Category Archives: Rants

Shopping With A Blind Female Attitude

Hey guys,

So this post is one I asked my friend Milica to write. It’s an expansion on an angry text she sent me on Monday after shopping with her mom and cousin. It’s long but, especially for either parents of visually impaired children, or just people who don’t really know how to treat the blind, you might want to give it a read.

Or if your just a fellow VIP looking to commiserate over the Sighteds and their unknowingly condescending ways, read on.

***

I got my period today, and yes that is relevant, or rather, my cramps are relevant to this story.

I told my mom, at some point today, that I’d like to go clothes shopping. I hadn’t specified exactly when, but thought she understood that today wouldn’t be the best time. The  idea  of clothes shopping was exhausting, and with the added aches and pains,  I knew it would be miserable for everyone involved. I’d only mentioned it because I’d been mentally going through my closet and realized it needed some new additions.

It seems she didn’t’ get the memo though, because later tonight, she tells me we’re going out. I didn’t really wanna go cause I’d already had two pills today and they didn’t help much. But I went anyway. And, as expected, I was miserable.

We went from store to store, and they were all cluttered with clothes, as clothing stores get. The lights were also painfully bright for my eyes (I  had forgotten my special light filtering sunglasses). And, of course, the cramps. Those ever present, attention seeking, evil cramps. So like I said, I was miserable. I didn’t mean to be. But I just couldn’t be enthusiastic about even the things I liked because hormones.

So basically, the whole shopping part of the evening consisted of my mom and cousin looking for stuff and asking me if I liked  it and me telling them to go ahead and buy it if they thought it was good because I couldn’t care either way. I was following behind them lifelessly and mostly relying on sighted guide—the technique used to guide blind people—as I didn’t’ have the energy or willpower to use my vision.

When we’re finally finished, my mom goes to the bathroom and my cousin, Sofija and I make our way over to one of the mall’s cafes. As we’re sitting there, waiting for my mom and eating our cakes, one of the cleaning ladies comes over to us.

“Prijatno,” she starts, using the Montenegrin equivalent of bon appétit. “Is it delicious? Is she your sister?”

I was sitting by the edge closer to her, and Sofija was sitting by the window on my other side. But of course she wasn’t talking to the blind girl. Still I answered anyway:

“yes we are sisters.” (cousin and sister can be used interchangeably in Montenegrin.) She hadn’t given us time to answer about the cakes.

Sadly, when I answered, so did Sofija. I’d forgotten to train her to direct people talking to her about me to talk to me instead.

As the lady continues talking to us,  asking little questions about us, she uses this “poor blind girl tone” that a lot of people use with and around me. And by the time she’s gone, Sofija is completely weirded out.

“Yes,” I tell her. “This is why I get frustrated with people on a daily basis. And you think I’m crazy.”

As great a relationship as  I have with her, she is one of the people in my life who constantly tells me that I’m too mean to the nice people who wish me well.. Even though I, not she,  am the one living my life and getting overly eager helpful souls  forcing assistance and  their feelings about my disability onto me in the most ordinary situations. So her shocked reaction made the woman’s condescending approach a little more bearable. At least Sofija was finally getting it. And while this would be a great, happy place to stop, my story doesn’t end there. My mom comes back, and that’s where everything gets crazy, and infuriating, and just… grrrrrrr!!!!

Sofija and I tell her what happened, and she tells us that the woman had also approached and talked to her.

“She has 2 blind girls and one doesn’t even want to  go outside because  she is sensitive to light. She was in an accident.” The lady went on to say  that she saw me being miserable and robotic when we were shopping earlier, (because of cramps but she doesn’t know that), and she tells my mom: “I see she doesn’t want you to buy her anything, but you should always buy her things”. As my mom told us the story, she imitated the woman’s “love your daughter even though she’s like this” tone. And when she’s finished telling us about the lady’s troubles, she comments, “you know, poor woman, she’s working for practically nothing as a cleaning lady and those children don’t have any opportunities”—and so on—”so she doesn’t know any better.”

No,, I am not a completely heartless human being. I understand that people have struggles. But I still can’t accept that you’re a mother of 2 blind kids, no matter how uneducated or poor you are. You should still be able to realize that you disable your children more with your attitude.

Next, my mom calls her over to talk some more, and she tells us about how much her daughters don’t want to go out.

I really wanted to say something, but I had a strong suspicion that no matter what I said, all she’d think was “aww, poor, thing, she speaks, so cute.”

