Accessibili-tea: A day in the life with a mobility impairment

Abby Fournier

Enjoy this real-life story

written in a format

that my brain understands.

A break from paragraphs,

and space for my thoughts to breathe:

a day in the life

with a mobility impairment.


I barely wake, 

pain-dominated sleep.

But that does not matter to Prof

who thinks I am just 



Podmate so great

she helps me get to class but

just to my computer,

because although class can be in person,

it can’t be for all persons,

because some of us can only move

from the bed to the computer.


How can I focus in class

when my body burns from the inside out 

and makes me scream and writhe.

But sure, Prof, I’ll join your discussion.

I’ll play your silly game.

Because your class is definitely all that matters

and I am just a student


a whole person.


Class ends and I collapse

but time to rally for the next?

I’m sorry, not today,

I apologize, I didn’t mean to.

I don’t want to let you down, 

but not to would surely kill me.

Yes, I’m broken beyond repair,

but if I skip I may still

have a chance.


So I stay inside my dorm,

eventually rally to lunch.

I like to eat alone

to not answer “I’m fine”

or again explain

that no,

yoga won’t help.


I procrastinate all day,

and at the last minute

make it to the field house.

Testing eats my soul.

What will I face today?


Oh, the “accessible” route is not set up.

Am I too late?

It should be open.

I don’t have the energy

to fix this.

“Oh I’m so sorry”

they say.

“It’s not a big deal, we’ll set it up for you.”

“We didn’t know…

… how long it needed to stay open

… that people would use it this late in the day

… that we weren’t supposed to pack up.”

“We’re sorry,” they say.


Well, I’m sorry I’m inconvenient

and that you were not taught to do your job

or be inclusive

or think about others.

I’m sorry that I’m glaring

and that you fueled my rage.

I’m sorry that it’s been six months

and you still run a problematic site.

I’m sorry that people are paying attention

and forcing you to change.

I’m sorry that for the first time

you may be held accountable.


Driving home, can’t wait to sleep

at least the day’s soon done.

Oh great, another Williams-sponsored truck


in an accessible parking space

without care.


Turns out the truck was dead.

Somehow I don’t think it’s random

that the truck died

obstructing accessibility

for hours.

The driver says, 

“Hmm, where can I go to let this truck die

where it won’t be important 

if I take up space?

This spot looks good

no one will use it.

I can take up space here.”



I don’t know if the driver said this specifically,

but does it really sound that strange?

With this school’s track record

it’s hard to imagine the obstruction

was anything

but intentional.


And oh, by the way,

the tow truck for the dead truck

blocked my way 

to urgent medical care.

Even the “solution”

was inaccessible.


It’s okay.

You, reader, can laugh.

How could you not?

This school is out to get me,

and the only way

for me to fight back

is with my words.


So I’ll try to make them funny

cause then hopefully you’ll read.

And maybe you’ll do better.

Perhaps if you chuckle

thoughts of accessibility

can live in your head

rent free.


It sucks

to go to a school

that assumes ability.

It sucks

to not be able

to sunrise hike with Scott.

It sucks

to be forced to test

at a site that harms you.


So I cope by making jokes,

and writing for you each week,

and taking pictures of the absurdity

of living on this campus

with a mobility impairment

which was substantially worsened

by living on this campus.

It’s a hilariously terrible cycle.


Abby Fournier ’21 is a political science major from Natick, Mass.