What does 'accessible' mean? Is U2 accessible?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/11/21 04:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/11/21/495070.aspx

Or, more properly, is the hotel owned by (among others) U2, The Clarence Hotel in Dublin city center accessible?

Most properly is the simple question "is there an accessible entrance to the hotel restaurant?"

This was the question that was posed to the doorman of The Clarence Hotel as Chris Kiernan and I pulled up and we were admiring the flight of stairs and lack of visible ramps or elevators, heading to the dinner party celebrating colleague Adrian's graduation.

The doorman, looked at us, puzzled. I then added, realizing we were in the midst of another Screw language; it's about the dialect, baby! moments, added "for a wheelchair."

The wheelchair thing was spur of the moment, but I realized that I did know precisely how to refer to the scooter in Ireland. I don't think I had even seen one other than mine on any of my visits here!

The doorman was no longer puzzled at what we wanted, but he was clearly unsure about the answer. He offered an "I don't think so. (pause) Let me check." and he was off into the hotel for a few minutes.

Chris and I, while waiting, discussed the fact that the term "accessible entrance" was not very well known here, and had a small laugh about the fact that the term to use was simply not known to Chris, either.

Anyway, a few minutes later the doorman came out and apologetically said that no, there was no accessible entrance. Though we could of course  check the entrance on the other side if we wanted (he had probably been gone long enough to have walked to the other side and back, so our chances seemed slim, but we still had some hope).

As it turns out, calling this person a "doorman" was probably inaccurate, he must have just been a big fan of Jim Morrison with an official title of Doorsman. Because the door on the other side of the building was completely accessible and we made it straight in to the restaurant!

But in any case we had a wonderful dinner and went to a bar after that where I had my first pint of Guinness, an entirely non-memorable experience (though Chris tried a bit and was not pleased either; he suggested it had not aged properly. Whatever that means!).

All in all, very nice evening with some great conversations, and a chance to see Anna again (she had just moved from Redmond to Dublin).

And I am pleased to report that The Clarence Hotel in Dublin city center is quite accessible, even if the same cannot be said about all of the staff at the door....

# Rosyna on 21 Nov 2005 4:16 AM:

I just think that they may not have understood exactly what was required for a wheeled object in the sense of "accessible". Perhaps he was assuming too much or not enough and not just that an entrance was required to get to your destination that had no ledges that a wheel couldn't get over (such as stairs). I always look for what you'd call "accessible" entrances as I try to avoid stairs like the plague.

# Richard Gadsden on 21 Nov 2005 5:57 AM:

British English would be a "disabled" entrance or a wheelchair entrance - an "accessible entrance" would translate as "an entrance that can be got to" (as distinct from "got through").

If you're in front of an entrance, then it's accessible by definition - you got there, didn't you?

# Frank on 21 Nov 2005 7:09 AM:

".. he suggested it had not aged properly. Whatever that means!".

Some beers get better with aging. I know at least one beer "geuze" which may even be better after the 'Use by' date than before.
Next time you are in Belgium, try it.

Unfortunately, this beer may be endangered by possible upcoming food safety regulations since it requires natural infection of the wort by wild ferments.

# Ben Bryant on 21 Nov 2005 4:36 PM:

"Accessible" in the sense that you do not need a PhD in that particular thing to enjoy or gain something from it.

In this case the answer is "yes" the bar is accessible to any commoner eligible to drink, or "no" since their guiness is an acquired taste and will not be adequately appreciated by you.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 21 Nov 2005 5:05 PM:

Ben, no one claimed the bar was not accesible. And a regular Guinness drinker expressed disappointment at the pint in question, which clearly means that there is more to it than my inexperience with Guinness.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 21 Nov 2005 5:10 PM:

While on the subject, i had a great time, as I said.

Also, I have no PhD. in fact I have no degree whatsoever. I still had a great time and appreciated the company and the companionship. I did not appreciate the Guinness fully, but then neither did a regular Guinness drinker, and he even gave words as to why.

As it turns out, the only thing that was inaccessible was knowledge of the hotel to the doorman in question. :-)

# Dean Harding on 21 Nov 2005 5:20 PM:

Reminds me of a great joke I read once:

At a world brewing convention in the States, the CEOs of various brewing organizations retired to the bar at the end of each day's conference.

Bruce, CEO of Fosters, shouted to the barman: "In 'Strylya, we make the best bladdy beer in the world, so pour me a Bladdy Fosters, mate."

Bob, CEO of Budweiser, calls out next: "In the States, we brew the finest beers of the world, and I make the King of them all, gimme a Bud."

Hans steps up next: "In Germany ve invented das beer, verdamt. Give me ein Becks, Ya, ist Der real King of beers, danke.

Paddy, CEO of Guinness, steps forward: "Barman, would ya give me a doyet coke wid ice and lemon. Tanks."

The others stare at him in stunned silence, amazement written all over their faces. Eventually Bruce asks: "Ain't ya goin ta have a Guinness, Pat?"

Paddy replies: "Well, if you fookin' pansies aren't drinkin', then neither am I".

# Michael S. Kaplan on 21 Nov 2005 5:55 PM:

LOL! Good one, Dean.

# Gabe on 22 Nov 2005 10:10 AM:

This brings up a couple interesting points about language.

1. "Accessible" is really just your shorthand for "wheelchair accessible" or "accessible by those by disabilities" or somesuch. As a standalone word, it only has the meaning you ascribe to it among those who create user interfaces (computer programs, buildings, etc.) or those who use the accessibility features of UIs.

2. Since beer was mentioned: VB to probably all of us is "Visual Basic". VB to probably all Australians is "Victoria Bitter", possibly Australia's most popular beer.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 23 Nov 2005 9:56 AM:

Hi Gabe -- very good points. Though I am sure there are other contexts where accessible may have other meanings we do not know about, you have covered all the ones that overlap my life as it is.

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