Welcome, One and all … and Two, as well, if you’re present — delighted to have you on-board! If you’re unfamiliar with my work (oh, such work…), I’m L — lovely to make your acquaintance. May I ask your name?
… I can’t hear you and I’m not interested.
I am … Probably.
Anyway, I write blog posts — no shit Sherlock –, and I pride myself on being an edgy emo who’s kinda-really-into (obsessed with) Europe. I live in the UK (technically Europe), but we are easily the most boring of the European countries — look at Sweeden, guys! I don’t usually introduce myself in every blog post, but that word count doesn’t increase by itself y’know.
several posts back, I wrote about a big change in my life; just over 4 weeks ago now, I started training with a guide Dog: oh yeah, I’m blind — querky, right? I’ve been regularly posting updates on my Twitter, to keep you all up-to-date on how it’s all going. Well, this morning, we went out, completely on our own, for the very first time, for a walk that lasted about 20 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but let me explain the bigger picture:
I’ve been blind for close to 10 years, and yes THIS is the bit where I start my X Factor audition … “and all my family ire dead”.
No, no …
I’ve used a cane — long white stick — to help me get around ever since I lost my sight (where did I put it, silly me), which I use confidently, effectively and comfortably. Training with a guide Dog, therefore, is far from straight forward: learning to put my absolute trust in another living thing has proved a real challenge for me, but a hurdle that I must overcome, so that I can have confidence in my dog to keep me safe when out and about. Trusting a dog with your safety when you have absolutely no sight is such a huge leap from trusting your own mobility skills to keep you safe; it’s like handing over control, giving away some of the responsibility to someone else. And it’s so important that I trust my dog with that responsibility, however tough that is, and however many trust issues I have without mixing a dog into things. And don’t get me wrong — I’m getting there; we’re getting there, and despite the challenges, I’m loving every minute of the training process, of bonding with this cute, super-intelligent and amazing animal.
going out alone is such a big step, both for my confidence and for my dog’s confidence too, and despite my initial anxiety and uncertainty, it went really really well, and I can actually say that … I enjoyed it! There were some roadworks and bizarrely-parked cars, which we had to work together to get by (they weren’t there before, so I had to use ‘problem solving skills’…), but we did it, and I was — and still am — really proud of the pair of us.
So that’s brilliant …
There are loads of things about being blind that, unless you have first-hand experience of them, you re unlikely to ever even consider. One of these is how blind people manage in coffee shops — how do you safely naviage your way around the shop, order, pay for and collect your coffee, and then effectively depart from the shop, if you have no eyeballs? Isn’t it lucky that I’m here, to give you a helpful guide — you should try it! Find A starbucks, stand outside the door, close your eyes and vow not to open them again until you depart the store; go on, you know you want to!
How to Manage Coffee shops If You Forgot Your Eyeballs At Home
1. Enter the coffee shop. It will be invariably noisy, with cheesy music playing that APPARENTLY (according to dodgy psychologists) makes you ‘more likely to buy stuff’. Bullshit — it’s just there to drown out the sobs of those who have woke from their trance, realised where they’re working (Starbucks), and want to give up there and then — HAPPY WEEKEND, ALL!
2. Wave your arms in front of you like a crazed blind person, until you wack a hard surface that could be a counter; you skiped the queue, but it’s fine — blind people go through enough, right?
3. Speak loudly and clearly: the member of staff will run over, tell you you’re talking to a window, at which point you’ll awkwardly realise that you in fact found the window-sill, not the counter, and that you now have a crowd of bemused shoppers staring at you from the street one pane of glass away.
4. Reorder coffee. I find Frappuccinos to be particularly enjoyable, but I won’t dictate your beverage choice.
5. Explain politely that, despite being blind, you are able to use a credit card machine. “How do I know my pin? Why … I forgot blindness infects the memory, my mistake. Many apologies.”
6. Use hoiling hot/ice cold beverage as a sort of fly-swatter, to get safely to the door of the shop without being waylaid by The Sighted. Try not to spill any of your drink; coffee shops are overpriced, and you want to get every last drop of that drink at that kinda price.
I really hope you enjoyed this potentially too-blind-focussed post: I enjoyed the HOUr AND A HALF it took me to write it: it’s fine, I have nothing else to do with my pathetic excuse of a life, trust me!
Thank You … For The Music?