Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 14 — No justice, no justice, anywhere…until we put it there!

Before we get into the thick of it, I’ve posted the 2nd video blog of the trip. It can be viewed at:

I shot awake this morning at about 7:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep–I’m getting better at this “getting up early” bulljive! I had my back to the window, but the room was soooo bright I was optimistic that the weatherman had blown the prediction and it turned out to be a nice and sunny day after all! It was at this moment that I remembered I had spent the night in my dad’s condo, which has these massive floor to ceiling windows that literally suck the light in. I swear, his condo is like a tanning salon, even in the middle of the night. I’m not an expert on Black Holes, but I can only imagine that his condo functions on the same principles. So when I rolled over and peaked out the window, I was greeted by some angry looking clouds rolling in over Lake Ontario. Perfect. I’m beginning to think Mother Nature has a really sick sense of humour…maybe I shouldn’t have bought such a goofy looking poncho…perhaps I should invest in a goofy sun hat? Mobilize March sombreros anyone?

So as per usual, Sam went out seeking caffeine, except this time I sent her to grab me a hot chocolate too–I best fortify this frail body against the elements while I can! Well, apparently there was a little translation problem at the local Starbucks and instead of a “Hot Chocolate” they gave Sam a “White Chocolate Mocha,” something Sam scoffed at and questioned the woman behind the counter: “Are you serious? I think this would probably kill him, he doesn’t even drink coffee!” After some intellectual wrangling on the differences between “white chocolate mocha” and “hot chocolate,” (and the correct spelling of “Free Drink Voucher”), we were on the road again, ready to make the final drive for two weeks. I know, I’m already getting a bit stir crazy! But whatever, bad weather or not I was going to enjoy this–no one could take that from me!

Wrapped in my orange poncho, also known as the Silly Happy Funtime Attention-Grabber Cape, I hit the road just off Highway 6, blazing a path down Dundas Street toward Mississauga. It rained consistently the entire trip and I can only describe my state afterwards as “moist”–I’m beginning to understand why so many of my friends hate that world…it is a dirty and foul word, I now agree.

People are really beginning to recognize us on the road. We had far more honks than every before and lots of smiling faces. We also had two people flag us down and give us a donation, with the first individual giving me a huge thumbs up and yelling “Atta boy! All the way to Ottawa! You go man!” I’m not sure what made the difference, if it’s the increasing media coverage, more people talking, or just people feeling sorry for me out in the rain, but I definitely feel like we made a big step forward today.

It was just the type of energy boost I needed as we enter a long and busy two weeks in Toronto.

After we finished up the run we ducked into a Harveys to grab some food and use the bathroom. Moments after getting into the bathroom, Pete and I heard a loud noise coming from the stall, which scared the proverbial crap out of us. What we thought may have been an angry person fighting with the toilet, we soon discovered was music being broadcasted into the bathroom over an intercom. At first I was kind of creeped out by the smooth funk tunes being blasted in the bathroom, but before I even knew it Pete and I were having a sweet light-switch rave party in the Harveys bathroom. Turns out it’s easier to go pee when listening to funk music–who knew?

Sure enough, by the time we returned to my dad’s condo the rain had stopped and the sun would be out by the time I finished editing this week’s video blog. To celebrate the first half of our driving being complete, Pete and I decided to head downtown and check out the movie Speed Racer on the iMax screen. To be honest, I think the critics have dealt this flick a totally bad hand–was it totally kitch? Sure. Was it inundated with digital graphics? Absolutely. Was the story a little thin? No thinner than most of the garbage pumped out of Hollywood. I had a really good time and the visuals were absolutely seizure-inducingly amazing. Yes the story was a bit light (boy finds car, boy fights corporations, boy kisses one of the only celebrities I’ve EVER had a thing for…you know, that old yarn), but the artistic aesthetic was absolutely brilliant. I really think the Wachowski brothers have pushed the action comic medium beyond it’s current deluge (insert snarky Iron Man comment here) and I don’t care who knows!

To top off a pretty relaxing evening Pete and I wandered into the local Chapters to raid the graphic novels section. Normally this wouldn’t be a bloggable event, it happens more than I’m proud to admit, however it did provide one little gem of an experience and it wasn’t when we ended up on the third floor and discovered two people making out in the Science Fiction section (although this was also pretty hilarious). As it turns out, getting access to the Graphic Novels in Chapters downtown is sort of like a reverse Alice in Wonderland–instead of tumbling down the rabbit hole you have to fight your way up a complex labyrinth of elevators, ramps and non-functional platform lifts. I got so close to the shelf that I could ALMOST read the titles on the spines of the books, however a flight of stairs limited me from getting right up and at them. After tinkering around with a platform lift and attempting to use the “Call” button that was hanging from a single wire (looks like someone hates them as much as me), we finally resorted to finding an employee to give us a hand. As it turns out, you need a special key to use the platform lift, which is a closely guarded prize held only by the manager. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that they actually have a functional lift to get me up the stairs, but it was definitely a little annoying finding someone to let me up. What is the point of having these types of adaptations if you’re going to stop people from using them? Granted, it’s not a big deal for me to ask for the key, but what about someone who is non-verbal or perhaps speaks a different language? This could be a huge barrier! Besides which, to me it almost felt like I had to ask permission to get into a different section of their store–as though they needed to “approve” my ability to peruse those specific wares. It is this type of segregating and ’special’ treatment that really riles me up sometimes. Anyway, despite the nuisance I made some pretty killer finds and it was a pretty decent way to cap off a relaxing evening.

Tomorrow is going to be pretty relaxed–working on finalizing my thesis while waiting for my dad to return to Toronto. All in all, it’s been a great two weeks and I can’t wait to see what week 3 has in store!

– 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.