A Beautiful View


A Beautiful View

     "WOO! A beautiful view!" My new friend sounded mega impressed. We stood at
my picture window a bit longer.

     He was half talking to me; half to himself. "Fifteen floors up! The valley
opening up not a block away. Houses and trees stair-stepping their way down
to the river. Boats moving up and down the mirrored surface of the water, then the steep rise up to those magnificent bluffs! And to think I'm on the other
side of the building, third floor up and looking at the backside of a
shopping mall."

     He fell silent, drinking in more of the scene before turning to me. "You've
got to be paying more then we are. How about a trade? You're blind, why do
you need this?"

e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. “I would reply that I decided to pay the additional rent because I wanted a
place that would complement the relationship I have with the people I invite
into my home.

Subsequent events would determine whether this person was indeed to become a

Enoch Todd (Warren, Ohio USA)

FROM ME: “Could we say that one explanation we might hold forth as a reason to want a ‘beautiful view’ is to please others? Let’s see what other ‘main themes/reasons we can find.”

**2. “My first reaction to this one was, "Boy, that guest was pretty rude." I
can't imagine anyone saying that sort of thing to me unless it was a good
friend, but I get the impression that this was a new acquaintance. However,
after considering matters a bit longer, I suppose that the comment could
have some merit.

There are many questions to ask here:
Does the apartment have a balcony and/or windows that can be opened? Maybe
the blind person enjoys the peacefulness above the hustle and bustle that
the 15th floor would provide. Maybe the air is cleaner. I personally earn
a good living and would enjoy these things, so I would have politely
declined the offer.

Does the apartment cost more? If so, and if the blind person doesn't enjoy
open windows or have a balcony, then what difference would it make if he
traded apartments? If he's on a low, fixed income, maybe it would be nice
to save a bit of dough.

The real question here is, are some things wasted on blind people? Some
people would say that it is foolish for me to go to a movie because I'm
blind. However, it is one of my favorite things to do. It is amazing how
well one can follow the plot because the brain fills in the gaps that the
eyes used to.

However, some things are undoubtedly wasted on me. I am reminded of a time
right after I had lost my vision. We went to visit friends for the weekend
in another town, and they arranged for us to go to the Tennessee Aquarium.
I had been there back when I could see, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but this
trip was not at all enjoyable. I could not see any of the exhibits, and
there was no other way to interact with them, so my day amounted to hours of
waiting in lines. I never said anything to my friends, because I didn't
want to hurt their feelings, and at least I got to spend time with them, but
the money for my ticket definitely could have been spent more wisely. We
could have gone to a park that we all used to frequent for free, and I could
have enjoyed the sunshine, grassy meadows, birds singing, and cool water
flowing, not to mention the companionship of good friends.

My point is that it should be up to the individual to determine when
something is worthwhile to him or her. I wouldn't want someone to say to my
wife, "Why do you drag your husband out shopping? He's blind! How can he
see anything that you're shopping for?" Shopping is not exactly my favorite
activity, but I enjoy spending time with my wife, so I go to spend time with
her. It is my choice, not someone else's.”

David L. Thurmond, (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

FROM ME: “I have a home made saying that ,I use, “There is more to life than a picture.” Do you see how David is getting on to it?”

**3. “Apartment owners do charge more for the view. In a multi-level apartment
I lived in Hatboro, PA. the monthly rental price went up by $5.00 for
each floor per each month. I'd have to have the other person's apartment
checked out and if it passed inspection, I'd be happy to do a trade. I
live with no sighted people so the view has no value to me whatever.”

jude (jdashiel@clark.net)

FROM ME: “”If money is the stronger factor & important than a view, then so be it. This is what choice is all about. Another reason why this behavior is chosen”

**4. “If a friend made such a proposal to me, I would smile and tell him he
could come over any time and describe the view as eloquently as he had done
before. What a conversation-piece that view would be. I enjoy hearing
descriptions of scenery and sky as much as I like reading about them.
In that way I could cherish the view as well as any sighted person.”

Teresa Cochran (Berkeley, California USA

FROM ME: “Liking to hear about a beautiful view as well as she likes reading about one… Now, let’s have a sighted person, one who loves to read elaborate on this comparison. Plus, speaking of the “mind’s eye,” would the person born blind also have a “mind’s eye view?”

**5. “I would answer this kind of ignorant retort with gentle forcefulness, and with
insightful honesty. May I suggest the following two paragraphs:

I'd take your apartment if it were more ideally suited to my needs than
this one is. Chances are, though, that it isn't because I spent a lot of
time carefully selecting this one. It has just the right number of rooms,
and each of them is just the right size for what I need it for. In
addition to that, I listen to the radio a lot, and reception is far better
here than it is in your place.

You may appreciate the view now, but, if you're like all of the other
people in this world, you'll get bored with it if you were to have it on a
permanent basis. Beauty like this is always far more appreciated when
access to it is scarce. Besides, why should I deny my guests such
enjoyment just because you're so selfish?”

Dave Mielke (856 Grenon Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

FROM ME: “Better radio reception, how’s that for another reason? Like allot of choices, with the one characteristic comes second that may be more important than the first. Where else have you seen this to be the case?”

**7. “My blindness has not kept me from enjoying the view. I like nothing better
than to go camping to listen the birds, the water and the other sounds
of nature. The smells are often a source of pleasure too.

I don't think that enjoying a view has a lot to do with vision, at least not
with good vision. Although I am able to see a sunset, a cloud bank and a
forest, there are many things that I am not able to visually see.. I still
enjoy a picture window and an open view to the fresh, new, beautiful gift of
the outdoors which surround us.

I just came back from Wyoming where the towns are small, the birds are busy
and the mountains are tall. If home is where the heart is, I am in the
wrong house in a city where I am surrounded by buildings, sirens and people.
I hope you all get a chance to commune with nature in your own way.”

Nancy Coffman (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “Nature is multidimensional, with a view can come a smell, a feel, a taste, something to hear and what else?”

**8. “Well, I love this story! I don't know how others feel,
but I can chip in with my two cents. I often enjoy it when people take the
time in this hectic society of ours to show me things that the sighted world
has the tendency to take for granted. For instance, we were at the state
hockey tournament in Madison, Wisconsin, the beginning of March, and my band
director, who was sitting near me began to show me how the specific
conducting gestures he used helped the sighted band members around me. I had
never been shown that before, so I was very intrigued by the experience. As
far as band is concerned, that's by far one of my greatest high school

What about when you're in a really pretty area like the one being described
in the story? I often wish I could just get a glimpse of what the scenery
actually looks like. But, for now, I'll just have the friendly folks around
me serve as my eyes.”

Stacy (Wisconsin USA)

FROM ME: “Using a ‘reader,’ a person to describe one’s surroundings is a common alternative. What qualities are needed in a reader?”

