Category Archives: Cane antics

Just another rant… sort of

“There’s a staircase coming up,” a man says from a few feet ahead of me.

“I know, thanks,” I replied, assuming he was talking to me.

Why did I make this assumption, you ask.  Because, having a cane means that, when people aren’t grabbing my arm to forcibly assist me, they’re shouting information to me.  Why they assume I’ll realize they’re talking to me, I have no clue.

As with most instances, however, I knew where I was going.  If I didn’t I would have asked.  But, because I was heading into the subway, the staircase was my goal.

I stepped down, my cane extended and brushed someone’s feet.  After a few seconds, I tried again but she still hadn’t moved, or maybe she was moving but slowly.  Whatever the case, she did not seem to like the repeated probing of her feet by my cane and turned around angrily.  How did I know she was angry? Because she whirled around with a shouted “Jesus Christ!”

I don’t remember what she said after that, but she was so riled up that she walked back up the stairs (quickly, I might add).  But I was too busy being happy that I could walk down at my pace to really care what she was saying.  People are always speaking at me.  So as long as I made it downstairs and through the turnstile before the train came, I would be happy.”Miss.” Someone called out behind me, as I walked.  I stopped and turned back.  “You’re too close to the right.”

I shrugged and turned back around.  I was constantly arguing with people about how close was too close to the edge.  I wasn’t on the yellow warning strip, and I also did not want to trip over the feet of people sitting on the bench, so I was somewhere in the middle.  I was comfortable, which is what really mattered isn’t it? People often tell me that it would make them more comfortable if I did this, or they’d feel better if I did that.  That’s great for you, but I’m the one traveling.  You’re only with me for these few moments.

“She needs to learn how to use that stick,” the woman from the stairs muttered to the man.  “She nearly tripped me on the stairs.”

No, I don’t know how to use this “stick” that I’ve had with me since at least elementary school.  (Well, not the same one, obviously, since I’ve grown considerably taller since kindergarten and have had…  accidents, but you get the idea.) She is so right.  Including the part where she called it a stick and not a cane.

So badly did I want to walk back and express any number of thoughts along those lines.  But I didn’t, I let the anger, that was probably an overreaction go and waited for my train.

It’s annoying, more annoying than I realized when people talk about my abilities as a blind person.  Telling me I need an aid, arguing over my ability to cross a street, attempting to drag me into the train without ever saying a word.  With regard to the latter, yes, I realize what your doing, and I know it’s well-intentioned but would a simple “the train is this way” or “let me help you to the train” hurt? And if we’re speaking can you ask before tugging?

Not everyone does this, but, with that said, not enough people grasp that I’m OKAY.  I know, you can’t fathom travelling while being blind.  There’s often a sense of relief upon learning that I do have some usable vision, as if this makes my plight easier.

I value the vision I have, and sometimes wish it were better, not necessarily twenty/twenty but more than I have.  But I also appreciate the information that each of my other senses offers me, and I might not have if I grew up with “perfect” vision.

I feel I write variations of these thoughts more often than I should.  And I will probably continue to until there is a significant change in understanding and portrayal of blind people.  Within my life time (only twenty and a half years) there’s been a lot of change.  And hopefully I can be one of many who helps facilitate more.

People are often caught up in their own worlds and can’t seem to fathom what doesn’t fit; for example, being blind if they have full sight.  Consequently, they don’t think to deal with a situation in a “normal” manner, their reactions often exaggerated.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

The Great Cane Incident of 2016

This was originally posted on April 10, 2016 at 11:49 on blogspot.

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Warning: the following post may contain semi-strange formatting. And the slightly disjointed nature of the author’s thoughts may be jarring to some readers. Proceed with caution.

Copied from my Facebook on Friday, April 8:

I swear, Facebook, I cannot make this shit up. I was walking to my first class today, and someone tripped over my cane. I figured that it would probably

be a little bent but usable, it’s definitely happen before. But rather than being a little curved out of shape, The bottom most fold/link/whatever was

bent almost in half. I thought about trying to straighten it, and once I put a little bit of pressure on it. It pretty much snapped.

