I went with a friend (B.R. Kyle) to a Magic the Gathering Eldritch Moon prerelease event at another store this weekend. I’ve played there, to the point where we’re quasi-regular casual players, but I’ve never prereleased there, and it was an interesting experience in ways unrelated to the anxiety of playing with new cards with new people.
It made me think, a lot, about the physical space of a store and what this means for my accessibility needs.
I dread customers who inquire about our Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
I’d sooner deal with ignorant customers who look at my body and decide that I don’t know anything because girls don’t game. I’d sooner tell the teenage boys on the computers to stop using “gay” as a slur for the five millionth time. I’d sooner scrub the toilet, wipe down the keyboards and sweep the floor, even after the day a bunch of boys, for some reason, broke up, scattered, stuck, dropped and flushed jelly beans everywhere.
The customer will say something like “Can I get that Zygarde?”, sometimes with “please” inserted somewhere and sometimes without, and then look at me as though they’ve asked me to do the simplest thing in the world. I mean, it’s not hard, right? They name a card, I pull that card out, I register the transaction, they pay. Job done. People who have never worked retail make unfair, unrealistic and uneducated comments about unskilled labour, but the process is not assumed to be difficult, at least in theory and with an assumption of non-disability.
What I hear, though, is something closer to “Nn uh get th Aard?”
This is when I start to panic, because I don’t know the names of any Pokémon that aren’t Pikachu, Charizard and Mewtwo.
This is a long multi-part essay on the experience of being autistic, the process of gaining the label, and the nightmare (especially the last two years, especially especially the last nine months) it’s been being an undiagnosed autistic person being treated for depression, anxiety and chronic pain in the Australian healthcare system.
So, of course, I’m going to start with my ongoing love affair with metal music.