**9. “How interesting!
Even though this may cause a great deal of controversy, I'm afraid that I
must agree with the onlooker here. The visual gratification is not as
important to me as are the verbal aesthetics of this scenario. Personally,
I would rather hear the soft cadence of a bird's melody combined with the
feeling of the warmth from the sun's beams on my face, and the gentle
caress of a soft enchanting breeze on my cheek than to have a beautiful
spectacular view of my surroundings. The visual aspect has no enticement or
desirability when compared with the audio aspect of the surroundings.
I live in an apartment at the back of my complex. The view here could not
be very desirable, but the sounds are absolutely awesome. In the morning,
and actually throughout the day, I have verbal melodies and communications
that would make the life of an surge to the height of fulfillment. I'm not
a but I do love the sounds of "creation." Can we as visually impaired
individuals ever get closer to our maker than at the time when we are
privileged enough to share in hearing the orchestra that he has provided for
our enjoyment?”

Freda Trusty (Dallas, Texas USA)

**10. “My first reaction to the friend who thinks blind people don't/can't
appreciate the beauty of my view is inward irritation. People often feel
blindness equals a lack of the ability to appreciate things. My second
reaction would be practical. After all, he's sort of right. So does his
apartment have more sun, more light? Is it quieter on his side? Should we
indeed trade? Is he paying less than me?

Beauty, and for that matter practicality, is in the eye of the beholder.
I'd take a quieter apartment in preference to one with a great view. I'd
take one closer to a bus stop in preference to one with a view. But I'd
take one that's airy in preference to one that's closed in. I'd hate one in
a basement, with no light!”

Carol Ashland (Eugene, Oregon USA

FROM ME: “…Beauty, and for that matter practicality, is in the eye of the beholder..’. What do you all think?”

**11. “I believe that visually impaired people have the same rights to a dwelling
as anyone else. It seems to me that the place being described is a more
expensive one, and my response would be that I have worked hard to earn
this place, and it gives me pleasure to live here. Besides, large picture
windows let a lot of sunlight into the house, good for growing plants or
just enjoying a bright and sunny day!”

Wesley Majerus (Cedar Rapids Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “Having the right! How’s that for a reason?”

**12. “Hmmmm, I guess it would depend on many, many things and in no particular

I would base my answer on length of acquaintance with this "new" friend, how
exactly he/she made the statement/request, my fondness of the new apartment
and its setup, whether I was in fact paying more, the compatibility of the
other apartment to my needs and finally just my feelings that day.

There are some features that I am not able to appreciate in an apartment,
however, the correct and courteous things is for our friends and
acquaintances to allow US! to acknowledge them and for this person to make
such a presumption was not only rude but more inclined to make me refuse.”

Debra Streeter (Victoria, Texas USA

FROM ME: “Presumption and/or rudeness making this person inclined to have a reason to decide on one path over another. So can a person’s feelings be a reason?”

**13. “In about 1991, when the ACB convention was held in Denver, I became friendly
with one of the volunteers, Michelle. Instead of attending the banquet on
Friday night, I invited her out for dinner and she said that she would take
me on a tour, before dinner. We drove up through the Rockys outside of
Denver, to Buffalo Bill Cody's Fort. We took the kind of back-roads and
while driving there, Michelle described the sunset, the foliage and the
trees and flowers. It was one of the most rewarding tours I have ever
taken. Her descriptions were that of almost a poet. For about an hour, she
kept up a running commentary on the surroundings scenes and the proceeding
sunset. It had rained earlier in the day which seemed to make the colors
more vibrant and alive. I don't know what this has to do with the thought
PROVOKER, but it is a memory that I willalways hold dear and I was so
impressed with Michelle's description I suggested that she should be a
tour guide for the blind or something on that order. She did take my
encouragement to heart and eventually, she told me later by phone, had
enrolled in the Marriott’s executive training program, to become something
like that. This was also one of my more rewarding accomplishments.”

Marion Fisher (Bellflower, California USA)

FROM ME: “Could we say this is a good example of the visual being pleasurable to a non-visual person?”

**14. “It doesn't take sight alone to appreciate what has been described in this
short-short. I can close my eyes and envision what I've just read and get
tingles throughout my body because it is such a beautiful "sight".

That friend, though perhaps joking, may not understand the effect of a fertile
imagination and a strong connection to our 6th sense that allows us to feel
life's throbbing force around us, has on one's "perception" of things.

I'm not sure how I'd answer that friend, but my first response, I am somewhat
hesitant to admit, was to think "what does sight have to do with it? I got a
good view in my mind's eye." Just knowing that beautiful vista is there makes my
home and heart happy. That's just as important, if not more so, than looking at
it everyday as I pass by the window as I rush to join the every-increasing speed
of life below.

I may be incorrect in saying this, but it is my experience and strong feeling
that fully-sighted people "lose sight" of what they really have around them. The
phrase "Stop and smell the flowers" comes to mind. I value every description I
am given and it plays a very important part of my life as I need images such as
the one described above to pick up my spirits. I question whether or not, when a
sighted person is depressed, if they'd think to walk over to that window and see
the vista and say: "Gee, I'm lucky I have this." -- thus improving his/her mood.

I am assuming here that the friend or someone else has described the vista
outside the blind person's window to him. If not, I'd hope the blind person's
6th sense would kick in and between it and his other senses, he/she'd be able to
discern most of what is happening below without the description.

If this person were a true friend, he/she might describe what he/she sees and
why it inspires him/her to want a similar view. He/she might learn that the
blind person truly appreciates the view in his/her way and that it isn't a
waste that the blind person lives in that apartment. Exploration truly is how
friendship grows, is it not?”

Shelley Proulx (USA

FROM ME: “Taking sight, a beautiful view for granted. This is not the first time we’ve seen this sentiment. Is this just a sighted thing?”

**15. “I think I'd probably invite my friend to come enjoy the beautiful view
often. I may also make a comment or two about how much I like my apartment
and don't mind paying a little more for the quiet; being farther away from
the noise of the street.

This PROVOKER also makes me think of a fund raiser our state affiliate had a
number of years ago. It was an art auction. Advertising didn't go very
well; turns out there were two or three other art auctions in the city on
the same weekend. But, the most disappointing thing to me, (the person in
charge of organizing the auction), was that even though it took place on a
Friday night, first night of our state convention, very few of our affiliate
members came. When I commented about that and asked why, many people said
they thought it was stupid to have an art auction at an NFB convention.
After all, what would blind people care about pictures! I expressed
disbelief and asked if they didn't care about how their homes are decorated?
Didn't they have any friends of family to give prints to as a gift? Some
said they did care; some didn't. It's true, I can't see the pictures, but I
know what they are and enjoy having them. Additionally, people visiting my
home enjoy the decor.

If we want to be considered equal to sighted people, then we have to think
of things like this. It is unusual to go into a home, restaurant, office,
etc. and not find color scheme which coordinates, knickknacks, pictures,
etc., to complement the furnishings. That's why people might comment if
there are no pictures. So, whether we see them or not, I believe it's
important to consider these things when choosing an apartment or decorating
a home.”

Cindy Handel (Willow Street, Pennsylvania USA

FROM ME: “Can the awareness of and/or procession of beautiful visual surroundings be a factor influencing acceptance and equality of the blind by the sighted?”

**16. “From time to time in my home, I have had various items with much appeal for sighted folks while as for myself, I could quite nicely live without them.

For example, I purchased a 28 inch color television. For my own needs, I could have managed quite fine with the TV band on one of those radios still easily

My friends asked me why I had this beast. I forgot which movie I ran subsequent to the question which video, had in fact, been part of the reason for their
visit. As it happens, I regularly connect the VCR to my not too shabby stereo system and on some of the quality stereo productions, some of the audio
can really blow one away. My sighted friends had somehow never thought of hooking their VCR up to their stereo systems.

