Category Archives: Public Transportation

No Amount of Good Energy Will Stop You From Face-Planting Into Some Construction

This happened on Tuesday, but I didn’t finish the post till now…:

 

My morning started as most of my mornings start, with me getting ready and then heading to work. And, as is also typical of these mornings…or any minute I’m outside, really, I encountered a number of overly helpful people.

First, we start with the guy from the train. As I walked to one of the many staircases in Grand Central, he called out to me, asking if I was alright.

“Yeah,” I answered. “I’m fine, just looking for the stairs.”

“Oh, well you’ve found it.” He said, Middle Eastern accent thick. “You’re doing great.”

“Thanks.” I always feel awkward responding to comments like that. Just like when people offer blessings. Thank you feels inadequate, or inappropriate. But I guess it’s an all purpose word.

“Yeah,” the guy continued. “You are doing wonderfully. You found the stairs.”

He said this from the bottom, as I was halfway up. I muttered another thanks and kept going.

At the top of the steps:

“You need help Miss?” Another guy asks. “You know where you’re going?”

I always wonder why people ask this while I’m in motion. They always make it sound as though I was just standing there, or walking around confusedly. People actually seem to just completely disregard me when either of those things are happening. Maybe there’s something about unsolicited assistance that warms a person’s heart.

But anyway, I told the man I was fine. He said okay but rushed ahead of me when he saw that I was exiting to open the door. (Not complaint about that part, I’m not that much of a knit picker)

The rest of my walk goes fairly well: one person trips over my cane, I stumble over a suitcase, someone offers to help me cross the street. All very usual. Until I get to 44 street. There I stop to adjust my shoe and a lady to my left offers assistance.

“If you can just tell me when I can cross,” I tell her. “That would be great.”

“Which way you headed after this?”

“I’m only going to 45.”

“Oh, that’s just one more block. And then are you going left or right?”

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“I’ll just help you out if your not going that far.” She says. “We can cross now, do you want to take my arm.”

I was so delighted that she didn’t’t just grab my hand and start crossing, or hold my arm. That’s the only excuse I have for what happened next.

“So where are you headed next?” She asks.

“I’m going left.” I was heading to a Starbucks that I only knew about in theory, so I figured if she really wanted to be helpful, well, I’d let her have it.

AS we walked, she told me about the amazing energy I had. She felt it standing beside me and just knew that she had to help this lady. What’s my sign? A Libra? Oh, we’re lovely people. She’s a Gemini. Our signs are compatible, she hoped that I had some Geminis in my life.

After we entered Starbucks, she wondered if I wanted her to wait with me. She could help me to work. She was on break from her own job and helping me was more important anyway.

What I appreciated about her was that, after discovering that I was interning, she asked what I was studying in school. She didn’t pity me, or even, as we walked, talk about my vision as a sad condition. I wasn’t patted on the back for navigating the big city all by my lonesome, or prayed for so that I would continue to stay strong. And, perhaps, most importantly, as we spoke, she didn’t take on that patronizing tone that some people use with me.

Her overhelpfullness in walking me all the way to my destination was a little odd, yes. But part of what goes into my complaints is how the person reacts to me. Besides, guiding me, she acted like I was just a normal stranger she’d met on the street (who happened to have this amazing energy). It also helped that her assisting me to the Starbucks didn’t actually put her completely out of her way.

It was a little odd when she offered to wait with me until I got my drink and then walk with me to work. But when I told her I was fine, she didn’t push, wished me a nice day, and left.

But of course the good energy could not last forever.

During my lunch break, I decided that I really wanted some pizza. My fellow intern saved me from using Siri to navigate by giving me instructions to a pizza place he’d passed on his way to work. The pizza place was actually a few stores down from the Starbucks I’d visited earlier.

After exiting the building and crossing the street, I found my face walking into some construction…. ow.

I appreciated that there were no pointy bits, just a series of horizontal bars. But I did hit my eye. Again, ow. But after rubbing my eye a bit, I kept it going.

After having walked past the Starbucks, slightly in pain, I found some strangers to ask for the exact location of the pizzeria.

“Um, is this the front of the line?” I ask the person nearest to me after entering the store. “Or, rather, the back. Where does the line end?”

Here is fine.” The stranger tells me.

I text and think about my eye for the next few moments until the guy tells me I can order. I move to the counter. No one says anything. The silence stretches, and then a few feet away, I hear the man at the counter asking someone else for their order.

