Drawing of two women standing on either side of a man in wheelchair. Woman on left is saying "So, will Paul be going to college this fall?" Young man in wheelchair responds "I believe I'm Paul and I'm right here."

Forget Emily Post and Miss Manners! After 35 years with quadriplegia, I don’t worry much about etiquette. Given my physical limitations, I do what I need to do however I can. Other folks with spinal cord injuries can relate, but my methods sometimes draw stares from those without disabilities. Over the years I’ve learned to do etiquette my way. Here are seven ways an inaccessible world requires responses that aren’t taught in finishing school:

1. I drink all types of drinks through a straw.

Hot or cold, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I sometimes even drink my soup through a straw. You can imagine how well that goes over in a fancy restaurant. But there are those who get it. On a cruise, I was stunned when, on the second night at dinner, there were straws cut to size for my wine glass, water glass and coffee cup. The waiter got a generous tip and my gratitude.

2. I bring plastic s