They all enjoyed the video we played and initially remarked on the awesome picture (I had owned the set only for a week.)
Yes folks, I did it for my sighted friends. This is the same reason I dress in a manner which is designed to please the eye. (of course, when not visible,
or working around my house and yard, I certainly do not present as a thing of beauty and really don't give a darn.

At the time, before starting my present endeavors, I had only sighted friends with maybe one exception by circumstance and not choice.

As for beautiful landscapes--well, I'm an incurable tree hugger and somewhat frustrated nature boy. When I go to sleep in my tent at night, I rest much
easier knowing that I am only separated from the total grandeur and beauty of nature I love so very much by a paper thin layer of ripstock nylon..

Well, not eloquent, but there's a start. I wouldn't give up that location either, especially if it faced due east, due west, or anywhere between towards
the south--how can anyone not glow when the glorious warm sunshine hits them.

Speaking of such, we have a beautiful spring day in Winnipeg and I'm going shortly to grab a chunk of my own little piece of heaven.”

Doug Parisian
960 Portage Avenue, Suite 302
Winnipeg, MB
R3G 0R4
Voice Phone: (204) 775-1789
Fax/Modem: (204) 783-0055
Toll Free (Canada only) 1-800-722-6825 (1 800 SCANTALK)

FROM ME: “For the pleasure of your friends, for those who in invite into your home and you wish to entertain. How common is this as a reason?”

**17. “I might trade for something else I might want. I'd hold out for a
good deal. It wouldn't mean that much to me to retain the view
unless it meant a lot to my husband who is sighted.”

Catherine Alfieri (7 Summer Tree (Pittsford, New York 14534 USA

FROM ME: “How many times do we in life do things for the sake of those around us. Depending upon the what and why, that’s okay as a reason, right?”

**18. “I would answer this one with a short answer. Because I want it. We as
blind people have to stop allowing people who are not blind to assume that
we don't want the same things they do. Just because I cannot see a picture
doesn't mean that I don't have them in my home. Why? Because I want them
there. Just because I can't see my television set doesn't mean that I don't
have the right to buy it. If I wanted an a apartment with an awesome view
I'd have one. Why? Because I can.”

Joyce Porter (Houston, Texas USA)

FROM ME: “Because I want one; because I can. How is that for a reason?”

**19. “Unfortunately the friend has no conception of the energy given off by
everything around us. Blindness is only a lack of vision via the eyes and
not a loss of sight from the heart and soul. A pleasing sight to the eyes
has a much more powerful energy about it that can felt by the soul or
spirit of each of us. It is too bad that the sighted cannot as easily tune
into these things...
The beautiful view out the window energizes my spirit and asserts a
serenity for me...would be my answer to my friend.”

Dale Campbell (USA)

FROM ME: “Are there forces, energies beyond the obvious that we can be positively effected by? How about this as a reason?”

**20. “It depends on many things. The blind person might prefer to pay less for a
room without much of a view if the room is satisfactory in other ways. On
the other hand, the room the blind person is in might suit them perfectly in
other ways that the room without much of a view wouldn't. Or, the person
may be partially sighted and find comfort in that view although they can't
see it properly.”

Richelle (Australia)

**21. “How shallow can some people be! We probably get more out of that scenery
than a sighted person. I like the feeling of knowing that I have a
beautiful view and even though I cannot see it the just knowing it is there
is all I need.

In this persons eyes, why would anyone of us go sight seeing stop on the top
of a mountain to see the view? go out on a boat tour and view the coast?
walk through a museum and so on...

Should we just sit in the back for everything? I don't think so. About the
only time I feel bad about being in front instead of someone else is if
there is a child who I am blocking his or her view. Other than that Want a

Mike Cormier (RPList, Moncton, New Brunswick Canada(

FROM ME: “The feeling of just knowing it is there! How about this as a reason?”

**22. “I would tell him, "Well, I don't really need it, but there were other
reasons why I chose to live here." I would than explain that even though
I'm blind I want to live in an environment which meets my needs, not in some
dark closet just because I don't see light.”

Maureen (Blindfam)

FROM ME: “Because it meets my needs. How about this as a reason?”

**23. “Regarding the visitor that thought a blind person can not enjoy a
view, the old saying seems to fit: There are none so blind that will not see"
comes to mind. As you all know so well, there is more than one way of
"seeing" other than sight through eyeballs. The eyes' of the soul see all.”

Mary Roach (USA)

FROM ME: “The eyes of the soul see all. How is this for a reason?”

**24. “Is this not rather odd. In my time of living in Portland. Here on Monjoy
Hill and by Casco Bay.

Both in the apartment and now here at my home; I get ask the same question.

In both cases I said where were you when the place was available? Then the
next comment is; just because I can not see. This doesn't mean that I can
not enjoy where I am living.

As the same question in fixing up the house recently for the interior and
developing a nice lawn with the help of my son, Erik. I still say the same.
Just because I'm blind doesn't mean that I don't want to live the best I can
live and enjoy life the best that I can enjoy.

I can and always do, ask questions, on what something looks like or what is
new in the neighborhood.

I can enjoy the walk along the bay. As I may not see but have a sense of
smell and I can hear. To which allows me to imagine the view of the boats
in the harbor. Whether they are the sail boats, lobster or fishing boats.
Even knowing when the big cruise ships that come into the harbor or the
large sailing ships. I can ask for a visual description and do.

I don't need to see to enjoy or value the view, my good friend.

Here is where I get in trouble: But my friend if you are willing to
Then sure you can have. I enjoy my home so I have to be careful as my home
is full of love compassion and oldness that gives the small home charm and
the view of the bay. Yet at the same tone a yard for myself and Bowie to

Really, though my friend you enjoy the view with your eyes and I'll enjoy
the view with my sense of smell and hearing. I will enjoy the view through
the heart and mind that it offers myself. As I arrived and no one else
wanted this at the time.”

Gene F. Stone (Portland, Maine)s

FROM ME: “To, ‘…live and enjoy life the best that I can…’ How about this as a reason?”

**25. “ The blind person should find the right house for him whatever
fits his budget. But, the friend has a point that he should not need that
place. I also think that if the blind person wants that view for those who
can see and admire it, so be it. My question? Did the broker of the house
tell him what a view he was getting in to?”

Jared Rimer ( Woodland Hills, California USA

**26. “I guess I would say to a friend that asked me about pictures on the wall,
well, I'd like to say that this was no one's concern but mine. I don't
prefer to have them myself, though sometimes I am given one that
particularly appeals to me and I may put it up. I know all the stuff
decorating and the like, but it doesn't interest me and I'm not decorating
my house for others. I figure it is more important to have it passable
and clean. I might say something like, "Oh, I'll get them up when I get
settled in", and leave it at that.”

Cindy (NFB-talk)

FROM ME: “A reason for not valuing the visual, because another characteristic/value was more important. Just as valid?”