I went to the accessibility office after class, using my single usable eyeball and the bit of feedback that the broken came could give me. I almost tripped

down some stairs because, though I saw and expected them, there were a bunch of people in the way and I was trying to get around them. And of course, today

is the day i decide to wear my boots instead of sneakers so the heel caught on the step… But luckily for me, most people react quickly to a blind person

stumbling, And my reflexes aren’t terrible so…

Well, I’m off to class now with my scotch taped cane (they didn’t have duct tape).

My thoughts

As you can tell from the start of the post I was… I’m still not sure what word best describes how I felt. I wasn’t angry, more confused than anything else. People trip and hop (yes, hop, not even jump) over my cane quite a bit. And so I’ve had to replace a few because they were bent out of shape… but it’s never been broken. It was a little surreal, I guess.

I don’t usually curse, and so I knew that using it in my post would really get people’s attention.

Everyone Else’s thoughts

It was interesting, looking at the comments.

The ones from the people who knew me best all made light of it while the ones from family and acquaintances were all panicking and worried about my well-being. My fellow blind and visually impaired people sympathized. One person told me they had four spares by their door and one in their bag at all times while another told me that she’d replaced her cane three times so far this year. Luckily, I did have a spare in my room (though it wouldn’t have been hard to get a new one).

After telling her the story, my godmother asked if I’d “caught a big one”. That made me chuckle. The person was small in stature though I’m uncertain of…width.

I’m just still surprised that it broke. And now that I think about it, a little annoyed. Now I have to remember to get another spare. Sigh.

Well:

Sorry I was gone for such a long time. That whole college thing was rearing it’s head, and rather aggressively, I might add. I had papers galore. And when I wasn’t working, I was sitting and complaining of boredom. Then I’d remember my darling readers, but have nothing to write.

But I have been updating my blog (it’s easier to ramble on camera than write and perfect my posts to my satisfaction).

***

Soo… if you’re interested, you should check out my original poem, about people’s reactions to me. I wrote it a year ago. And when you’re through with that, watch my latest Vlog: What You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Blind Person. It’s long, but hopefully the content makes it worth it.

For my blind and low-vision readers:

The three pictures I included are of me: one of me holding the cane and then two of the cane by itself: one showing off the tape and the other how bent it was.

‘till Saturday

Chao (the Spanish spelling)

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I Miss Making Rolie Polie Olies

This was originally posted on March 4, 2016, at 4:40 PM on Blogger.

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All right, first, there will likely not be a post tomorrow because

1.  I have no idea what I’m going to write about, and

2.  I’ll actually be behaving like a stereotypical teenager, so I’ll be “out”.

So you’re getting your post early.  (As usual, be forewarned of the needless backstory).

* * *

I have two classes today, the first one, at 11:10, was made optional (for today only) because we have a paper due in a few days.  So my professor decided to use the time to work on her Masters thesis and to conference with any student who felt they need help.  So, though I woke up a few times between 6:00 am and 9:00, I didn’t actually get out of bed until around 10:15.  I then paced for a while before finally beginning to get ready for the day.  And I ended up leaving ten minutes later than I was supposed to (this is what happens when you’re schedule is messed up).  But I still would have gotten to the second class in time had it not happened.

As I’m leaving the dorm building, one of the security guards comes up to me and offers to walk with me to the gate.

“It’s slippery,” she says.

Though I’m pretty sure I would have been fine, I nodded and murmured my agreement.  She takes my arm and I correct her; I’m supposed to hold her arm.  And we start moving.

Upon reaching the gate, she tells me to have a nice day and I wish her the same.  She kept using my first name, and I was proud of myself for not correcting her each time.  I’ve grown a little more comfortable with it over the years (out of necessity, since there are some people who either forget or simply refuse to call me Lily).

But anyway, after the guard—whose name I don’t think I ever knew—and I parted ways, I turned right, heading toward First Avenue.  As I walked, I had my head turned slightly to the right (I can only see out of my left eye, so I usually have to turn my head to see things on the right side).  I was looking out for the City Bike rack, I always have to remember to look out for it so I don’t stumble over a bike tire.  I see the person move up beside me, but I think nothing of it as I continue monitoring with my eye and sweeping my cane from left to right.  It’s New York City, there’s always people.