But it must be in my DNA or something to fight for my causes, because I speak up anyway and ask if she had tried glasses.

“oh sweetie, she’s too ashamed. Bless you.” And then she puts  her hand on my face… to pet me!

I instinctively pulled back, and asked her to please not do that.

My mom and Sofija tried to explain that her touching  me was just an endearment in Montenegrin  culture. But I guess I’m an alien in both Montenegro, where I’m from, and the United States, where i’ve been studying for about nine years. I say that because it seems like I’ve picked up the American custom of not wanting to be touched endearingly by strangers. Although, interestingly,, even Americans seem to completely disregard their own habits when interacting with visually impaired people. Does everyone suddenly become European when they talk to blind people then? Cool.😂

As soon as Sofija  heard that the woman was a cleaning lady with 2 blind kids at home, she betrayed me, suddenly becoming fine   with the woman’s  behavior. I thought she had finally started to understand. But I suppose I will need a few more encounters to happen around her for her to truly get it.

We tried, through a few more exchanges, to get the woman  to start encouraging  her daughter, but quickly realized that it  wasn’t  going to go anywhere in that short a time. So we asked her a few more questions about her daughters, like how old they were and things like that. And after a bit more small talk, she  said that she was glad to have met us and went back to her life.

The entire time after that was spent with them trying to get me to sympathize by explaining her probable situation. They told me how rude I was for pulling away, instead of letting her touch me.

And I was annoyed about the fact that  she saw me looking like a  lifeless thing being dragged around the mall. I try so hard to be seen as a person first, and blind person second. But not only was I using sighted guide (and barely even caring about the information I got from my cane), I was also acting… not normal. And that just continues the image she probably has about helpless blind people. And because of how I let myself be portrayed, she refused to take me seriously. To care about my advice as if I were another human being, and not this blind creature who deserves pity.

I had these crazy thoughts of just going back up to her and  shouting everything at her in frustration and explaining myself, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. She caught me on a bad day, but even if she hadn’t, I doubt it would have changed much. Just seeing a girl walk around a mall wouldn’t be enough to help her learn something that people, especially parents of visually impaired children, take years, various resources, and supportive specialists working with the family to learn.

We returned home  with my mood improved only slightly. I knew that they, my mom and Sofija, didn’t deserve my attitude, but they also couldn’t understand me either.

So, I opted for writing this here instead.

I guess the main idea of the story here is that I can’t make everyone understand and that there are multiple points of view to every story. It is  also extremely unfortunate that Montenegro as a country that doesn’t have the resources to properly help and teach families about how to do the best they can for their disabled child. As a result, many kids aren’t even sent to school and don’t get to live out their life anywhere near to their full potential.

I have other blind friends from Montenegro who have more or less grown up into functional adults,. Though, that could only happen  because their parents either had the resources to learn from what is done in other countries, or had the willpower, motivation, and determination to challenge their kids.  By doing this, these parents  allowed  their kids to explore their childhood and even get hurt—just like sighted kids—in the process so that they can learn to be independent and learn to get used to living normally with their condition.

I feel that, since sighted people view living without vision as incredibly frightening, they overprotect their children in order to make something they view as terrifying more bearable for themselves, and convince themselves that it’s what’s best for their kids. But what, sadly, doesn’t occur to these parents  is that because so much of a child’s learning happens through  visually observing others, by overprotecting them, they are essentially denying their cognitively normal functioning children a chance to learn about the world around them. It would be absurd, to a sighted parent to let their blind child explore the world around them with the other four, presumably finely working, senses. It’s too dangerous. And since the parent is afraid,  their child must be too. Or the parent’s fear molds the child into a helpless, nervous, creature instead of the strong individual they could be.

Sometimes, I realize, blind kids are born with additional disabilities. But if you’re kid’s only impairment is his or her vision, don’t limit them because you can’t fathom living like that. You’re not. Your kid is. What’s going to come of them if something happens to you? Should they rely on other people to take care of them their whole lives? You wouldn’t allow that of your sighted child, would you?

So, I understand what my mom and cousin meant when  they said that people who don’t have a lot of opportunities are more likely to treat their disabled child in the way the woman treated me. It makes me sad, it really does. But I get it, or try to. But with that said, I still firmly believe that everyone has the potential to make their own conclusions. Even if they don’t have the resources to provide their kids with screen reader enabled technology or lessons in life skills from a certified professional, they can make their own observations and conclusions about what their own child can do without giving into despair, and setting the bar too low instead of too high. Even if a child doesn’t end up getting an academic education, through acceptance and willingness to communicate, I believe it is possible to at least fully integrate the child into the lifestyle of the family, even if that simply means expecting them to do chores and speaking to them in a way a parent might speak to a child without a disability. And not like a cherished pet.