**27. “Well, there are some non-visual reasons why someone might want to have
a "view". Perhaps, being all the way up on the 15th floor might mean
that there aren't any neighbors above you to keep you awake at night
with their jumping on their floor, loud music emanating from above,
etc. I am also a ham radio operator. While I might not be able to
hang an antenna safely out that 15th floor window, I could place a
relatively short 2 meter or 440 antenna next to that same window and be
able to hit repeaters further away than many in their own houses with
towers. In that sense, I would be taking advantage of that "view", the
line of sight view. I think I'd love to live that high up.”

Regards and 73.

**28. “At first, I thought, the Guy describing the "beautiful Scene" was a bit
insensitive to the Blind Guy.

He could have asked him his feelings on what he thought of the description
of the view, as well as what his feelings were on switching Apartments.

I am sure, the sighted Guy felt like it would not matter to the Blind Man
because, He can't see, so why would he want to have a room with a view,
when a sighted person can "truly appreciate it".

I, myself, had lived in an Apartment Complex in Denver that overlooks
Pikes Peek. One can view it from the 4th floor.

I had an apartment on the 4 th floor, and did not realize I had such a
wonderful view, until a friend told me. I realized then, that is why I was
charged more rent, because of the View.

At first, I thought, if I move downstairs, I would not have to pay as much
rent, and someone else could appreciate the view.

After, thinking about it, I thought, "no, Even though, I am not able to
appreciate the view, at least those whom visit me can, as well as I can use
my imagination and visual memory. So, I decided to stay in that apartment
overlooking Pikes Peek.

Getting back to this story, I would thank the Man for describing the scene.
I would also let him know , If he wanted the Apartment, that he should be
able to have that one with the view. It should not matter if He is blind.
But, if the Blind Guy does not mind because some Blind People I know, do
not care giving up the Apartment for another.

I think, this depends on one's experiences. I, myself, have had high
partial vision, so I enjoy sighted folks describing images to me such as
Sunrises, Sunsets, Ocean Scenes, children playing etc..

It at one time, made me sad, when I had some sight, not being able to see
everything a fully-sighted person "sees".

Now, that I, am totally Blind, I look forward to Family and friends taking
the time to describe beautiful scenes, that I now, visualize with my minds
eye based on my visual memory.

Like I said, I have known People whom have never seen anything-not even
light, and do not like sighted people describing such scenes to them. I,
think, they think, It's a waste of time, and that he/she get along just
fine not seeing, that he/she does not need to know, what sighted people do

Karen Hues (NFB-talk)

FROM ME: “Do you think there are many blind persons who do not care about the visual aspect of the world that they would not want to take the time to hear about it?”

**29. "Well," I reply to this third floor resident, "It's just a matter of proper

Exhaling slowly, "You see, I can imagine seeing all these river vessels going
up and down this mighty river. I deserve this spot right here and now. If I
did not have this pad all set out for you to come visit, I will be much

Linda Pah (DeafBlind list)

**30. “I'm torn about this email. I've heard of people getting breaks on rent
because of the "bad view" or paying more for the "good view". I agree that
you may not necessarily look at the valley below you, but the wind can come
through, the noise would be less (no echoes) and anyone that came to visit
you could be amazed by your view. I guess it would be up to the individual.
Personally, if it were me, I would want to keep the "good view" for when
others came over. But others might not care and would be more money
conscious - which I should be, but.....”

Jeannine Lawler-Szostak (DeKalb, Illinois USA)

**31. “I would have no trouble moving for the sighted guy, especially if the price for his apartment was less than mine. But that is if I lived alone. Since
I have a sighted wife, I would definitely not move because she would enjoy the view also. It would be a lot of trouble to move but if I lived alone, I
would accommodate him. It wouldn't mean more to me than my friend's pleasure in getting a room with a view. MY wife is one who does not like to be cooped
up in any house or apartment without a lot of windows, so I would make sure that she had an apartment or house with a good view like the one we live in.
It has two big picture windows with a beautiful view out of both of them.”

Patrick L. Conrad (Dunlap, Iowa USA

**32. “This may not be a popular response, but although we've come a very long way
technology wise, and although blind people are getting jobs, a lot of the old
attitudes still exist about blindness. People still think we need "taken
care of." People still think they are better than us because we're blind
and they're not. Society does not embrace the attitude that it's okay to
be blind. In fact, many blind people don't. I'm not a defeatist, but I am
a realist. We've come a long way in the past 60 years since the inception
of the NFB, but we still have a terrible long way to go.”

Michael Barber (NFB-talk)

**33. “This irritated me for some reason. What an arrogant statement to say that the blind person doesn't need the nicer office with a view. Maybe the sun comes
in just right to keep that plant growing the way he likes it. Or perhaps the it has been earned by the years put in on the job. To say it is wasted on him
shows that the sighted guy has an inflated sense of self importance and I would wonder as he "thinks out loud," if I would want to invest anymore time
and effort into this budding friendship. Put him back in his place, on the third floor staring at the shadow of a big building.”

Suzanne Lange (California USA)

**34. “I've made comments to family and friends that the view really doesn't mean
anything to me. However, if this was my home and I could afford the rent,
I'd probably not want to make a trade.

Even though I might not be able to enjoy the view, visitors, unless they
were blind, could enjoy it. If I were comfortable in my home, I don't
think I'd want to change.”

Janet Ingber (Jamaica, New York USA)

**35. “When I moved into my present home, it was carpeted in shades of red (mostly
dark). It bothered me something fierce although I am totally blind. I
could feel its violent vibrations all day long. Many visitors could not
understand why I was perturbed. After many explanations I was finally able
to make them understand that we mortals are not one-sensed. We can smell,
we can feel, we can hear and all of those things contribute to our persons
and well-being. I am sure that the individual in this story gained much
from the boats he could hear, the shrubbery he could smell and the vista he
could sense from the air. Since he (or she?) felt it important enough to
pay the extra price necessary to live in this new home, it provided sensory
and perhaps spiritual nourishment and was well worth the price. The blind
and those with other disabilities are just as others are in their varied
needs and desires and deserve just as much as "normal" people do to make
their lives worthwhile.”

Linda (Utah, USA

FROM ME: “’…needs and desires and deserve just as much as "normal" people do to make
their lives worthwhile…’ How is this for a reason?”

**37. “Okay!!! this hits me where I live in anger. there is some actual truth to
it, I guess, but I compare it to Christmas or Birthday wrappings. I may not
"see" it, but I feel like a secondary citizen , not worthy of notice or
consideration as a Human Being when I am handed a present with no wrapping
or a bow. Beauty is almost in the air and we drink it in, not always with
our eyes. It was brought up to me today that in describing things to me, I
could be just any blind person. I became very angry at that. It
dehumanizes me and every other blind person. I can appreciate beauty, even
as it is described to me.”

Pam McVeigh ( Ruston, Louisiana USA”

FROM ME: “Deserving life in the same rapping’s. How else have we seen this one written?”

**38. “EGO! This can be a reason. I’m the type of guy that has to have something better than the Jones. For example, I have a Lincoln town car; I’m blind and others drive me.”

Larry M. (Colorado USA)

FROM ME: “Competition. How is this for a reason?”

