Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Lost

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Uncategorized

Lost in the Parking Lot
(c) 2017 Annie C.
The realization that I am completely and utterly lost rushes through me like a hot flash. The rain changes everything, what was familiar is washed away in moments. Damaged retinas cannot make sense of the rings of light reflecting off the black asphalt. The downpour muffles the sounds I use to orient in the parking lot. I could very well be only ten feet from the door but at times like this, it is terrifying.

My dog is huddled beside me, I stopped asking her to help me 5 minutes ago, when it was clear she wasn’t able to lead me inside. Her docility was one of the reasons why she made a good guide dog but now the very same part of her temperament caused her to avoid making decisions, especially in the rain without her harness.

I remove the hood from my head to listen for a door opening, footsteps, traffic on the parallel street, or the rush of a train so I can figure out where we are. My white cane trails the parked cars and I turn into the empty space in-between two cars, hoping this is the walkway leading to the back door of the apartment complex. The cane tip touches the asphalt and like a divining rod, I hope to find the familiar. It hits a curb and I know it is not the right place; I go back to the row of cars and stand there, frustrated. My dog shakes off the rain.

Then, behind me and to the left, I hear the back-door open and the relief floods through me. By the sound, I am about 8 or so spaces away. I walk toward the spot and then a flicker of dim light flashes in the little window of my vision and I recognize it. My dog pulls me in the same direction and I sweep my cane forward ahead of us. The tip of the cane touches the metal drain and then, thankfully, the door. I fish out my keys, and then we are inside and my dog shakes off the water. As we walk to our apartment door, the frustration subsides. All it cost was five minutes of paying attention and a wet dog.

where my mind goes

| Filed under Uncategorized

This comes under the tag line of “I write to find out what I think” a la Stephen King.

Being a  curious person I find it interesting that , as I lose my vision, the ability to interact with others adapts and changes as well. For instance, I am less tolerant of crowds, loud noises, and my startle reflex is much more pronounced.  I have become the type of blind person who loves tactile information but also gets irritated if it’s not on my terms. Not sure what that’s about, but a recent incident with a sighted person has stirred this up.

 

Long story short, I was being spoken to by someone who was angered by a series of events in which I was involved. These events were in a public place and I was one of the presenters. What I said wasn’t good or bad, but this person didn’t like  how I answered his questions and approached me once  the meeting ended and I left the podium

 

When he began to say things that were fueled by anger I tried to end the conversation. I heard his voice, recognized the stuttering as a sign of his being so anger that he couldn’t speak clearly. This scared me and I tried to leave. Then, this person grabbed my arm and when I turned to leave, he squeezed it, hurting me.

 

What did I do? I  told him he was hurting me and for him to let go. When he didn’t,  I removed his hand and left the room. I was so focused on getting away from him, I panicked and didn’t call security or the police. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered how upset I was by it. Yet, I still didn’t report it. Now, I’m paying the consequences of my inaction. I was the victim but because I didn’t report it right away, I can only hope to resolve this internally and there is no hope of an apology or consequence by the person who hurt me.

I find this wrong on so many levels  and  am reminded of the basic humanistic  conduct code of “treat others as you wish to be treated”. This   comes to mind first. Then there is the intimidation of a man hurting a woman. And, lastly, I was at a disadvantage because he was sighted and I wasn’t.

 

The last item seems to get mixed responses from people who are blind. Some say that the offender sunk lower than an ant’s knee because I was blind. Others said that it is an offence on another person and being disabled isn’t part of the equation. Then the gender piece comes into play and I’m sure each and every person who reads this can identify and sympathize with at least one of these three points.

 

I’m blogging this because I need to validate it happened and not be afraid to talk about it. One thing I do know since this happened, however, if I am harassed like this again, I will fight the urge to flee and call the authorities. I won’t be ashamed that I panicked and fled or that I fell right into this person’s trap because I didn’t actually see it coming. I honestly didn’t expect to be treated so rudely by an acquaintance. Creepy.

 

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