[bct] Re: Eating Out

  • From: "jeff" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 15:32:56 -0600

Eric,

I would just like to comment that one must allow for individuality and individual experience. I, personally, have no problem handling any kind of food you want to put in front of me, but, if I were out on a luncheon or dinner meeting with business associates, I might be more mindful of the messiness of the food I order. How do you know that you didn't drip any sauce or soup on yourself? Sure everyone, including blind and sighted alike, tries not to do so, but it happens, and the sighted person looks down at their shirt and then excuses themselves to the restroom to clean it up. I'd just rather be ordering something that doesn't present this possibility. Also, most of this kind of stuff depends on experience. You must have been allowed to experience these things from an early age. Many blind people are not exposed to these things when they are young and some things not experienced can become anxiety producing. My friend, Richard, who I used to see at work, is blind and he has parachuted and bunji-jumped I wouldn't try that stuff if you paid me. If you are confident in your abilities, it may seem ridiculous to you that other blind people don't always want to do things that you, me, or someone else might take for granted, but, I'll bet that if I looked closely enough, I could find things that you might not want to try that others find very simple. I was in Atlanta over the weekend and went to their light-rail system to go downtown. When I was walking along the track area, my sighted friend yelled for me to stop. I stopped and was confused, I can get around pretty darned well and don't like being told what to do. As it turns out, their electrified tracks are about 4 or 5 feet down from the floor and run in a 12 foot wide cut out groove in the floor. Had I continued on, I'd have found out, the hard way, that there are no railings or anything else to stop one from falling right into this drop off. Even though I carry a cane, it wouldn't have helped me. I couldn't possibly walk slowly enough to have allowed enough reaction time to stop as soon as my cane slipped over the edge. Yes, blind people who live there probably know how to navigate these places, but after that, I let someone else lead me through the rail areas. When you get down to the level where these rails run, you are on a piece of floor between two big slots like this and I would never have been able to trust myself to do it alone. Something like that probably takes some purposeful training to become adapted to it. My point is that new things, like this, can be scary and we don't know what others have been exposed to in their lives. Of course, you could teach someone to swim by throwing them off a bridge. Not my method of choice. My mother learned in exactly this way. She is a good swimmer but now hates the water. I hope you get my point. In Yellowstone Park, I walked a 1 foot wide ledge around a jagged cliff just to see a waterfall. I had someone in front of me to warn me of the terrain and someone behind me to watch my foot placement. I wouldn't blame someone else for telling me, "you are crazy". At the time, it seemed worth it. I'm still not going to parachute though.

I am blind, I find taking apart a PC and rebuilding it very simple, my friend, has someone come over and fix hers when problems arise. I sometimes work on my truck and make repairs. I use power tools. I do lots of things that others might not want to try. Others do lots of things that I might not want to try. That is why we reach out to learn about new things. Until I heard Larry's recording of going through a haunted house and maze, I honestly never would have thought of trying it. Now, I want to find what is available next year in my area. I am not intending to sound too defensive, but it is easy to forget that your obvious excellent abilities should allow you to teach others, not put them down. Teaching each other is the only way we are all going to get the most out of life. Sometimes, just finding out that other blind people do something or have done something will give me the confidence to try. Not all of us are the Christopher Columbus type, we are the settlers that come in after the explorers tell us it is safe to do so. There is no shame in that.

Jeff


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