**39. “Excellent THOUGHT PROVOKER! As I read through the responses, my mind was
wandering to other beautiful views....I went on a mind tour of great scenery
that has been stored there. I got to #13 response and had to stop. My mind
told me that someday, here is the only place you will see these images...it
made me sad. After reflection, I was grateful that I have these images to
turn to. When RP takes all my vision away, I can still turn inward to enjoy
nature, as well as the other senses to experience it!

This is just what my husband and I are doing...traveling to see things while
I can still somewhat enjoy it and make new images.

As far as the THOUGHT PROVOKER story.....Jesus said to one of His disciples
when questioned about another one "What is that to you". Meaning, what I do
and talk to another person has nothing to do with you. In a more
non-tactful way "Mind your own business". We all must learn to be content
where we are, not where someone else is. Obviously, the blind person in
this story choose that apartment for a reason. It does not matter what that
reason is. If the visual person in the story was not content with where he
was already, a view would not make the difference. "The grass is always
greener in someone else's yard"...until you get unclose!”

Joyce Cass Pratt (Gillette, New Jersey USA)

**40. “I’m sure this is way too long for a thought PROVOKER but I couldn't resist sending it to you - for you anyway.

Robert wrote: FROM ME: "Liking to hear about a beautiful view as well as she likes reading about one. Now, let's have a sighted person, one who loves
to read elaborate on this comparison.

I write: I am sighted and I love to read. But I don't necessarily like and seek out writing with descriptions of scenery and sky. Some writings about visual
images I find boring or hard to understand. Probably my verbal understanding skills are not that high. But there has to be more meaning to the descriptions
than flowery language that bears little meaning to the story. Below is an excerpt from the book, Touching the Rock, an experience of blindness by John
Hull. The many voices from this Thought Provoker remind me of this excerpt. This is a type of writing that thrills me. Is it because it is well written?
Because I can relate to parts of it as a fellow human? Because his description of the sound of particular bells gives me a shiver? Yes, yes, yes. I
loved reading the last half of this book - when Hull writes about his awakening awareness of sound and touch. Maybe I just like a story where the character
changes as he/she faces conflict.

"Marilyn and I were invited to the wedding of a friend. This took place in a village church, which had been chosen because of its picturesque qualities.
As we were leaving the building, the mother of the groom said to me, 'What a pity that you can't see the church! It really is so lovely.' .....For the
third time, the same observations were made. 'What a pity John couldn't see the pretty church.'
.....This makes me reflect on the psychology of sighted people. Our benign hostess, who had chosen the church because it looked so pretty, felt slightly
frustrated because she was unable to be a good hostess as far as I was concerned. The whole point of having the ceremony was lost on me. The site had
been chosen to give visual pleasure. I could not derive such pleasure. Therefore, it was a pity. The pity, to be quite accurate about it, was not so
much that I couldn't see it, but that all the trouble had been gone through, as far as I was concerned, for nothing. It was a pity to do all that work
and make all those plans for nothing.
This raises the additional reflection that I am not recruitable by sighted people. I am not entertainable, in the way sighted people know entertainment.
It is impossible to draw me into the general admiration of what has been laid on to be admired. This becomes a pity.
When I am in such a place, I am not preoccupied by the thought that there are things I cannot see. My attention and my emotions are occupied by what
actually presses in upon me.
In this case, it was the bells. I could have stood there, listening to those bells, for a long time. The air was full of the vibrations. My head seemed
to be ringing. The ground seemed to be trembling, and the very air was heavy and springy with the reverberations. I tried to count how many different
patterns they were ringing, and, without success, to work out how many bells must be in the tower. I thought that I really must become more expert in
this lovely thing. I tried to describe the qualities of the sound to myself, mentally comparing it with other bells I had recently heard. Again and again,
the descending peals chimed out, over the babble of conversation, cutting up the cool autumnal air, weighting everything with a strange, solemn expectancy.
I was flooded with joy, and repeated again and again in my heart, 'Yes, I hear you, dear bells, I hear you.'
I might not have reacted in this way had I already known the place. When I return to a familiar place, like the chapel of King's College in Cambridge,
I am often full of a very strong sense of loss. In a new place, however, I usually don't bother much about what it might look like. I just write that
off as unavailable, and concentrate upon those parts of it which can get through to me. Indeed, it disturbs me to be given information about the appearance
of something, unless I specifically ask for it. Often, I do ask, because I am curious. There may be certain details I want to know. There is no value
in ignorance. Sometimes, on those occasions, I will interrogate a sighted friend in some detail. The initiative, however, has to be mine.
I do not know whether the sighted people even noticed the bells. At best they could have been only an extra item of atmosphere, added to the autumn leaves
and the Norman tower as the bridal party gathered in their beautiful clothes. To me, the very air was bell-shaped.

-from Touching the Rock an experience of blindness by John M. Hull.”

Andrea Story Vision Impairment Services for Infants and Toddlers
(Anchorage, Alaska USA)

**41. “The friend asks why a blind person needs a beautiful view. It isn't a question of needing or not needing: I don't need a beautiful view of the ocean;
but I would love to have one. I was born blind, so I have never seen the ocean, but I love being close to it. Even if I'm too far away to hear it, if
I know it's close by, I find it soothing. You don't really have to see a thing to appreciate it. Fortunately, I was blessed with a vivid imagination,
and I use it. A thing or place can look any way I want it to. I think the friend who asked that question was rude and insensitive. I would have told
him to go jump in the lake.”

Colleen Chandler (North Platte, Nebraska USA
E-mail irish@nque.com)

**42. “At my stage in the progression of my RP, I do still enjoy a pretty view.
Much of that, of course depends on whether I am having a "good" or "bad" eye
day. Glare bothers me tremendously.

I, do however, resent others making the assumption that I would not enjoy a
"view". A view, in my outlook, now includes an auditory "view", birds
singing, wind rustling through leaves, absence of traffic and horn blaring in a
parking lot........so, I think that too should be a factor.”

Debra Streeter (Victoria, Texas USA

FROM ME: “She speaks of an ‘auditory view.’ I myself will often speak of all those sounds around us as an ‘auditory landscape’ Tell us, do these make sense? Do you have any similar phrases/concepts?”

*43. “This is a really cool story to me, because I can see and would probab
ly have
to ask the blind apartment-owner if he knows what a beautiful view he has outside his window and so many floors up. I would never, however, ask him to
trade with me based on the fact that I can see and he cannot. I know this is going to sound like a really stupid analogy, but I once had to have a sports
car that was ridiculously high priced and needed some work, but I just had to
have this car. It was a stick-shift and I only drove automatic cars, and
because the work it needed was not something I could do myself or readily
afford, this car sat in the driveway or in the garage. But boy oh boy, it
sure looked pretty and I was proud to own it. If a blind person can afford
to pay extra for a home with an extraordinary view, then I say live there and
enjoy knowing that your friends actually envy something you have. And if you
want to own a really sweet sports car, go for that, too. It should not
matter if you have the ability to use or enjoy the things you purchase if it
brings you pleasure just knowing you have them. Call me and I'll come over
and describe your cool apartment to you and I'll drive you around town in
your car, too. Things that bring you pleasure are even more enjoyed when
they are shared.”

Karlishia (Florida USA)

FROM ME: “’Things that bring you pleasure are even more enjoyed when
they are shared.” How is this for a reason?”