Then my cane jerks.  I pull it closer to my body, and pause mid stride.  I think the person tried to cut in front of me.

Did they fall? I ask myself.  It doesn’t look like it and I didn’t hear anything.

In the seconds it took me to mentally ask that, and continue walking, they’re on the ground…  and rolling (they roll onto my foot a little), and I see them hunch in on themselves.

WTF? I think.

I’m a little stunned.  I thought they were fine.  Did they fall in slow motion like eyenurse? It’s times like these when I wish my vision was a little better, not twenty/twenty, but just enough for me to have seen the fall from start to finish.

My lips curl upward (well, I’m always smiling, so I guess, to be more accurate, the upward tilt widened).  I wanted to laugh…  she freaking rolled! Which then made my think of Rolie Polie Olies.  And I had to try so hard not to laugh out loud.

“Are you alright?” I asked, my voice hesitant and not quite loud enough to cut through her moaning.

Did I forget to mention that? Yah, she was moaning.  That’s how I figured out it was a woman.

“Hey! Are you alright?” A man walks over to us.  And then a girl soon after (I think she’s a fellow dorm resident).

The man went to the lady, who wasn’t speaking English, but a language that sounded like some flavor of Asian while the girl just stood there, the only thing she’d said was “oh my God” when she first arrived.  He kept asking if she was alright, and offered to help her up.

“Okay,” he said, voice strained.  “On three.  One, two, three.”

She didn’t get up.  She said something in her language and then rolled over and lifted my cane, tapping it as she did.

“It was this, it was this.”

Honestly, my first thought was:

Why the F is she touching my cane? No, it was not my cane’s fault, it was yours.

My next thought was berating myself for being a terrible person.  Then I shrugged it off.  And I started fidgeting, wondering if it was appropriate for me to leave yet, I had to get to class.

The guy tries lifting her again, and she’s up this time.  I turn to leave and then stop.

The lady says something in her language, then the guy tells me that everything’s fine, and I can probably go, while the girl touches my arm gently, reiterating his words.

There was a quick second wherein I wondered why she was touching me, I didn’t feel it was necessary.  But I got over it, smiled pleasantly and went on my merry way…  to be nearly twenty minutes late to the next class.

* * *

Later, as I was getting off of the train (I was heading to work) someone was rushing past me off of the train and also tripped over my cane, this time knocking it from my hand.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he said. “Are you okay?”

I just shrugged and was like, “yeah, can you get that for me?” as a very adamant Caribbean woman began yelling at him.  He handed me my cane and I left the station.  The woman seemed a little offended when, upon turning to me and asking if I was okay, I just shrugged it off.  It happens.  Which is my usual attitude.  Except for this morning.  Where I was extremely annoyed.  Irritated.  One of those words…  but not angry.

Well, till next time (i.e.   next Saturday, or sooner)

Adios

Addendum:

Here’s a rant about another person that tripped on my cane. It happened an hour or so after this post

The Irony With The Eyenurse

This was originally posted on May 24, 2015 at 11:25 PM on blogger.com.

***

WARNING:

This post may include a lack of empathy that might be jarring to those light of heart. As well as a bit of unnecessary backstory.

So please, proceed with caution.

***

Oh boy, to describe my weekend as interesting would be an understatement of epic proportions. I do not know how to even begin. But I will try.

Yesterday morning, I woke, completed my usual morning routine, took access-a-ride (will be writing another post on the horrors of using them) to my friend, Shanice’s job, where I waited at a table, eating a wonderfully prepared breakfast (she is a chef). At around 2:00, we left and headed to the train station. We were on our way to an All Time Low concert (The Future Hearts Tour).

Upon arriving at the appropriate station, we asked a few questions until we were heading in the right direction. While walking, and confirming that we were heading the right way every now and then, Shanice complains of being hungry and suggests looking for food. So we decide to go back to a Subway she’d seen (it was the only thing that interested her)

She orders, we get our food and are back on our way.