I’m annoyed. So you won’t let me know your there but you’ll move onto and talk to the next guy?

“Are you going to order?” I’m asked finally.

“Yeah,” I say. “Can I have a veggie slice?”

“We have steamed vegetables, is that all you want?”

“Well, a veggie slice with pepperoni.”

“We chicken.” He says. “And rice.”

“Um,” I feel less frustrated now and more confused. “I mean a veggie pizza slice.”

Oh!” He says. “The pizza counter is over there.”

“Where?”

“On the other side of the store.”

“Is that to my left or right?”

“Nevermind. Don’t worry about it.” And he moves around the counter and calls out to another guy that I want a veggie pizza slice.

Evidently, the counter was directly behind me. I continue to wait there though, because the first guy tells me that pizza guy will bring it to me. But as I wait, multiple people  ask if I need help. Even another employee.

“You need help, Miss?” The employee asks.

“No, I’mfine.”

“You know where you are? (insert restaurant name)”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

But as I say that, the first guy tells her that I’ve already ordered.

Why do people think I don’t know where I am? Give me some credit. Blind ≠ clueless.

Eventually, I’m given my pizza and brought to the right counter.

The slice was tasty, but I’m not yet sure if I’ll return. Maybe I should go back on a day of normal energy levels, and when my eyeball (the one that I can see out of, by the way) isn’t gently throbbing.

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)

There are some cool strangers out there

This was originally posted on May 28, 2017, at 5:00 PM on blogger (this was also the last entry posted there).

***

Last Monday, I was on my way home (to my actual home, not the dorm) after my first, and painful final exam of the semester.  I needed to get my eye drops from my mom.  And even though it was one of those days of near continuous rain, I was excited because I was at last finished with U . S.  History class, and for the home-cooked meal I knew awaited me.

My excitement started to dim, however, upon entering the subway and hearing the announcements about train delays and rerouting.  But I took it in stride and decided to stick with the messed up train line rather than walking in the rain to another station.

A few stops before Bowling Green, the last stop in Manhattan, the conductor made an announcement informing us that we wouldn’t know whether or not the train would be heading into Brooklyn until we’d gotten to the stop.  I, and many of the other patrons on the train, were not pleased.  So, as I mentally cursed at myself for my laziness, I got off of the train and planned my next actions.  I knew I could transfer to the train I needed at that station, I just didn’t know where the train was.  But as I adjusted my bag and prepared to ask someone for directions, someone approached me instead.

“Hey,” the person said.  “Are you trying to get to another train?” Or that was the jist of what he asked.

I said yes, told him which train I needed and asked if I could take his arm after he offered to assist me.  As we walked, we talked, about writing, irritation with the train, school, the city.  It was fun (well, as fun as a meandering journey through a big train station can be).  But it was a nice, normal conversation.  He even gave me a few suggestions on how to get into freelance editing.

There was one point, near the end of our interaction, that I thanked him for not taking on that patronizing tone people tend to use with children.  He may have thought it a little odd, but took it in stride.  I don’t encounter many people, strangers in particular, who talk to me as though I’m a normal person.  It’s usually “you’re so brave…” or “I can’t even imagine…” or, even when discussing school or occupation, there’s sometimes a condescending air about the person.  It may not be intentional but its there.

But that’s not the point of the post.  With the many irritating experiences I rant about, I like to acknowledge the good or entertaining moments (like my letter to Margaret and Roman or that time a waiter acknowledged me).  Even if they seem simple or silly.  It’s nice to know that, despite what we’re taught as children, there are some cool strangers out there.

Seriously, Ask The Blind Person… It’s Okay

This was originally posted on February 22, 2016 at 9:00 PM on Blogger.

***

On Saturday, I was going to hang out with some friends after music school.  But I’d arrived at our meeting point earlier than the other two (it took them an HOUR to get there), so I was just hanging around at the station.

I stood, leaning coolly against the side of the staircase, with my cane tucked beneath my left arm and my phone in my right hand.  I was also staring, listlessly, at the yellow warning strip through my lashes (I was really excited when I figured out what that phrase meant).

I was approaching the half hour mark when a woman came up to me.

“Um, excuse me?”

I look around.  The three trains that come to that stop had all recently come and gone so there were very few people at the station.