**44. “Robert, you are one person who gave me a beautiful picture a long number
of years ago. I remember when I visited your home for the first time,
you had a picture on the wall made just for you by a friend of yours,
Collette. When you described it to me, I could tell how much it meant to
you and I really appreciated your respect for my love of beauty in the
time you took to quite poetically describe the picture to me. Though I
am totally blind, I saw light, dark and colors and have quite a vivid
imagination and it was like I could "see" the picture you described. The
same is true in this thought PROVOKER; the picture you painted was
beautiful. It was so beautiful that I slept better the night I read it.

There are those skilled in creative imagery who strongly believe that
what we think about or picture in our minds influences our mood, level of satisfaction, reduction of anxiety etc. Why not allow that for blind
people, too.
When I was taking LaMaze classes before the birth of my daughter, Lynden,
we were asked to think of something very pleasant and picture that as
the contractions were becoming stronger. Our "coach" didn't single me
out and worry-wart about making an exception, etc. Thank Goodness! I
imagined my kitty Melissa, a calico cat, sitting on my lap, purring. I
didn't have much of a lap by that time but she would flop over me anyway.
Now and then I still get this picture in my mind and I'm really glad
because it's a way to remember her and stay connected with her. She's
been gone for about four years.

If I could afford it, I'd certainly rather have the apartment with a
view. When Jim and I have hunted apartments, we've wanted at least some
type of pleasant view even if it is trees and flowers and the like. We
hunted all over Omaha when we lived there, to find the apartment we had
when we were first married. I remember my daughter complaining about the
trees and stuff and asking why I would care about them. I told her I
could smell them. They kept some of the west sun glare off which cooled
us a bit in the summer. Birds and squirrels abounded and I loved hearing
them, especially the cardinal that sang to us every day. I miss that
sweet, cheerful bird.

I've had sighted people become what I consider to be arrogant about
expecting that I will accept less of whatever because I'm blind. The
logical conclusion is that since we're blind, we're not whole, therefore
we're second-class citizens and therefore how dare we expect equality.
I've heard "be grateful for what you've been given," when I've complained
about not having equal access to something; textbooks I can read, money
to go somewhere special, etc. I even feel very frustrated and awkward in
my current job because I'm making minimum wage and I feel we (mostly
disabled people) are being taken advantage of when my teenage daughter
can go out and earn more than I am paid. She was able to do this while
she was still in high school. Yet some say "be glad you have a job."
(college degree notwithstanding. I am grateful for the job and the extra
income but it's like we're expected to be grateful for a quarter while
the sighted folks get a dollar. There's no reason for us to have to
expect or accept less.

I remember one time my daughter and I were shopping and I wanted to buy
this beach towel with cats on it. She wanted it, too and wondered why I
should have it since I couldn't see it anyway. I told her I could
imagine them. Immediately she switched towels with me giving me one with
bears on it, saying "Imagine cats on that one!!" She got quite a lecture
from me later but this was typical behavior for an adolescent. I'm the
mom; I was paying for the towels. I have the cat towel and she can see
it when she comes to visit; perhaps even use it!

In fifth grade or so we were covering books with colored paper. One of
the students who could see quite a bit was passing out the large sheets
of paper. He gave the bright-colored ones to the ones who could see some
and white ones to the totally blind ones. When I saw the white one
coming onto my desk I told him I wanted the red one. He said no, rather
emphatically. It was like it shouldn't matter. Another kid in the class
who could see quite a bit who knew I liked bright colors said he would
trade with me. He gave me his red paper and took my white one. He began
to draw bright-colored pictures on his and we were all okay. My teacher
didn't quite understand the fuss at first but when she saw how the one
student helped solve the problem, she was pleased. I was glad we didn't
have to use brown paper--yuck! That's what a lot of kids use; you know,
from paper sacks turned inside-out.

The book covers didn't last very long and were made mostly so we'd know
how to make them if we needed to in the future. Most of the Braille
books we had had pretty sturdy covers.

Love that beautiful picture! Fifteenth floor might be a bit much unless
there was an elevator in the building and the balcony (if there was one)
was screened in to be safe for cats.”

Lauren Merryfield (Washington USA)

**45. “Well, I have to comment on the person in the second response who
mentioned the movie thing. I go to movies now and then, and I enjoy them
too. I remember one particular time when I was asked by a new acquaintance
of mine if I go to movies. Of course, I said yes, and then mentioned about
DVS movies that a person can order from various sources. the acquaintance
found it quite interesting. (smiles to all )”

Stacy (Wisconsin USA)

**46. “Although I have not read all the responses
this does spark a few thoughts in me. My
first thought is questioning the validity of this
person's friendship. Regardless if it were an new acquaintance or a
long-standing friendship
I would definitely challenge the person's perceptions
and try to constructively educate them on what
it means to be blind or visually impaired. The wonderment of
anything far exceeds the outward impression that vision or the lack
of can perceive.

How wonderful a friend it would be
to descriptively share with the blind person what they observe and
how greater it would be for the sighted person to ask the blind
person what they envision. No doubt the person's words
promote a vast array of feelings and emotions, and
we can project ourselves in this scene and what we would
experience, and hopefully our response would be guided by wisdom.”

Arnie Abels (College Station, Texas USA)

FROM ME: “How many of you would do as this gentleman, work with that friend in a constructive way to educate them to blindness?”

**47. “It is interesting how folks reveal themselves through expressions of their

Mike Floyd (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)

**48. “My first reaction to the person who wants to trade was annoyance. As I
read the responses, I think many at least implied the reason for my
annoyance and helped me articulate it: the wording of the--well--offer
may imply that the "friend" doesn't think the blind guy in the story knew
what he was doing when he got the apartment. Now, it may well be that he
didn't know about the view, but I suspect that he did. This is much more
likely to be true if he took the time--which he probably did--to find out
that this was among the more expensive apartments.

Our reasons for a choice can be many, and can be wise or foolish or
neither, whether we're blind or not. We blind folks, though, face almost
daily one or more people who doubt we're know what we're doing, or who are
pretty sure they know better than we do what's important to us and what's
wasted on us. (Sadly, some of those people are blind themselves, and
spout their groundless doubts in the guise of "realism.") So, reacting to
the story with some irritation seems reasonable to me.

From another angle, though, the comment may have shown envy and little
more. This may be a bad thing, but seeing it that way would give me at
least a moment of good feeling, knowing that I had something somebody else
really thought worth having.

I'm pretty sure that I'd have known of the view and would have chosen the
place partly with that in mind if I were the blind person in the story.
Masha and I put a lot of work into buying this house four years ago; the
few things we missed, which later we had to repair, were not visual. As
it happens, I'm not much interested in making our place a great feast for
the eye. I do want it at least to be pleasant, though. Masha and I do
like to create the best pleasures for the taste buds of our guests that we
can, though, and wanting to share a great view with one's sighted visitors
is no different.

I don't care about having pictures on the walls in and of itself, though I
understand why others do. Nevertheless, this little story has
strengthened my desire to do what I can to make my grandfather's four
paintings truly presentable so that I can hang them up in the living room.
I didn't know he'd painted pictures until a year or two ago. (I knew he
was a painter by trade, but not that kind.) I don't know how many of our
visitors will thrill to paintings of wolves or of a guy sitting in a
comfortable chair with a shot gun in his lap. I have been told that the
art is really well-done, though, and I'd love for the only things I have
of my grandfather's to greet us and our visitors. I realize this is a bit
of a sidetrack, but I don't think it's totally off.”

