This was originally posted January 20, 2016 at 2:55 PM on Blogger.
When I’m walking somewhere and it looks like I might need some help and, instead of offering me said help people just say things like:
“You know, it’s a fucking shame, nobody’s gonna help her.”, “Look at her, I feel so bad for people like that. Someone should really do something, I think she’s going to walk into that pole (or whatever object)”, etc.
For the former comment why don’t you offer me the help since its such a shame? And the same goes for the latter. But it’s as though they think I can’t/don’t hear them.
I also hate—as you’ve probably come to realize in some of my past anecdotes—when people just grab me because they think I need help. (Please note that think is the operative word.) So it might go something like this:
I’m walking on a train platform and I, know, that while the part of the platform that I’m currently on is spacious, soon it’s going to get narrow; that there’s going to be stairs, escalators, and only a small gap between them and the yellow warning strip. So I might start moving slowly, sweeping my cane in an extrawide arc, or—I walk quickly—so I may continue moving at my pace but extend my cane farther from my body. So, rather than using it to sweep from side to side in front of me, I would keep that motion up, but I would be more focused on making sure I don’t go down the up escalator (that’s happened… many times) or just onto the stairs when my goal is the exit, which is straight ahead.
So I’m walking and I begin approaching the escalator. Now, I’m not positive that I’m heading that way, I think I see the silver (whatever material that is) that indicates the beginning of the escalator but I’m not sure (I second-guess my vision a lot). But before my cane can touch it to let me know, there’s a swarm of people, usually speaking loudly:
“That’s the escalator! You don’t want to go down the escalator do you? Miss, that’s the down escalator, you’re not going there.”
Or my arm will be grabbed.
“Where you headed, Miss? That’s the escalator you’re coming up to.” (You can also insert stairs wherever you see escalator.)
Of course, having this information is important to me, especially since the escalator is not where I intend to go. But, you know what? If my cane does go down a step or I feel the ridges of the escalator beneath my shoes, or my cane begins to move because it’s on the first step of the escalator, all I have to do is go around it.
I completely understand that the people want to be helpful. And I also get that not everyone knows how to go about it. But imagine a day in which, at nearly every moment that you’re outside, at least one person is trying to be helpful. It gets frustrating.
Now, I rarely ever snap at the helping hands. I’m usually pleasant and polite. But if I say I don’t need help, I will also remain firm about it. Some people act affronted, like I kicked their puppy (which, I’m sorry to say, I’ve almost done a few times) but honestly, how can you insist someone needs help when they say they don’t? Or tell them that they should sit on the bus/train because it would make you feel better? That can come off as a little selfish. You want me (a stranger to you) to do something for you (a stranger to me) because it would make you feel better? To borrow a term from my contemporaries: FOH.
There are also other instances wherein I tell the person I don’t need help, they say okay, but go ahead with it anyway. For example:
I’m about to cross the street. But I’m a little unsure of the traffic so, though I’m 60% sure that I can cross, I decide to wait, in case that 40% ends up being right. An old man comes up to me, asking if I need assistance crossing.
“No, thank you,” I say.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, thank you. Or, you know what, if you could just tell me when I can cross?”
We wait in silence. (Ugh, although sometimes they start talking to me; telling me about problems at work/with some friend or, and this is my favorite, when they tell me about their best friend’s husband’s mother who is also blind. Yes, I know it sounds insensitive, especially from an aspiring therapist, but, I’m usually trying to get somewhere so I truly do not care. When I’m a therapist, there will be time dedicated just for my patience… but now? Although I will say, some people do have interesting lives, and those stories I don’t mind listening to (provided its told to me in a timely manner). Ugh, but if you smell and won’t go away… sorry, I digress.)
“You can cross now,” my elderly companion informs me.
“Thank you.” I reply and begin to cross.
“You know, I’m actually crossing this way,” my companion would then say. “I’ll just help you anyway.” And then he would proceed to take my arm and we would cross.
At that point, I don’t even try. I’m just like, “well, we’re crossing, it’s almost over, whatever.” Then I halfheartedly thank him upon reaching the other side.
There have been other times when the person would just let me go saying, with a laugh, “Boy, you walk fast.” or “You’re much faster than me.” or something to that effect.
I have friends who get really angry about it, they’ll argue and make a scene. But I feel that you have to pick you’re battles. And again, as stated above, I do get it, you want to be helpful. But also think about your approach. Think of how you may come off. Think about the difference between grabbing and being forceful, and a touch on the arm (to let the blind person know you’re talking to them) and a calm word.
Sometimes I decline help because of the approach. And I’ll hope for or try to find someone else that seems less… volatile (for lack of a better word).
I’m compiling a list of other things that bother me. And I’m also trying to find a different title for the future posts so that my stealing from Family Guy isn’t quite so obvious. But this seems attention grabbing enough.
Also, I know I keep saying I’m back then I disappear again. But, this disappearance was significantly shorter than the last (two or so weeks vs. an entire semester). I’m also taking a winter class and that’s been pretty… intense. But I’ve scheduled some posts to post at points this week. And I think I might try for only one post a week, on Saturdays, because well, one is less daunting than three. And then if I throw in any more, it’ll be a pleasant surprise to you all.
540 page views… pretty damn awesome. Now if you guys would just start throwing in a few comments on my posts… that’d be even better.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out my vlog.
Till next time