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Thursday, February 11, 2010

College Craziness

We all know that life on a college campus is a little crazy. I'm
not even a typical student and I still get to experience the
oddity of campus life. There's no end to the bizarre events that
occur there. I've learned to expect the unexpected. And even
then, sometimes I'm still left dumbstruck.

Last week I wrote a blog about the challenges I faced when a
building welcome mat was changed. The story has a unique
ending.

It just happens that I saw my Deaf-Blind Outreach trainer soon
after I discovered the change in mats. I told her what happened
and she was very sympathetic. She had been there during my
initial mobility training so she understood the issue and how
that small change made things so hard for me.

Never underestimate the power of a determined DB trainer. I
don't know how she did it or who she spoke to, but she got the
matter settled right away... and then some.

Not only did they turn the mat back around the way it used to
be, they added a line of mats halfway down the hall. I am not
kidding here. I was still walking on rubber mat when I reached
the second long bench. How funny! It's nice they addressed
the situation but talk about overkill.

Tonight I had another odd experience. Some of the students in
class had to give presentations today. One girl talked about
laws that effect people who have disabilities. After the
presentation, my teacher launched into a heated lecture on how
the university does not follow those laws.

Apparently she was angry over an ongoing struggle to get an
interpreter for some kind of meeting on campus. She was really
pumped up as she told the story and insisted the university is
denying legal rights of people who are deaf or have other
disabilities.

I wonder how she would feel if she was in my shoes. I'm not just
deaf. I have three different disabilities and deal with a
handful of accessibility issues every time I'm on campus. Can
she even begin to image how hard it is when something as simple
as a changed mat causes so much trouble? I doubt it.

After class, my interpreter escorted me to the elevator. That's
when it happened. The interpreter had a hard time getting me in
the elevator. I couldn't figure out why it was such a tight
fit. Most of the other students take the stairs. The elevator
is never full.

I thought I misunderstood when she fingerspelled the word
"recycling bin." She must have seen the confusion on my face
because she put my hand on it. Sure enough, it was a recycling
bin... right there in the elevator.

Yes, the recycling bin was riding up and down in an elevator.
Why would anyone put a recycling bin in an elevator? Who knows?
it is a college campus, after all. Weird things happen all the
time.

I laughed as I left the building. Sometimes I feel like I'm
living in the Twilight Zone. There's the reality of
deaf-blindness. There's the reality of college life. Then
there's the reality of being a deaf-blind student on campus.
It's certainly an interesting experience.

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