Okay, guys…I need some help.
Ever since I heard about it, I’ve been obsessed with wanting to go to BEA. But I’m not sure that it’s exactly feasible, and I want your help deciding if I should go this year.
As some of you may know, I have a disability called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (read my story). Basically, it’s a nerve disorder that affects both of my feet, making it difficult and painful for me to walk. So, if I were to go to BEA, I’d have to be in a wheelchair, and I’d have to bring my mom to push me around and carry all of the books.
As soon as I realized that I wouldn’t be able to go by myself, I got kind of nervous. Now that I’m a semi-established book blogger, I’ve made a lot of connections with fellow book bloggers. I’d probably see some of my friends at BEA! Do I really want to be that girl who brought her mom? I mean, as much as I LOVE my mom, it’s honestly kind of embarrassing. And being handicapped is embarrassing in itself. I’ve gotten pretty used to being in social settings where people might stare at me because I’m walking funny or because I’m 22 years old and using a walker, but honestly, it can still sometimes be a little hard to deal with. I don’t want to be scared or embarrassed to participate in social events because of my disability, but I am.
I’m also worried about the feasibility part of the equation. I’m assuming it’s going to be very crowded and hectic, and it might be overwhelming to have to maneuver around both the two of us and a wheelchair. So, here are a couple of questions I have about this, and about BEA in general:
- Do you think I should still attempt to go, even if I’m in a wheelchair and have to bring my mom? (be honest! 🙂 )
- Have you seen handicapped people or people using wheelchairs at BEA? Did they seem overwhelmed?
- How crowed/hectic is it?
- How do you carry all of the ARCs you receive…a backpack?
- If I’m mostly interested in YA, I should be going to the children’s day on Friday, right?
- Have any of you done the one-day pass before, or do you mostly just do the whole weekend?
- Is the whole weekend worth it, or should I stick with just Friday?
Please help me answer my questions if you’ve been to BEA before! And, even if you haven’t, do you have any advice about my wheelchair dilemma? Are you going to BEA, and this year is your first time?
P.S. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might’ve seen my little rage- and tear-induced rant last week when, right after writing this post, I heard from BEA that they weren’t going to let me bring my mother to help push me around without having to buy her a separate ticket (which, at potentially hundreds of dollars each depending on which tickets I choose, would not be cheap). But, after pointing out to them that that was actually illegal discrimination under the ADA (as I wouldn’t be able to equally participate without an aid to push me and carry my books), they “graciously” agreed that my mom should be able to get her ticket for free. So, while I’m happy that that’s resolved, I’m still a little hurt and offended by the whole situation. Having to be disabled is hard enough as it is without having to deal with people and companies who aren’t accommodating like they should be. It’s really upsetting to be denied something just because you have a medical issue that makes you a little different than everybody else.