I hope that by sharing my experience, I have helped you understand why this kind of treatment, no matter who  it comes from, mostly only does one thing, and that is  to lower someone to a level that is less than human.

So, with that I encourage you to, as Lily has undoubtedly said many times, think about how your actions, good-intentioned though they may be, might come off to someone who likely already has a grasp on living with a disability. And if you are wondering about how in the world we blindies get by in the world, well,  feel free to explore the rest of the blog and the accompanying youtube channel.

PS. If you or someone you know is a parent of a blind or visually impaired child and don’t know where to start. this is a good starting point with some basic information. If that’s the case then good luck, stay strong, and believe in yourself and the  child..

***

If you enjoyed Milly’s post, check her out on Twitter here. She Tweets as the mood strikes her, which means you can expect anything from Youtube likes and her thoughts on anime characters, to college struggles and #BlindPeopleProblems.

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)

I Miss Making Rolie Polie Olies

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

***

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

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

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.

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.

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.

If Children Are Required To Use Their Words, Then Shouldn’t You, Too?

This was originally posted on April 27, 2015 at 11:00 AM on Blogger.com
***

I’m not an animal, guys. Use your words. Although, some people do have full out conversations with their pets… and I guess I am an animal (we all are), a domesticated one, too. So does this negate my whole argument?…

Anyway, as I stepped onto the Q train today, I awkwardly fumbled for the pole. In the process of doing this, I probably nearly kayoed someone with my flailing hand. But I did eventually find it.

But, by that point, the person had gotten up. I thought I’d seen it (the person rising irritably) but I second-guess my vision a lot so I just continued holding the pole.

Then, for a second, I thought I heard a muttered “you can sit.” But I was not certain so I did what most people do when they are unsure: nothing.

In the next seconds my arm is shoved and I believe I heard “sit.”

Is that how you would treat the old lady crossing the street? Unless your goal is thievery (or worse) would you just grab at her and force her across the street? Or would you ask first?

I’ve never helped that old lady. I’ve probably bumped into them.So it’s a genuine question.

I don’t know how many times I was dragged to a seat or shouted at to sit. Countless people have told me that it would make them feel better were I seated, even after explaining that I only have one or two stops, or that I just don’t want to sit.

Why do I care what soothes your nerves? Maybe standing soothes mine.

The only thing wrong with me is my vision (and I am a bit strange but that’s something you only figure out after becoming friends with me:). I get that the vision thing may seem like this huge barrier (I’m a little awkward around other disabled people). But all of our basic composition is the same.

Just Another Day On The Bus (the events in this post occurred LastFriday Afternoon)

This was originally posted on March 9, 2015 at 9:29 AM on Blogger.com

***

“God bless you,”  a hoarse, slightly Caribbean-accented voice says from beside me.

Is he talking to me? I wonder.

“Um, thank you,: I reply tentatively.

“Yes, bless you and I will pray for you.”

“Thank you,” if confusion only tinted my tone before, it was now fully colored in with a bright orange Crayola.

“I’ll ask God to help you get your sight back.”

Where’d it go? is what I think. I never had twenty/twenty but neither am I fully blind. Sure, I lost a bit of vision (I didn’t take my drops for a few years), but again, what exactly are you giving back…? What I say aloud, however, is another mumbled thank you.

Then a group of my raucous peers (otherwise known as teenagers, clamber onto the bus.

“Yo I  think there’s a blind girl on tha bus,” a male voice.

Oh yeah? Where is she? I think to say belatedly.

“Look at her,” a female voice not to far from me.

“How does she do that?” Her friend asks.

How did I know they were talking about me? one might wonder.

“I think she textin'” says Girl One.

“And she not even lookin’!” was the brilliant reply of Girl Two.

Then, a few stops later, Hoarse Voice tells me to stay strong and that he would be praying…

sigh.

People are so contradictory.  They  say that everything happens for a reason, right? God has his reasons for doing everything? So why do you persist in trying to change it? Why am I brave for smiling and laughing. How am I any braver than the woman standing before me whose “problems aren’t so clear-cut?

But that rant is for another post.