For as many people who are amazed with what and how I do things being blind, I sometimes find me asking myself why don’t I find it amazing.
Often I am told that I am an intelligent and interesting person and most find the way I do things or rather how I do things a miracle or at least inspiring. I guess this is because going from a sighted life to a blind life would strike fear in most people so they are simply unable to grasp the concept of being blind and believe me, it shows in people’s actions all too often. I am not putting down or insulting anyone but rather want to provide a perspective of a blind person observing a sighted person trying to interact with a blind person.
The human mind has always fascinated me with all the complexities, contradictions, and compositions of thoughts and actions. I see the human mind, not to be confused with the brain, as the most misunderstood component of a human being. Misunderstood because most people aren’t willing to admit even the most simplest of truths to themselves so they project their misgivings onto the subjects they judge. This can and has led to arguments, debates, confrontations, violence, hate, and fear.
Foe me, life is really simple when you accept life for what it is and you deal with whatever comes whenever it comes. Some would say live in the moment but being that the mind is not that Zen, we force ourselves to try and achieve something that is not natural. However, there are those that being one with everything or living in the moment, or harmonious does come natural. The simple plain fact is that no two people are the same in their thoughts. Look at identical twins for example. Most wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart when they are together but hang out with one of them at a time and people are able to determine whose who simply by their attitude, speech patterns, and thought processes.
Life is no different for me then it was before I lost my sight. Sure I have the frustrations of life like anyone else, trying to find an employer who will hire a blind person that isn’t an organization for blind people hiring blind people, computer issues, etc. etc. For the most part we live very similar lives with similar worries. I didn’t take blindness as something that happened to me. I took it as just another part of life and I had to learn something new.
Watching people trying to interact with me can sometimes be just as frustrating for me. I have bad days like anyone else and to add public blindness educator time on top of it just dampens any good mood that may arise. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching people about blindness and teach people to offer help to a blind person because there are those blind people out there that will bite your head off for asking claiming you are impeding their independence or some other inconsiderate remark. When you come across these types just remember that maybe next time you’ll get a nice blind person. Yes, even we super human blind people can be assholes.
What I had to learn early on was that most people do have good intentions and truly do want to help so both sighted and blind people walk a thin line most of the time. Sometimes we do want help and sometimes we’d rather just tackle it ourselves. Sometimes we get irritated that no one is coming to assist and yet other times we are livid that someone interrupted us when we clearly had the situation under control even though it was a five way intersection with two lines of rail tracks and no audible walk signals or curb cuts… eh hm, San Francisco.
I think sometimes it comes down to a superiority complex to some minor or even major extent. How many times have you seen some guy run across a busy street in the rain to where an elderly woman and a younger beautiful woman stood waiting for a break in rain or traffic? Who do you think more times than not the guy will think with the wrong head? Trust me, this isn’t specific to men because I have experienced this with women as well. Point being is that what are they thinking when they go to offer someone in need of help?
This is what I mean by accepting the plain truth and accepting things for what they are internally in our souls.
This is a two way street for all interactions between two people which is communication and don’t blame the other for their emotions and don’t accept their emotions as yours.
For a blind person, don’t just grab a blind person and pull them across the street because you never know which blind martial arts champion black belt you just grabbed.
One thing that I feel sympathy for the sighted populous is the blind people that think they are entitled because they are blind. I call this “The Blind Bubble” because they are locked away in their little fantasy world where everything will be taken care of for them. These people need to read H. G. Well’s Valley Of The Blind to hopefully break that tiny world of theirs.
I consider myself very fortunate. I have a loving family, some great friends, and animals love me no matter the species, well… that I know of so far. I’ve never hung out with a duck billed platypus but I hear their teeth are stingers and kill you. Talk about a temper! For the most part, I can call a number of people at anytime to get some help with something that’s not working on the computer due to accessibility issues which is a lot more than I can say for a higher up at the ADA office in Berkeley that still hasn’t even acknowledged my email about a denial for service. And these people are supposed to protect the rights of disabled persons? Funny how the world works and even more humorous how the human mind works.
“Ask not what a blind man sees, ask what a sighted man does not see.” D. Ryan circa 2006 AD