All Aboard! Public Transportation

Users of public transportation know what a pain it is to get on that bus or subway car during rush hour. So when you take-up space for at least two people, can't get to the allotted 'Wheelchair Seating Area' because of the miles of bags and jackets in between, and you're trying to avoid the glares from accidentally nipping his & hers fancy work shoes with your four wheels -- I am going to argue that it's an above average pain.

If there is one thing that I strongly dislike about being in a wheelchair, it's that I can't stand being a logistical hassle. As a personal preference (that has nothing to do with being disabled) I like when things are efficient and user-friendly... so before I start sounding like an ad for the latest Apple product, let's just say that commuting on public transportation and other daily-life accommodations are usually less than hassle-free.
It makes my stomach turn. I am fervently hoping that I will magically evaporate into thin air. And I pretty much just avoid all eye-contact while listening intently for someone to say "could you move out of the way?!"
But I am beginning to do it enough that the city-life attitude has been rubbing on to me. That air of 'get-out-of-my-way-I-have-places-to-be-and-things-to-do-ten-minutes-ago,' and when people strut off the subway platforms and plow through to the exit doors - I have gotten good at zooming in and out of open pockets of space in the crowds. Eyes straight ahead, ear buds in, hand on the joystick and I will dare anyone in their best business suit to even try to cut me off. Save yourself the crushed toes and just don't.

Here's the thing though, there really is no reason anyone should feel embarrassed, guilty, or like it's a hassle because you're holding up the subway car so the conductor can figure out how to deploy the lift. Glare straight back at the impatient passengers who are pleading with their eyes "oh my god, seriously, why am I stuck on the train with the wheelchair person taking forever?!" Because the fact remains that you are not taking forever. The conductor who should know his or her job is taking forever to figure out how to get the lift working.
Also it's public transportation! Just because we are genetic mutants or minorities, or have been given medical labels like "rare disease" - doesn't make our position in the public any less valid. There is no membership card needed to be a part of the public. You exist and you live in that community, you are the public. Our four wheels is just as deserving of that commuter rail ride as the person on two legs. The time it takes for us to roll on to the platform and watch the massive wave of feet shuffle over, should be just as expected as when someone rushes through the closing doors to squeeze onto that bloated train.

One morning I waited on the platform, dressed for work and prepared for a presentation I had to give at one of those meetings with donuts & coffee on the back table. The train pulled into the station, the crowd got on and I wasn't aggressive enough - and realized dishearteningly that it'd be better for me to wait for the next train. (I had a presentation to give, I didn't want to risk a broken nose because the morning commuters had elbowed me in the face).

"Hey are you getting on? There's space." A guy called to me from the still opened doors. There wasn't actually space, but he was gesturing for people to squish into the center of the train.
I eye-balled the area that was steadily getting larger with every step inwards from casual-dress shoes and high heels. The doors would be closed any second and I had to make a decision. Would I get on? Would I wait for the next train?
"C'mon, c'mon, we've made space. We can all get to work on time!" 

I took a deep breath in and thought here we go, let's do this! 

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