A SERIES OF AWKWARD ENCOUNTERS WITH A GIRL ON THE EDGE OF ORDINARY

This week at work, one of those incredibly awkward blind moments happened to me. I was trying to walk around someone and didn’t see that the person had actually stopped in front of me to smile and wave… He then just assumed that I was rude until others explained that I am blind and could therefore not see his “hello wave”. Anyway, that got me thinking of other blind moments and while some leave me laughing a little at how uncomfortable it was for everyone involved including me, others annoy me to wits end. What follows is the most awkward things about being me.
While there are so many to choose from, my mind keeps circling back to a few particular incidents, that happen over and over again and every time is just as bad as I remembered.
1 No matter where I go, someone always wants to pray for me. I was walking home from campus one night and a girl came running after my boyfriend and I, practically begging us to let her pray for us. After a drawn out argument about this, we finally just said no and as we were walking away, she kept yelling after us: “BUT HE HEALS!”. Unfortunately, this happens everywhere, on trains and buses, in the streets and in shops. These people never ask what I’d like them to pray for, always just assuming that there can’t possibly be anything worse in my life than not being able to see. We won’t even get started on the religious side of all this, because what I believe or don’t believe, is nobody’s business but mine…
News flash friends, blindness is all I’ve ever known. Have you even considered that being able to see all of a sudden after years of not seeing, might not be an adjustment I want to make? Blindness is not fun, I know this, but I do not hate my life, and naïve as this might sound, I think that I am exactly as I should be, because my life has a purpose and I am not afraid of living with a disability… My blindness is not the boogeyman. Apart from the fact that I just don’t want to be prayed for, these people have often endangered my safety as well as theirs… It is not a good idea to grab a person who cant see you by the arm and start manhandling them to get your attention. “I’ll give you a hint, one or both of us might get hurt.
2 My guide dog is exactly that… A guide. You cannot whisper directions to him expecting him to get me there and then walk away absolutely delighted with your ability to solve a problem without having to interact with the crazy blind lady. Luca did not understand you, he didn’t lick your face as a “okay I gotya thanks”, it was probably more a “hello stranger, do you have a treat?” lick and the result of that completely idiotic moment we all shared, is that I will still have no idea where to go, so thank you, I probably ended up being late for something.
3 The good old myths… No, I do not want to touch your face, my hearing is quite average and anything you saw on Daredevil is a lie!!! I do not arrange my money in a special way. The only time I have ever counted my steps was once when someone wanted to pray for me and I couldn’t think of any other way to get rid of them… I got so into the counting that I forgot to check in with my cane, tripped, fell down a curb and swore so badly that who ever wanted to pray for me, left in a hurry, probably deciding that I am a lost cause… He didn’t even help me up before getting out of there. So in a way, I guess it worked.
4 That time I was asked how I dress myself and how I don’t end up looking like a confused chameleon… Oh who am I kidding, that wasn’t just one time. Depending on how much time I have, my answers range from the truth, which is that I know which colors go together and I am practical when I buy clothes, to ridiculous stories of how Luca taps his paw once if I look okay and madly starts chasing his tale when I don’t, I never even bother with the “how I dress myself” part of the question, even a child knows the difference between a shirt and pants and just because people often talk to me like I am 3 years old, does not actually mean that I am a child.
5 When people point at things and I am expected to know what we are talking about or when they hand me a form for my signature only to realize that I can’t see… “full disclosure, sometimes I just sit there, letting that moment of “oh shit what now” envelop us completely, before I inform them that if they place my finger on the line and provide me with a pen, I’d be happy to sign.” You may be wondering, how could I do something like that? Well it is funny and people should learn that it isn’t nice to assume things about others.
Perhaps you are wondering how I always manage to get myself in these situations, the truth is, that it happens more often than you would think. I don’t know a disabled person who doesn’t have similar stories to share and while it is sad and hilarious at the same time, every time it happens, I am reminded that I have a long way to go before I can pack the blind jokes in, because without them to deflect those uncomfortable moments, most strangers are still left flustered in my presence.