As we are walking: cane in my right hand, my other hand holding Shanice’s arm, and Shanice’s other holding the bag with her sandwich, it happens.

Just before we step onto the sidewalk, my cane jerks in my hand and I think, dismissively, that someone’s probably stumbled or kicked it. Nothing new.

But then, in perfect unison with Shanice’s gasped:

“Oh my God.” (through a mouthful of sandwich). I hear it.

It sounded like a cross between a thud and a stinging slap. And I’m stunned.

As it begins to register in my mind what happened, I can’t bring myself to muster the contrite expression I should be wearing. Instead, I am forced to duck my head as silent laughter splits my face into an unremorseful smile.

“Oh my God, are you alright?” a woman asks.

“I’m fine. My knees. I’m an eyenurse so I know how to deal with this sort of thing. I’m fine.” The fallen woman replies in a wavering tone. A tone she continues to use for the rest of our encounter.

“I’m sorry,” Shanice says. “Oh… did you hit your head?”

“Yes. But I’m fine.”

“Oh my God!” a new voice, a man. “Is she alright?”
“I’m fine.”

Shanice and I continued to stand there, just beyond the curb as the people began to “scrape” the woman off of the ground (the way it was later described to me).

“I’ve got her,” the first bystander announces, her voice straining a little. “I’ll take her into this store. See if they’ll have ice.”

“I’m alright.” The grounded nurse says.

The man leaves.

Shanice, who had sounded so distraught, whispers:

“Do we have to go in there? Would it be socially unacceptable if we just left?”

“Shanice!” I exclaim. “But you sounded so sincere.”

She laughs shamelessly and we’re quiet for a moment or two. Then, through an unspoken agreement, we reluctantly head inside. The sound of shifting ice in some sort of plastic wrapping greets us as we enter.

“Remember,” the passerby says. “Change it in intervals of 20 minutes.”

“My knees . Yes. And I need some for my head. Thank you.”

“Don’t forget to change it.”

“I know. I deal with this. I’m an eyenurse. What do you do.”

“(insert medical term here)” I think I heard the opth- prefix, but I wasn’t sure then, and am even less certain now.

“Oh! So we do the same thing.”

“Yeah.” The woman replied, or something along those lines. She sounded noncommittal and like she was ready to go. Which she did, after checking on Eyenurse one more time.

“I’m so sorry,” I say at last. I’d finally had enough time to process all of what had occurred. Shanice follows suit, apologizing once more.

“I’m alright. It was my fault. I should’ve been paying attention.” Then she says that she’d been concentrating really hard on something, or really focused on where she was going, and takes the blame once more. “Tell her not to feel bad, it wasn’t her fault.”

“Don’t feel bad, okay? It wasn’t your fault.” Shanice repeats, in a saccharine voice as she pets my hand. I irritably poke her side.

“You girls can go,” Eyenurse says bravely. “I’ll be alright.”

Shanice apologizes again, the lady takes the blame once more, and we’re out of there.

Oh, the irony! Eyenurse tripping on the blind girl’s cane. And then, given her profession, she doesn’t know that she can address me directly? Shanice jokingly remarked that it was because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t hear.

She also described, on our way to the venue how the woman fell. Evidently, she’d cut in front of us and she just saw her body go down. She said she didn’t process it until her head hit the ground.

Shanice was angry that her sandwich had been interrupted. And I was still faux upset that she’d actually repeated what Eyenurse had said.

We continued laughing and talking about it up until the show (which was awesome and a whole other blog post) and even into today. Priceless.

Also, thinking about Eyenurse, she struck me as that nurse (or person in general) whose always hovering nervously, ensuring that your alright, even after countless assurances. The person to actually make you uncomfortable in her attempt to be comforting.

I rarely feel remorse for those who trip on my cane if they’re walking toward me. You should be paying attention. But they get mad at me, as though I’m the one at fault… for being blind? For having a cane? For my spidy senses not tingling and alerting me to their presence?

If I see the person beforehand, then I will move aside, but don’t rely on my vision. I do feel a little bad if I’m walking behind the person and they trip. But those are usually only stumbles. The people who go down are almost always walking toward me or turning into me, or something.