Al Sten-Clanton (Boston, Massachusetts USA)

FROM ME: “’knowing that I had something somebody else
really thought worth having.’ How is this for a reason?”

**49. “Along with that visual beauty described comes the sound, smells, and feeling
of that beauty. If I had a choice and could afford it, why would I want to
be living in an apartment with the back of it facing the back of a store
with no fresh breeze, with noisy delivery trucks, and with no feeling of
calmness. Besides, that place described sounded very pleasing for visitors
to comment on what a beautiful place you have. If you can afford the
difference and want to do it, why not have a place that others would admire,
blind or not.”

Tom Rash (Yucaipa, California USA)

**50. “What would I have said? I don't know if I would have responded. I
would probably have taken the question as the person not really
wanting an answer. The description of the view caught my attention
though. I could imagine myself basking in the rays of the sun coming in
through that picture window. I could see myself sitting by the said
window just imagining the sea rolling! rolling! the bustle around the
boats. I'd of course have chosen a apartment with windows that could
open so I could hear what was going on, but if by chance they didn't I’d
be glad that my imagination of that lovely scene wasn't marred by the
noise of honking car horns.

My husband and I both own our home. I love nothing better than walking
in the lawn bear foot. When my feet encounter a bear spot in the lawn
its like the beauty of that green expanse is marred for me. I want to fix

I guess that I am agreeing that the beauty is inside me. I can't see it
but I can sure feel it. God has created for us a lovely world why
shouldn't I enjoy it though I am blind.”

Janet George (Napa, Idaho USA)

FROM ME: “’God has created for us a lovely world why
shouldn't I enjoy it though I am blind.”’ How about this one for a reason?”

**51. “I agree with everyone's responses! My heart goes out to number 37, because
I am also very much aware of the anger in myself.

I would like to respond to the so-called friend in the thought PROVOKER by
saying that I do not need my eyes to appreciate the view. I love to throw
the windows wide open and feel the fresh air entering the room. I love
hearing the birds down below and I love being away from the loud noise of
traffic. I love sunshine and am most happy when the sun shines in my
office, especially during winter. Too much noise makes me depressed and for
my spiritual well-being I need the view! Whether I would have the courage
to share my needs and feelings with such an insensitive person, I do not

This happened to me a few years ago. My office was on the quieter side of
the building and the windows faced a mountainous part of the zoo. A
translator wanted my office and I was simply moved out of there into another
office on the noisy side of the building. I was not asked for an opinion,
just moved. It was a very dehumanizing experience.”

Janie Fourie (Pretoria South Africa.”janie@lantic.net)

FROM ME: “’my spiritual well-being I need the view.’ How about this for a reason?”

**52. “The simple answer to this is...

Just because you are blind does not mean that you should not be able to
enjoy the beauty of what is out side your window.

Blind folks can mentally see beauty more than likely more than those who
have 20-20 vision.

The sighted person who asked the blind man to swap apartments simply
because the other man is blind certainly needs to be educated, not
convinced to suit his needs.”

Fran (Chesapeake, Virginia USA)

FROM ME: “’ Blind folks can mentally see beauty more than likely more than those who
have 20-20 vision.’ How about this for a reason?”

**54. “I'm not sure if we are to respond again, are we?

I would say several things. First of all, if the person was a "friend",
there would always be the possibility he/she was kidding. Secondly, I hate
moving, and I sure wouldn't be willing to do it again. Whether the view was
ever described to me before or it wasn't, I probably chose the apartment
because it felt light and airy, pleasant, which I did once. Most of us
rarely fully appreciate the things we are given. After a time we take them
for granted. That's true if we are sighted or if we are blind. There would
be no reason for me to justify to anyone why I was living there and if I
chose the place, then I wanted it for more than one reason. Therefore, my
answer would be, "No trade." I would probably explain that if I were
questioned further, but I don't feel any need to justify why I would want to
sty there, and I sure wouldn't feel guilty about it. I would turn on the
lights nights to make it appear that I was home, to keep me a little safer,
for the convenience of friends who come by, and because if I want to be
treated equally I have to act equally. I would, as I said before, hang
pictures or plates that seemed appealing to me, and I would consider that
people would enjoy looking at them, particularly if I had had a good
description. I would not choose an apartment to please my sighted friends.
I would choose it because of its convenient layout, its convenience to
transportation, perhaps, what else the complex had to offer. We bought a
place with a pasture but we don't have any cows. If someone came and wanted
to trade it, I'd offer to rent out the pasture. If they offered me a good
price, I might sell that part of the land, but the sense of having it there
is really pastoral.”

Cindy ray (Iowa USA)

FROM ME: “Yes, you can respond as many times as you would like.”

**55. “Your new friend is thoughtless and rude! Maybe the individual likes living up higher in the building.....a status thing. No matter what the reason, the
"new friend" obviously doesn't care about the individual's feelings. I'm sorry, but there could be another way of asking to trade apartments other than.....I'm
looking at the back of a mall. You're blind. How many ways can we say tacky?”

Elizabeth Eagan (Houston, Texas USA)

**56. “As a sighted individual, I do not pick my homes by the view. My choices are
based upon pets-allowed, cost, location, and availability. Next come general
agreeableness of the home, such as: how many rooms, how large, what's the
airflow like in the building, how high are the ceilings, does the noise
transfer through the walls, how does it smell (places always smell, but some
are transitory and others are permanent) and does it have enough space for my
stuff? I also prefer places with more greenery around, rather than buildings
and cement. And I notice the way sounds echo (I'm impatient to get things on
the wall to buffer echoes).

If all things are equal between two potential places, and one has a brilliant
view and the other does not, you bet I'll go for the view. But the point I'm
trying to make here is that while a view is nice, as a sighted individual,
the view is very low on my list of priorities.

In my opinion, it stands to reason that anyone with the financial ability to
actively choose a place to live, is going to choose between multiple
dwellings, and have specific and personal reasons for having chosen the
current home.

I think the new acquaintance was flatly rude, obnoxious and overbearing.

I've found a lot of the responses to this Thought Provoker very interesting,
and would like to make a few brief comments to some (bear with me, I'll shut
up soon ).

I enjoyed the verbal description of the view in this TP. Being able to give
good, verbal descriptions is not, as I'm sure you all know, a natural talent
born of sight. And I can appreciate someone who's gifted with, and uses, such
a talent.

As for decorations...I'm part pack-rat. I have many decorations and they hang
on the walls and from the ceiling. As I said earlier, they're echo-baffles as
well as reflections of anything I find appealing or have an active interest
in. At least 50 percent of the items I decorate with, are three-dimensional
objects rather than photos or paintings. I'd love to include a ton of plants,
but I have zero talent for keeping them alive.

And in response to Linda, in #35, whose home was carpeted in deep red shades
that she found violent... I expect it was difficult to explain the (for lack
of a better term) emotional feedback from the colors. After all, someone
actively chose those shades, presumably as favorable, and then had the home
carpeted. But I agree that experiencing the world around us is far more than
simply tuning in (or out) a single sense. And there's far more involved in
that experience than the physical senses.”