“Yeah?” I asked, a little hesitant in case she wasn’t speaking to me.

“Yeah, um…” I stopped squinting and turned more fully toward her.  “Oh! I—I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I say, though what I should have said was “for what”.  “What was your question?”

“Oh.” She says.  “I, um, was just, um, wondering how I get to the to Flatbush.” Involuntarily, I raise my eyebrows a little.  As I’m getting ready to tell her I’m not sure how to get there from the station, she clarifies.  “The um Flatbush train.”

“The 2 train,” I ask.  “The Flatbush Avenuebound two?”

“Yes!”  she says.

“Oh,” I say, turning slightly and gesturing down the stairs.  “Just go down, around, then back up.”

“Oh okay.” I hear that hint of surprise and trepidation that colors her tone as she heads down the stairs.  “Thanks.”

“Sure.”

While I realize that this is similar to my other post, wherein I discuss the benefits of asking a blind or visually impaired person for assistance, in that story, I had no idea how to direct the girl, and this time I did.

We really are good people to ask for direction.  More oft than not, we make it a point of knowing exact locations, or we at least have landmarks to look out for (after you pass the garbage, you’re at the right room).  Sometimes I don’t know exactly how many buildings from the corner my destination is, but once I know how to get to the right block, I have no qualms asking questions (or using the map on my phone).  But I can at least point people in the right direction.

Now, I know some Sighteds who give great directions.  They’re really attentive to/aware of their surroundings, they can even give exact direction when exiting train stations (all of that was about my sister, by the way).  But I also know people who can’t even get out whether or not to go right or left while they’re watching you do it (that’s for my other sister, love you!).

But don’t be afraid to ask.  Or, if the blind person offers information, don’t ignore it.

There was another time, a few months ago, as I was waiting to cross a street, I heard a group of women arguing behind me.

“I’m pretty sure it’s that way,” one said.

“Avenue of the Americas? No, I think it might be this way.”

“You’re looking for Sixth Avenue?” I ask, turning slightly toward them.

“No,” one of them said, in a slightly condescending tone.  “We’re looking for Avenue of the Americas.”

“Yeah, Sixth Avenue,” I said, I have sort of elitist tendencies (sometimes) so I matched her tone quite nicely as I pointed them in the right direction.

“Oh, well, thank you,” one of the other said as they headed where I pointed.

For any of my readers not in New York City, I think it is officially called Avenue of the Americas, but (usually) only tourists call it that.  We generally just say Sixth Avenue.

So, in an instance like that, if they’d asked me for a specific address, I couldn’t have helped, but I got them going in the right direction.

Blind (and visually impaired) folk, we’re people too.

I plan for my next post to be the mending of one of many misconceptions about us blind folk. But that may be subject to change if anything particularly noteworthy happens to me. Or you’ll just get two posts.

Well, till next time

Mata ne

(Japanese for goodbye/see you)

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?:

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?”

“Sure.”

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

…Why?

This was originally posted on January 2, 2016 at 12:02 AM on Blogger under the title: I Can’t Think of A Clever Title… But This Post Is A Symbol of My Return to you all.

***

So, I’m on my way to visit my high school and I decide to take a route that I am only familiar with in theory: 6 train to Canal and then get the Q.

So I get off of the six train, and am looking for someone to ask in which direction the downtown Q is.

I find a dude, who directs me to the stairs and then tells me in which direction to go afterward.

Awesome.

Then, as I’m walking down the stairs, I check with some lady to make sure he steered me in the right direction. And the lady assures me that I’m going  the right way.

So I’m thinking “yay, this is going really well. Absolutely swimmingly.” Then I chuckle at myself mentally because I’m such a loser (In the best way possible).😃

So now I’m on the platform and I arbitrarily decide to go left.
“Keep to the left.” Someone cautions a few seconds later, probably thinking that I’m too close to the warning strip. (People and I generally have differing opinions on how close is too close.)

I disregard them and continue walking the way I’m walking until I reach the end of the platform. Then I stop, and turn right to face the track. I’m either al the way in the front or all the way in the back. I probably should have gone to the right so that I could be in the middle. But that’s too much work to walk back in the other direction.

What train  you waiting for?” A tiny Haitian woman asks me (her accent is thick). I can see that she’s wearing a white coat.

“The Q,” I say, worriedly wondering if both people had Ben wrong.

