[bct] Re: Podcast on comparing JAWS and Window-Eyes

  • From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 11:55:19 -0600

Slithy, Your comments about people asking "What does he want," reminds
me of a very unfortunate story.  Yes, I get, "What would he like," every
once in a while.  However, there is actually something worse.  There was
a math professor I used to know who was in a chair.  He and his
attendant was in a store one day and the clerk actually looked at his
attendant and asked, "What would it like?"  To which the professor said,
"well, we could start with a clerk who is smart enough to tell her
merchandise from her customers.  The clerk stormed off in a rage and
brought back the manager who she no doubt thought would do something to
get rid of this inhuman monster in the chair.  The manager fired the
clerk on the spot and sold the professor the product he needed at no
charge.  Chalk up one for the good guys, but I am afraid we often lose
more battles than we win.
By the way, thank you for your kind words on my music and my reading of
the well story.  I hope to do more of both in the near future.  In fact,
I have a concert in about 10 days and I am busily practicing.
Fortunately, in this town, people appreciate good music and no one, not
even me, gets a standing ovation unless it is really good.  I don't
think I'll be taking my tour to Possum Holler.  On the other hand, a bit
of blue grass might get them on their feet to dance rather than to faun
over the pitiful but talented blind man.
-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Slythy_Tove
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 11:39 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Podcast on comparing JAWS and Window-Eyes

Oh, no, Neal, I don't suspect anyone particularly find you to be blind
and pitiful.  I simply have heard so many comments over the years from
people who expostulated about the blind (isn't that just a pitiful thing
- poor man/woman - can you imagine being like that?)  or the deaf (hey,
look at the dummy!  What a retard!).  Society, in general, would rather
the disabled be out of sight and out of mind and probably would be happy
if we had huge institutions to lock folks away again.  

I remember a really crass woman in a restaurant making a fuss because my
sister took her daughter, who had serious brain damage from a warm water
drowning, out to eat with us.  The woman kept making nasty remarks about
how disgusting it was to take something like that out in public and I
had one of my Mt. Vesuvius moments and let her have it.  We got in quite
a shouting match and, interestingly enough, the restaurant asked her to
leave, not us.  Score one for the good guys.

I know what it is like to be treated differently in that when I was a
child many folks thought I was Indian (as in Native American) because of
my dark hair and skin and in North Dakota and Idaho being Indian is was
a chancy thing back then.  Or they thought I was Mexican (including the
Mexicans) when I could not speak a lick of Spanish.  My Mom was part
something - part what is open to debate - black, asian - something that
is decidedly a "person of color" so people never knew what to make of
me, but in little towns where Mom is the "donut lady" and Dad is "the
judge" I was pretty much left alone.  In Alaska I was routinely
considered Native Alaskan or outside Indian, but over the years in the
land of sunlight coming from in from a slant I seem to have lost much of
my ingrained pigmentation and no one thinks I look anything but white

Yeah, there is a lot of that "look what the blind person can do" stuff
that goes around.  ; Dan has been insulted a time or two when people
marvel that he can sign his name.  They don't realize they are being
rude - they just have no concept how anyone who is blind can function at
all because they can't imagine it.  And then there is the "Stevie
Wonder" or "Ray Charles" syndrome where it is just so amazing.  (sigh)

At law school one of the teachers is in a power chair with a progressive
neuromuscular illness.  My kid spent time in a chair so I both could
talk chair technicalities with him and also see him as a human being who
happened to be in a chair.  We have often commisserated over the fact
that as soon as you go into a chair you lose your identity as a human
being and become the chair.  People would walk up to me and say, "What
is wrong with her?" to which I'd respond, "Why don't you ask her?  She's
not deaf."  People will do the same thing with Dan and I'll generally do
the same thing, "Ask him.  He's blind, not deaf."  People are so darn
intimdated by anything other than totally normal - whatever that is. 

I can believe you were on tour.  You are a gifted musician and I loved
your Christmas music, especially your own compositions. 


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