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Monday, February 23, 2009

Are Sighted People Blind?

For those of you who are blind or deaf-blind, have you ever
noticed that sighted people seem to be blind? Sure, they
can see... and yet, they still act like they are blind.
They miss so much with their perfectly functioning eyes. I
don't get it.
For example, take what happened to me on campus today. I
was walking down the hall in the Languages building. I use
a forearm crutch for balance and support. It's silver but
my physical therapist put white tape around the top and
used red tape on the tip. We hoped that it would be enough
for the general public to recognize that I'm blind. On my
other side, I use a long, white guide cane for the blind.
If someone misses the message from the tape on the crutch,
they should definitely recognize the white guide cane. Or
at least, that's what I think.
When I move through a building, I walk on the far right
side of the hall and tap my cane against the wall. This is
called shore-lining. If I don't have something to follow, I
don't know where I am. I can't walk in a straight line to
save my life.
As I walk down the hall, I often hit people with my cane.
It's not my fault. How can I know they are there until my
cane hits them? It used to really bother me. I would say
"I'm sorry" and "excuse me" to every single student. Now
I'm used to it and just keep on going. If I'm in a really
bad mood, I can play "Whack-a-Student." Ten points for
every student you hit with your cane! it's great stress
I was crossing the hall today when, all of a sudden, someone
stepped right in front of me and tripped over my cane. He
went flying. I felt bad as I apologize. But... really....
what do you expect? Didn't he see the cane? didn't he
understand what it means? Why on Earth would he step in
front of a blind person like that?
This happens all the time during my physical therapy
sessions. I use the crutch and cane to practice walking
around a hospital. People are always stepping in front of
me, cutting me off, or failing to move out of my way. I'm
not trying to be rude. hey, I can't see them! They are
supposed to be sighted. Why can't they see me?
Oddly enough, I'm also better at finding things than many
sighted people. They use their eyes but somehow keep
missing what they are looking for. I use my brain and my
hands and usually find things quick and easy.
One time my ex-husband threw a fit because he couldn't find
his glasses. He's not blind. He just needs glasses to
see far away. He was angry as he searched around for
those glasses. Finally he asked me to help. I went right
to his nightstand, put my hands on the floor behind it, and
found his glasses within seconds.
Same thing with my son. He's got this drawer stuffed full
of junk that only a seven year old could love. Little cars,
pieces of string, Pokemon cards, bouncy balls, stretchy
animals, tatoos and stickers. You name it. It's all in
So he'd be upset because he can't find the little treasure
chest he got at school when he lost a tooth. He'll rummage
through the whole drawer, becoming frustrated as he can't
find it. I'll offer to help. Feeling each item I'll
quickly pull out the treasure chest. It was right there in
front. How could he missed it?
So I ask you, are sighted people blind? If they can see,
why do they act so blind all the time? They might have
sight, but they can't see. I can't see, but I have
sight... It's call insight. It might not be your way but it
works for me. My vision comes from my cane, my hands, and
most of all, my brain.

1 comment:

  1. Dot Bug, I hope this will get to you. Yes, I have known about you with a different name for many years. I just want to thank you for being very perspective and for your efforts. People with more physical communication procedures are most often distracted by sounds and actions around them, so they do not know as much about what they should know.