“Oh,” she says, grabbing my fingers. Her hands are small and thick, where mine are bigger and slender. Her hand can only enclose, at most three fingers and just barely touches my palm. “Hold me, hold me.”

So I take her arm instead, and we start walking. As we walk, a Queensbound train arrives across the platform. So, mentally, I’m like, I’m pretty sure this is the right side.

Then we pass the staircase I took, and I think I’m getting an inkling of what’s going  on.

We stop not to long later and she turns us to face the train.
“Good. Here’s a good place to wait.”

This lady seriously move me to a different part of the platform… Where she thought it was a good place to wait. What if I needed to be that far in the front/back?

Then, once the train arrived she tugged on me until I followed her to a seat. I then put my earphones in, and started listening to music. I know the stops, but I also had my music at a volume but I could hear the train in case of any announcements. Two stops or so away from my stop, the lady shakes my shoulder and asks, and what I felt was a fairly aggressive tone:

“You listening to the stops?”

I’m fairly certain she didn’t mean it aggressively, but her tone… And
I was still stunned at her moving me to a different part of the platform

“Yes,” I tell her.

“You sure?” She asks. “Where you getting off?”

“Don’t worry, I got it.”

We go back and forth a little bit longer until she finally gives up and leaves me be.

Well, until next time (i.e. later today.)

Don’t Shout At Someone Standing On The Edge… Everyone Knows That… Right?

This was originally posted on August 13, 2015 at 5:29 on Blogger.

***

This morning, I got off of the 3 train and crossed the platform to wait for the 4.  I thought I saw the train there so I walked all of the way to the yellow warning strip; my cane extended with the intent of hitting the train.  Once my cane made contact, I would trail (drag) it along the side of the train until it found the door, or I saw it.  The only problem was that the train was leaving.

I felt it rolling along my cane (it was too noisy for me to hear), and once I got a little closer, I saw what my cane had already told me.  I pulled back, and just stared at the side of the train with a forlorn expression.

A woman shouted something.  But I missed it.  I wasn’t even sure she was talking to me

“Come this way!” a man’s voice.

I turn around, my cane resting in the crook of my right arm, and the left hand half raised.

“What?”

“Come this way? You’re standing too close.”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“No…”

I never heard the rest of what he said.

My rationale for walking away was, that, well, I was in the back of the train, and I needed to be in the middle.

* * *

Initially, I had been standing on the yellow warning strip (as I watched the train pull away).  But as soon as I realized that it was leaving, I stepped back a little.

I have two train platform stances.  Which one I use, depends on how loud the station is:

If it’s one of the smaller and, consequently, quieter stations I stand more in the center of the platform leaning against one of the poles.  But if it’s a loud, crazy station (like Grand Central), I stand anywhere from the middle of the platform to just behind the yellow warning strip also resting against one of the poles/pillars (for support).

This morning, though, I was not in my customary, “slouched against pillar” position.  I was standing out in the open.

Though I’m pretty sure the guy was shouting at me because of how close I was to the line.  At least I wasn’t on it! What about those people who LEAN OUT OVER THE TRACK? (That drives me insane)

And did he really have to shout? If I was someone who startled easily, I could have taken an involuntary step forward (maybe two involuntary steps, depends on how long my stride was at that moment).  If he’d touched my arm, maybe that would have been better.  But I suppose that could still startle a person.

I dunno.  I guess there’s no real train etiquette, but there should be.  At least try to think of a more soothing way to approach someone standing at the edge.

Maybe a blog on train etiquette will be what rounds out my weekly three posts.  Till then, you should read another of my posts about another train incident.

You Can Only Step On The Sighteds

This was originally posted on August 6, 2015, at 6:52 PM on blogger.com

***

The events in this post occurred two days ago…

So, I’m sitting on the train, book bag on my lap, and my BrailleNote—which is a braille computer—on top of that when a woman gets onto the train. What caused this woman to stand out from the other traingoers, were her repeated “excuse me”’s as she walked past me.

After about a minute or two she stops, and I see her standing near the pole (I assume she’s holding on).

“You can’t just push like that,” A woman with a light voice and Russian accent admonishes.

“Well, it seems like people don’t understand the word ‘excuse me’. So what else I’m supposed to do?” Ms. Excuse Me sounded…well, black.

“Well, I can’t move anywhere. I can’t step on her. She can’t see.”

