People are under the assumption that the blind are more likely to be harmed by strangers. This is only partially true. It’s true due to the fact that people believe that blindness equals naive and vulnerable. How do we solve this problem? The key is first to be wise about where and when you travel alone. No one should walk alone at night. In some cases, people may not have a choice. If this is the case, confidence is key. If you look confident, hold your head high and walk at a moderate pace, that will make a drastic difference. If worst comes to worst, be as loud and crazy as possible.You will get someone’s attention or get them to leave you alone. Of course, there are no guarantees and there is no way to determine what predators are after. But if it’s your time to go, don’t go down without a fight. In Dishon’s case, his seeing eye dog is a German Shepherd. Nobody really messes with him. As a married couple, we have agreed that one will be there for the other in situations like these. The same goes for our future children.
For those who are interested, I published a video on my Facebook group this morning. It’s Dishon’s first video and it won’t be the last. So please check it out. Go to facebook.com and search for “Diary of a Married Blind Woman.”
As a Braille teacher, I believe that we don’t have enough Braille in a plethora of places. Don’t get me wrong; we have come a long way. The blind can easily use an elevator, find a hotel room and find the men’s or women’s bathroom thanks to Braille. On top of that, there are multiple sources for Braille books for borrowing and purchasing. But what about restaurants? We’ve come a long way in this area, as well. There’s still work to be done. A lot of chain restaurants have Braille menus which is great. It not only makes it easier for us, but the wait staff, as well. I can almost guarantee that reading the menu front to back is not the most fun thing for a server to be doing. So to the blind community, make it easier on the weight staff by asking for the categories of food if there is no Braille menu. If a category sounds good, then ask for more detail. But how can we help increase the number of Braille menus out there? If you are proficient in Braille, go to a local restaurant that does not have a Braille menu and offer to Braille it for them. I Brailled a menu for a small restaurant in Maryland. Do your first one for free. Don’t get caught up in the money aspect. Do it for the blind community. To all of the servers out there, if anyone asks you to read the entire menu, I assure you, it’s not to be difficult.
A couple of weeks ago I posted that people needed to friend me on facebook in order to be a member of my facebook group. As of today, that has changed. The facebook group Diary of a Married Blind Woman is now open to all!!! Please go to facebook.com and search for “Diary of a Married Blind Woman.” The group is primarily for videos related to this blog. Watch and spread the word!!!
You may not see us driving a car or operating on people, but you will see a lot of us in the water. Swimming is one of my favorite summer activities. I started swimming when I was a little girl and I haven’t stopped. Is it safe? As long as you don’t stay under water too long. Kidding, but seriously, anybody who gets in a pool is taking the same risks. As far as the physical act of swimming, your hands and arms are important. If you’re approaching a wall, your hands will reach it if you swim properly. But what about other people? Well, it’s important to always be considerate and aware of your surroundings as much as possible. For instance: in the diving area of the pool, you do not dive unless everyone has moved aside. One may wonder why I would spell it out so plainly. Well, the overall point is that if we take the same precautions as anyone at the local pool, the chance of injury decreases for everyone. Think about that the next time you play Marco Polo with your friends. Really evaluate how you feel with your eyes closed.
I don’t participate as frequently as I used to, but one thing I love doing is going out for karaoke. Some people really have musical talent, others know they don’t but just get up there for fun. Whatever the case, everyone at least knows one song. But how do we do it? We have to choose songs we know by heart. I’m sure there are folks who can see and don’t need to look at the screen. Last Friday my husband and I did a song by Atlantic Star called Always. It was his first time singing in front of a crowd. I, on the other hand, have been doing karaoke since I was a little girl. Not in bars, but at other family events. If you haven’t tried it, you should. All you have to pay for is your bar tab. If you don’t want to get up there alone, do a group song. Those are great because if you don’t know every word, it’s much easier to fake it.
I was lighting some candles the other night and it made me think about something that happened to me a few years ago here in Colorado. I was living with my father until I could find an affordable place of my own. One Sunday afternoon, I was watching a movie and decided to light a couple of candles. Mind you, I had just gotten out of the shower and had a couple of different hair products in my hair. For those of you who don’t know, hair products are extremely flammable. As I lit one of the candles, a few strands of my hair were hanging just close enough to the flame. The fire spread rapidly from the ends of my hair around the front of my face. I screamed for my dad who was in the living room. He jumped over the coffee table, ran into my room, grabbed my hair and snuffed it with his hands. If that’s not a loving father, I don’t know what is. He hugged me and asked me what I was trying to do. Had he not been there I would have run into my bathroom and turned the shower on. But he was. The moral of this story is, just because we are capable of living on our own doesn’t mean things don’t happen. But these things could happen to anyone. Have you ever heard of a friend holding a cigarette or lighter too close and singeing an eyebrow? Do you know how many fires are started due to a lit candle or cigarette? As the title of this post says, accidents happen. With that, life goes on. All you can do is dust yourself off, or in my case take a second shower to attempt to get rid of the burnt hair smell. I can laugh about it now.
Every year around this time, the Colorado Center for the Blind (along with hundreds of groups and people) participates in the Western Welcome Parade. This year’s parade took place on Saturday, August 17. Everyone marching with the Center’s group always meets at our work and rides in vans to the staging area. Once we’re there, we walk to find our spot. This year, we were pretty close to the front. Once we’ve found our spot, we wait until the parade begins. How do we stay together? While nothing is full proof, we communicate verbally and constantly. We also shout phrases like, “CCB!!” On top of that, we yell if we need to stop, slow down, or start marching again. The most difficult part is avoiding the horse droppings. Sometimes, they’ll have someone standing nearby to direct us around it. Knock on wood. I’ve avoided stepping in it so far. After the parade, some of us worked a booth for a small shift. We had information about the Center and Brailled people’s names on alphabet cards that were up for grabs. Can’t wait for next year.
It’s difficult for anyone to get a job these days.The disabled–the blind in particular–have a lot of difficulty. I have been interviewed for several jobs. How many of them do you think I got? Not many. I thank God every day for my job. But it’s amazing to me how many employers will make the assumption that the blind can’t work. I would like to take a moment of this beautiful evening to reach out to all of the employers out there. Please don’t fear what you don’t know much about. If you are curious about something, feel free to ask. We have alternative ways of performing mundane and challenging tasks. Moreover, technology and Braille are beautiful things. With a combination of the two, a blind person can make an outstanding employer. And even furthermore, hiring a blind or disabled individual who is competent will make a business look good. It truly demonstrates that you are an equal opportunity company. That is written at the bottom of every application I have filled out. Show us that you mean those words. Take a chance. If a person truly appears incompetent, that’s a different story. But I ask all of you, on behalf of the blind community, ask questions. Come to a training center for the blind and observe us working, traveling, using our computers. We can do it.
There is often debate on whether or not married couples should share all of their bank accounts. I feel that there are pros and cons to both. So while Dishon and I do not share all of our accounts, we do have a joint savings account. Separate from that, we each have our own checking and savings accounts. This isn’t to say we don’t rearrange money when necessary. But what about choosing a bank? Well, as blind people, it’s important that we feel we can trust who we’re working with, especially when it comes to our money. I assure you, we don’t go through life with the assumption that no one can be trusted. But everyone knows that sick feeling you get when something probably isn’t right. Luckily, the bank’s we’re with do not give either of us that feeling. We can trust that if we go in there to get cash, the teller will hand us the correct amount. Typically we get one bill at a time or one set of bills of the same value at a time. This way we can fold them. Not all blind people use the same system for that because there’s no wrong way to do it. All that matters is that you know what’s in your wallet.