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17 thoughts on “A SERIES OF AWKWARD ENCOUNTERS WITH A GIRL ON THE EDGE OF ORDINARY

  1. So glad that round here the “I’ll pray for you” strangers are few and far between! This did make me giggle especially the fashion conscious guide dog idea hehe. so many times making light of my disability is the only way I can get away from peoples pity without either ranting at them or bursting into tears, I may not be blind but I can so relate to this! xx

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    1. I am simultaneously relieved and disgusted that we share the same experiences everywhere. I have tried ranting but it was exhausting, so chin up and laugh it off, is the strategy I settled on. It keeps me sane. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post! 🙂 Oh yes, I think all of us have at least a few such stories. A lot of things came to my mind as I was reading about your experiences. I find it pretty odd that this thing with people praying for you happens to you so often and it is sooo ridiculous. 😀 It has happened to me too, I even have a cousin who prays every day for me to have my sight “regained” (while I’ve never had it before). 😀 I don’t have anything against people praying for me, I am Christian, so, yeah, that’s very kind of you, but there are tons of other things about me you could include in your prayers that my blindness, which is something I’ve always lived with and wouldn’t like to change it now, after so many years without it. I’ve heard a story about a guy who had a surgery and became sighted after years and he was just so overloaded with stimuli his brain couldn’t interpret. That sounds so scary for me. I do’t even know how it actually is to see, so hOW CAN I miss it? I’ve even had offers from people inviting me for different healing services and they were so very surprised when I refused to take part in them, as if I was insane or something. You’re right, I guess people just can’t imagine how someone who is blind can actually live without thinking about it constantly and grieving they’re not normal for their entire lives. Sure, the situation is much worse if someone has lost their sight later on, but as you are a child, you can adjust to almost everything.
    Hahaha I don’t have a guide dog, but all these stories about guide dogs having some very interesting abilities always make me laugh, I just can’t quite get it from where people take these ideas? 😀 ‘Cause they’re plain stupid, but at least we have something to laugh at. 😀
    Stories about blind people having super hearing or touch abilities or any other “superpowers” like that are funny and greatly annoying too. One of my teachers could be a great example of such thinking. And, ugh, touching people’s faces… who has come up with it? Gosh you can’t have almost any information from doing it. Even if I’ll know how many wrinkles a person has, I won’t know anything interesting and important about them. Plus it’s sooo embarrassing. 😀 Unless it’s someone close to me, I sometimes do touch faces of people I’m very very close to and I want to do it and I know they wouldn’t have anything against, usually it’s my sis. In other cases the description of how someone looks would be definitely enough, we do have imagination and can deduce a lot of things just like anyone else. I also hate the myth about all the blind people being greatly musically talented. Sure I love music, but that’s about it, even if I am maybe somewhat musical myself.
    One of the people I know that works with blind children told me she once had a conversation with an elderly lady in the buss and she told her what’s her job. And this lady was like “What? Oh my God, it has to be such a tiring job! You have to dress them, feed them all, oh, you are blessed, you have the patience of angel…” etc. etc. 😀 What a pity I haven’t heard it on my own.
    Other than that, I also have a deep feelings for people calling Braille a language and those who assume that if I’m blind, I have to also be deaf, mute, mentally retarded and not able to walk. 😀
    This is such a great idea for a post, maybe as I’ll get more time on my hands, I’ll steal it from you and write about my own adventures. 😀

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    1. I. Would love to read about your adventures. I mostly dislike the prayers because it feels like those people tell me that I am not good enough as I am and once they pray for me, they will feel much better about themselves so its really not about me at all. I don’t like to touch faces, it is like you say embarrassing and well iwon’t like it if someone touched my face. People sure are creative, I’ll give them that. I really don’t like it when others imply that you must be. So kind to willingly spend time with me… and you are right, if only those people would say some of these things in our presence.

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