I look up innocently, my eyes wide. I know that the laughter is written all over my face.

Silence.

So, were I able to see, it would have been perfectly alright to step on me?

*a picture of my BrailleNote is included

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You Have A Lovely face

This was originally posted on July 1, 2015 at 307 AM on blogger.com

***

A few hours after the events in the Blind bitch post,  I’m on the train, on my way home.

I’ve just walked onto the train, and have deliberately bumped some one with my cane to see if she’ll offer me a seat. It’s always interesting to see if people will offer or just ignore me (whether or not I intend to accept). … don’t judge me.

“You want to sit?” The voice sounded old, had an accent, and was coming from behind me.

I turned around.

“Me?”

“Yes. There’s a seat here.”

I walked forward.

“Right at the corner.”

“Here?”

“Yes.”

Thank you.”

I settled in. And began to fold my cane.

The woman seated beside me began talking to the woman in front of us. She was talking about how advanced technology is now. The canes can fold. And something about iPods and iPhones in her day.

“Are you with her?” She asked another woman standing in front of, and a little to the side of me.

“No.”

“Oh. She needs someone with her. An aid.”

I think this was the second time I’ve heard someone say that about me. Why? I’m not disturbing you in my blindness.

“You can see?”

It’s a stop or two later and I assumed that the lady beside me is now talking to me.

“Yeah.”

“You can see enough to get home?”

“Yes. But it doesn’t matter. Even if I couldn’t see at all, I would be fine.” The aid comment hadn’t endeared her to me.

“But you can see a little?” I say yeah again. “You can see out of both eyes?”

“Only a little out of one.”

“Only a little out of one? Oh. I’ll pray for you, okay? You know God works miracles.”

“Why? God does everything for a reason. I’m sure he has his reasons for making me this way.”

“I know but we can still pray. You know He answers prayers and works miracles. He may not answer today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year, but he does. So we can still pray.”

“Yes.”

“That’s what I spend most of my time doing, praying.”

I nodded and mumbled something.

She then told me that this was the second time she was seeing me. I wondered, silently, of course, why I should care. But I continued mumbling things until she fell silent and I turned my music up a little higher.

***

“This is Utica, okay?”

“Okay, thank you.” I already knew which stop it was, but I figured it wasn’t that big a deal.

“And I’ll pray for you.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem. You’re a beautiful girl.”

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, you have a lovely face.”

“Thank you.” Jesus I think. How many times am I going to thank her? “Have a nice day.”

“Yes, you too. Have a lovely evening.”

And she’s gone.

… What?

To quote my peers, “I literally can’t even.”

PS. I’m really excited that I did that link thing. You know, inserting the link to the other post?

Blind Bitch

This was originally posted on July 1, 2015, at 2:25 AM on blogger.com

***

So, yesterday I went to one of two or three orientations for my college. While I didn’t enjoy the ice-breakers, I loved when, while we were in line to get our ID’S, this girl touched my arm before asking me about something from the orientation. I loved that she realized that was all she had to do.

Nice experience, right?

But it wasn’t necessarily interesting enough for me to make a point of blogging. But since I’m writing down the other experience, I thought I might as well start with something pleasant.

Fast forward an hour or so and I’m walking from the F train to my job. I had a guy assist me in finding the stairs (I was heading for a wall) and then going in the right direction once I was above ground (I don’t take the downtown train very often).

Okay, I’ve exited the station and am now walking along the sidewalk, an earpiece in my ear and my cane sweeping back and forth in front of my body.

“You! You need help?” A booming male voice.

Is he talking to me? I think, but then immediately dismiss it until my shoulder is touched, forcefully.

“You need help?”

I shake my head.

“Where are you going?”

“Don’t worry about it,” I say, pleasantly but dismissively. “I’m fine.”

“Where are you going? I’m trying to help you.” Keep in mind that this man is shouting this entire time.

“I’m not comfortable giving you that information. But I’m fine, thank you.”

I start walking away and the guy starts or resumes a phone conversation. I don’t hear all of what he says, but I did catch “blind bitch.”

Interestingly enough, that was not the first time that I’ve been called that.

Some people are just angry (even if they’re trying to be helpful). And others need to work on their approach. Why would I accept help from someone who is shouting at me.

Maybe that was his natural tone of voice. But I still knew where I was going and calling me a bitch was certainly uncalled for.

But, it’s over now.