Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 08 – “I’m sipping a nice merlot” “No you aren’t! If you were, I would be too!” “…touche…”

A common theme is beginning to form on these blog posts–getting up early in the morning and me reminiscing about sleep-ins past. Like most days this trip, we were up at an early (read: reasonable time for anyone else in the world with an iota of responsibility) to set off on a day of several important missions of the political and domestic nature.

We started the day out at Leeanna Pendergrast’s constituency office to sit down and chat with Lisa Littlefield, a woman who works closely with Leeanne. This was a really good meeting–I had a great time talking to Lisa. Lisa was one of those political-type women who aren’t into the silly business–with surgical precision she cut deep into the issue, found out what she needed to know, asked how she could help, and started developing strategies to solve these problems. We need more people (women in general, perhaps) like this in politics! The meeting was good and we’ve developed some firm actions to move forward. I found myself leaving this meeting totally energized and full of ideas–I’m cookin’ up some doozies we’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks that are sure to add a bit more excitement to an already interesting trip.

After chatting with Lisa we got down to business–we got a cup of Starbucks Expresso in Sam (it’s her “Function Juice,” she runs better with a couple litres in her) and sought out a Laundromat and Internet cafe. I know…I somehow had forgotten the whole “have to clean your clothing or you run out of clean clothing to wear…” thing. That whole “week into the trip” thing kinda snuck up on me and I was definitely on my last pair of clean underwear. Strangely enough there just happened to be a Laundromat just down the street from Leeanna’s office–perfect, finally Ms. Thatcher led us somewhere profitable! After getting the laundry started we set off for downtown to seek out some high speed internets to upload our first vlog. Unfortunately, there are no listed Internet Cafe’s in our GPS and the Gaming Cafe we had seen across the street from the City Hall has been closed down…dang!

Since the Internet search was looking like a bit of a strike-out we decided instead to walk down to Karen Redman, Kitchener Centre MP, constituency office, which is also located near Kitchener City Hall. Unfortunately, Karen wasn’t in her office today and wouldn’t be back in town until Friday, at which point I will be enroute to Hamilton), but the woman at the desk seemed interested in what I’m up to and said she would see about getting Karen to give me a call sometime this week–fingers are crossed. Having said that, this seems to be a pretty good way of getting the attention of MPs and MPPs–simply show up at their constituency office and start talking…you never know where it might land you!

After this excitement and finishing up our Laundry, including having an employee of the Laundromat give us the creepiest stare through the front window of the shop as we loaded up into the van and drove off, we decided it was about time to restock on some essential food products. The Zehrs trip was pretty uneventful, except that a telepathic link is beginning to form between Sam and Pete…it’s kinda scary. Pete and I were literally across the grocery store gabbing and Pete mentioned that we should pick up some disposable cutlery. Literally 5 minutes later Sam returns from her mission to find a bag of salad holding a box of disposable cutlery, saying “Hey guess what we should get today too?” Scary.

This afternoon was a lot quieter, although quite productive. We all broke off into individual tasks that needed doing–Pete finished booking the rest of our hotels, Sam took on the media and I worked on setting up some more political meetings along the way. Between cavorting with the media, Sam and I decided it would be kind of cool if I set off from Kitchener City Hall on the next leg of our trip, something that will involve some police escort through the city. After being bounced around about a million different departments, and an officer asking Sam about how many bicyclists would be involved in the event (clearly someone wasn’t listening too closely), we finally got…okay…well…an uncertain but possibly positive response from the Waterloo Region Police. The official word is that because we aren’t going to pay for the escort (shocking, I know) they cannot guarantee that an escort will be available. Sooooo, we’re apparently suppose to just leave it up to fate and hope for the best that we’ll have a cruiser helping us through the city…otherwise, this trip could get a little more interesting as I fight my way from City Hall to the City Limits by myself. We’ll see what happens. Suddenly Kitchener could look a lot like LA in the Future…which would make me Kurt Russell. Hrm, thinks may be looking up after all! Chicks dig Kurt Russell, don’t they?
Tomorrow boasts another busy morning so I should be getting off to bed. I’ve now made it two days in a row without a nap! Look mom, I’m a big boy now! Bright and early we’re giving a presentation at Mary Johnson Public School, followed by a Meet and Greet at the Scotia Bank in lovely downtown Kitchener (64 King St West). So if you’re downtown, come on in to the Scotia Bank between 11am-Noon and say hello!

And now….we sleep!

– Jeff

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.