The blind Elephant

February 16th, 2017

The elephant in the room. That's what it has become. It's here, obvious, but has been with me so long I usually never notice it any more. Inconvenient, sure. I seem to have gotten used to it. I forget that some people might be interested in it, and what its all about. How did the elephant get here? How do I get things done? Even things I manage to do seem to amaze people, although I can't imagine why. OK, there are some adaptive things I do, but those measures seem pretty obvious to me.

I get around, but clearly driving is out of the question. I know my immediate surroundings at home well enough, I don't walk with a white cane. However, stepping outside the house is different. There's a measure of technique in using a cane to feel the ground and sweep for obstacles. It's not hard. A few basic moves to engrain into muscle memory, and away we go.

Clearly a distinct path to walk on is key. No cutting across parking lots, or wide open spaces. It can be done, but it takes on another whole skill set. Lots of listening and concentration on form, posture, and that muscle memory as you walk. Let's save that distraction for later.

It's all about boundaries. The border of the sidewalk as it meets the grass, or gravel, or the seam in a driveway as it crosses over one. The border of a hallway, complete with all those moveable obstacles like potted plants, wet floor signs, mop buckets... and watch out! That lady in the hall who just bent over to pick up her dropped wallet... Oops... sorery, I didn't mean to touch your bottom. But thanks for the high pitched squeal. I needed something to loosen the ear wax build up that was accumulating. And no, there's nothing wrong with me. And yes, I am indeed blind. Sorry again. I'll try to be more alert next time.

The trouble I have most often is the lack of traffic on the street, and the over helpful onlooker. First the helpful onlooker. They mean well. Bless their hearts. But they usually act first, and think later... if at all. What seems like a collision with disaster to them is merely the boundary I need to find to keep on track. Dodging around it, like most people would do, only removes a landmark for me, and a sure fire path for me to get lost at worst. Or disoriented at best. .

There's more to say, and I know I left a couple side topic hanging, but my time is up for this stream of consciousness. Stay tuned for more on Traffic noise. For now, let's just say it makes an invaluable invisible boundary to keep on course. How to handle wide open spaces? Avoid them, but when you can't it's not entirely impossible, but the lack of boundaries and environment noise can make it the worst kind of traveling.

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