One day during some point in my high school career, I was walking to the Vision Resource room (the place where vision and mobility teachers work). As I walked down the hall, a group of boys were standing in front of the door so I ended up walking past it. I could always tell which was the right room because it had double doors And. I realized that I’d passed it because there was a long stretch of wall after it.
So, when I realized this, I turned back. This time the guys noticed me and as they moved out of my way, one of them was like:
“Yo, move outta her way. You messing her up, she’s trying to count her steps.”
I sometimes respond to people talking about me as though I’m an object, rather than a person. But this was not one of those times. Instead, I. just laughed softly as I walked into the room. I think that’s the first time I’d had that experience, of someone assuming that I, and consequently all blind people counted their steps.
A more recent instance of people assuming this happened about two weeks ago. I was on my way to my third day of training for my job when a construction worker stopped me. I was about to walk onto whatever they were working on so he offered to assist me to the corner and, consequently, around the site.
The guy grabbed my arm, and I had to correct him asking politely if I could instead hold his arm (I’ll write a post on how to properly guide a blind person in the future).
But anyway, after correcting the guiding position, we setoff. As we walked, he told me what street we were approaching. I made some sound of acknowledgement and he responded, in a very stereotypical Brooklyn accent:
“So, you counting your steps or what?”
I don’t do it. And I don’t think I know anyone that does.
It’s so inconsistent. Like, one day it may take you ten exuberant steps to walk from your home to the store. But fifteen slow, dragging ones as a reflection of the dreary weather.
Now, this isn’t to say that no blind person counts their steps, some people may. But it’s a silly generalization.
Now, some people may, subconsciously know how many steps are in their room, or how many steps it takes to get from one room to another. But I think that’s getting into memorization/familiar territory. I’m sure many Sighteds can get around their own homes with their eyes closed, and without counting their steps..
In case your interested here’s a link to the first mended misconception, on our supposed extrasensory ability.
And here’s another link to a surprisingly accurate WikiHow article on interacting with blind people..with photos (I know you Sighteds like like those).