a love letter, an exercise in surreality, and a conversation between binary and nonbinary forms of trans identity. It draws on ancient Sumerian, Greek, and Egyptian astronomical theories, including those of Anaxagoras, Anaximander, Aristotle, Empedocles, Thales, and Ptolemy.

You can buy the issue here.


 

my body is a disc floating on an endless ocean

gently orbiting the distant island of your body

 

daylight reigns over my body and night over

your body black and absent of suns or stars

 

you are an immense vault studded with tiny

points of perfect light in which i am enclosed

 

the surface of my skin is much colder than

yours which is formed out of blazing metal

 

your body is a binary system while my body

continues to resist all binary classification

 

i am growing into a great old oak tree whose

questing branches twine around and into you

 

my body is no longer capable of sustaining life

and yet is still capable of sustaining your body

 

i retain my own field of gravity which is several

times heavier than the lighter gravity you exude

 

i am suspended in endless space watching you

plummet inevitably into a vast and infinite void

 

your body is a chariot wheel of mist-shrouded

fire encircling the hollow cylinder of my body

 

my body revolves not around the sun as initially

thought but in fact revolves around your body

 

the death of my body approaches rapidly but i

have every hope that your body will live forever

 

i am constructed from four elements while you

are formed of a single fifth and mythic element

 

you are a quintessence of luminiferous aether and

i simply consist of classical earth air water and fire

 

your existence is a scientific marvel while i am

considered to be a mathematical impossibility

 

my body is doubted by philosophers of antiquity

whose texts questioned the veracity of your body

 

unbeknown to many my body is not a flawless

sphere like yours but rather very slightly elliptical

 

Accessibility

A couple of people have noted that they’re having difficulty reading my posts because of the lack of contrast. The font, colour, and contrast settings on my site are based on my own access needs (I’m photosensitive and prone to migraines), but if you would like to read my posts in higher contrast with a dark font on light background, you can do so at the WordPress reader here.

I’m going to ask around and see if I know anyone who can help me sort out website toggles for colour, contrast, and font size, because multimodal access is important!

Love & solidarity
robin