My Disability is Manufactured

The physical aspects of disability are inherently social and economic, too.

Devon Price

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Photo by Vinit Vispute on Unsplash

I am in line to board a plane and there is a teen girl behind me listening to TikToks on speakerphone, the volume at full blast. An actor-turned-content creator is on the screen, reenacting how her husband empties the dishwasher. Upbeat, comical music plays with crashing and banging sound effects and distant yelling. Each low fidelity buzz of audio is a knife under my skin.

The teen girl grows bored and flicks to the next video. Two women in leggings walk down an alley, eating corn from a can, talking about their early years of drug addiction recovery and laughing about being “gay for the stay” at rehab. It’s the kind of content I normally would like, but only being able to parse stray fragments of the sound amongst the chaos of human noise and movement around me makes it only an additional torment.

Behind the teen girl, there’s a kid playing Roblox or something similarly irritating on his Nintendo Switch, also without headphones. The girl continues to scroll through loud videos. There’s a buff man making bread and yelling about the recipe. I am feeling very tense. Someone in the waiting area is listening to their Spotify, with commercials, also without headphones. I can feel the tension moving into my stomach and my heart rate accelerating. I flinch at small things: a boarding announcement, a toddler running past me.

Long before I get to the front of the line, I am fumbling with my phone, trying to ignore the noise all around me enough to focus, trying to pull up my boarding pass but finding that the airline’s mandatory app has automatically logged me out, again, despite the fact I have told it repeatedly to remember me. To log back in, I need a verification code from my email. But the wi-fi isn’t available in this airport. I have to verbally walk myself through the next steps so I don’t get lost.

I turn the wi-fi off and the data on. I check my email. I copy the code. Nope, it’s not…

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Devon Price

He/Him or It/Its. Social Psychologist & Author of LAZINESS DOES NOT EXIST and UNMASKING AUTISM. Links to buy: https://linktr.ee/drdevonprice