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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Battle Zone

I just finished meeting with the Student Complaint Committee. I
presented the details of my complaint to the committee and then
answered many questions. I don't know if it will make a
difference. But I tried. I take comfortable in the knowledge
that I did my part.

I suppose this fight with the professor is a battle of it's own.
But it's not the battle zone I am talking about here in this
blog. This story is more about mobility and the challenges faced
by people who are blind.

The university is in that down time between Spring and Summer
sessions. Some staff members are still here for now, but all the
students are gone. This is the last week the grievous committee
meets until the Fall semester. I am thankful they were able to
fit me in.

I know the campus does deep cleaning during breaks. I've had
mobility training during breaks before. The halls can be a
mess. It makes it extra hard for me to get around.

Still, I didn't expect them to start so soon. And I didn't
expect it to be so bad. I walked into the Languages building and
found myself alone in an utter battle zone.

It looks like they emptied everything from all the classrooms
into the corridor. The hall was filled with tables, desks,
chairs, trash cans and who knows what else. There was only a
very narrow walking space through all that clutter.

I could smell paint. That made me extra nervous. I did not want
to stumble into wet paint in my nice clothes. I proceeded down
the hallway with great caution.

At one point, my guide cane hit an obstacle and was knocked
completely out of my hand. It rolled under a table. I had to
get down on my hands and knees to try to find it. Yuck!

The mess covered up all my landmarks. I think the floor mats
were gone, too. I made it all the way down the hall without
hitting anything I recognized. I wasn't even sure it was the
right hallway.

I crossed over to the over side of the hall to try to find the
elevator. No luck. So finally I leaned against the wall to
collect my thoughts and decide what to do. At that point, the
English department receptionist found me and printed her name on
my hand. I think she could clearly see I was having trouble.
She's a great woman. she's always willing to help if I need it.
Or she'll approach just to say "hi."

She helped me find the elevator. Thankfully, the third floor was
not under attach and I could find my way around. After the
meeting, my interpreters were kind enough to help me back
through the battle zone. Now I'm sitting in a nice, safe chair
near the door while I wait for the bus.

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