Brett Crow (USA

FROM ME: “’there's far more involved in
that experience than the physical senses.”’ How is this for a reason?”

**57. “This reminds me of when I began to notice I was losing some of my hearing.
My son that I should give him my stereo. He said I wouldn't be needing it
any more.”

Dan Hollis (AERnet)

**58. “Well, here's one that does not push my buttons, but does give me pause to
think. I am not totally blind so I do appreciate a good view, but I can not see
nearly as much of it as a person with normal vision. I often do not know what I am
missing unless someone else describes the details I can not see. One thought that
comes to mind is the perks of power. When you rise in a position to become boss
or chairperson, you often get the office with a window or with a view. It
represents power and status as much as an esthetic quality and can not be valued as
unnecessary to a person who can not see, or is too busy to look, or is lacking in
esthetic appreciation. I think it was Diderot and/or Rousseau who began to
question what it is that a person who is blind perceives and experiences of the
world, and how he or she organizes and remembers it.”

John Frank (AERnet)

**59. “I'm a total who once had limited vision. I like the description of
the view in your message. I can remember what many things look like: trees,
flowers and birds. However, I still have a problem with imagining what "hot
pink" or "periwinkle" look like.”

James Prather (Detroit, Michigan USA)

**60. “Yes, the sighted do have a problem understanding many things involved with vision loss. Having a blind person show value in something purely visual is a real difficulty for some to imagine. But this is still no real surprise, there is so much in this life that we all do not understand about yourselves, about people, people who are different. Being sighted, reading what is being said in this has opened my eyes and I am comforted in knowing that if I were to go blind that I would still value the visual aspects of my surroundings.”

Just Surfed On In (WWW)

**61. “This reminds me a little of the discussions I had with my wife about
purchasing a digital camera. I’m totally blind, and she only has a little
peripheral vision. When I told her I wanted a digital camera, she wanted to
know what I was going to do with a digital camera. "Take pictures" was my

How are you going to take pictures when you can't see?" she wanted to

"I can point and click," I told her, "It's not like I would be
wasting film or anything. If the pictures are no good, just delete them."

After about a month of going back and forth about this, she
eventually relented and I got my digital camera. From all accounts, I'm
taking pretty good pictures too. She keeps threatening to throw it in the
trash because I take it everywhere with me and am always taking pictures of
our new son--at the doctor's office, in the car, the shopping cart at
Wal-Mart...--She says I'm driving her crazy..

We had similar discussions about my coin collecting and trading card

David Bundy (West Columbia, SC, USA

**62. "The story reflects the need for education even of feelings. For one to make such a
statement like," why do you need the view?" is a laugh but pitiful.
Should I give up my wife because she is more attractive than his? do I
need to ride in the back of the bus as I cannot see where the driver is
going? Should I wear old clothes to work instead of a
good fitting
business suit because I cannot see. Hello friends, lets educate everyone
at the same time here. Some would make the statement or ask the question
as given in this story because they just could not imagine what else to
say. The only statement I can come back with now would be" sorry Old’chap,
but I like the view for my friends and family but if you notice I have a
quality audiovisual system beside you also, which we all enjoy. However
for an extra $200 there are nice apartments up one more floor." I thank
you Robert for the ultimate challenge this time.”

Lee A. Stone (Hudson, New York USA

**63. “You asked for the opinion of a sighted person who likes to read. Well, I not
only like to read but also to write, and I just love describing situations,
expressions, views, landscapes, house construction styles, clothing, the list
goes on and on. I like to be able to let people know what they are not
seeing by using as many or as few words as possible, depending on the
circumstance. I've never talked to a blind person, but have often thought
that if I had to paint a verbal picture, I would pretend that I was
formulating my words and sentences for someone who had lost the ability to
see and would of course need a lot of information as pertains to the other
senses. I guess that with blind people, it maybe depends on whether they
have ever seen anything, or can remember having seen, or if they were born
blind. I know that if I am describing the view outside my hotel room in
Hawaii to my sister, I will be as verbose as possible because I really want
to let her know how fully beautiful the scenery is. I would also tell her
how the breeze feels as it skirts ever so lightly across my face, and I would
try to capture the right words to relate the pungent yet sweet aroma of the
flowers outside my window. I would want her to know how magical and
intriguing it looks as the reflection of the sun is broken into thousands of
sparkling shards dancing off the peaks and valleys of the water. I would
also describe the way that ocean tricks the eye into believing that all is
calm, while at the shoreline that same ocean is forming the most awesome
waves one has ever seen, taller than some buildings yet far more inspiring
because they are not man-made and just to prove it, one can see a little
rainbow forming from the spray that is created by this giant crescendo of
warm, salty water. Only God could have designed something like that, and it
is quite a challenge to describe multi-dimensionally. Luckily, my sister is
sighted, so I can talk to her over the phone and she can visualize what I am
describing to her. If anyone who is reading this was at one time able to
see, then my writing will make some sense, but to a person who has never seen
water, or the sun, then how do I dare try to tell them about bits of light on
water, and why on earth would I even mention a rainbow? It would be very
confusing to describe to someone who has never seen color. More than that,
it would be frustrating to the person doing the describing. Personally, I
might feel that it is a waste of time. I think that is the point of the
story......is a good view wasted on the blind and is it fair that people
think that way. I've noticed that many of the blind people who were born
blind and have written their responses don't seem to really care about the
view and are more concerned about the money they could save by taking a place
with a lesser view. Those who have been blinded later in life have written
that they are just as much entitled to a view as anyone, and I wonder if that
is because they still remember what has been so sadly taken away from them
and they take comfort in knowing that it is there even if they cannot see it.
What surprises me, though, is that the people who insist on having the view
are the same people who, in another "Thought Provoker," said that they would
not want an operation to restore their sight because they are happy the way
they are. This does not make sense to me. If having a nice view makes you
happy because you can hear the birds and feel the tranquility and smell
nature, imagine how much nicer it would be to actually see it. I can hear
the birds and smell the smells and taste and touch and I can even shut my
eyes if I want to enhance the other senses. Those senses are just other
senses to me after all, and not any more or less important to me than to you.
I use them and I enjoy them, but luckily I do not have to depend on those
senses to appreciate my world because more than 80% of human mental
stimulation is visual. It is sad to me that blindness takes away so much
from people who once could see. To cover a plot of one's garden with a dark
cloth would be disastrous to the welfare of the plants in that garden, but
blindness casts a dark cloth over its victims and yet I am hearing that it is
not so bad, adjustments can be made and life goes on. Well, if given the
chance to see again, why in the world would one say no, that life is just
fine. Why would someone choose, willingly, to go through life using a big
feeler to determine if the path ahead is clear when sight will not only tell
you that you are not going to trip or stumble and that you are going the
right way, but also that there are some flowers to the left of you and
majestic mountains in the distance to the right? I can understand how people
who have never seen anything would not want to change their lives at this
point in the game. They do not know what seeing is, what it means to
actually look at something and study it and learn from it. They are well
adjusted to the way they look at things, and what they think things look
like. I've noticed also from this website that the born blinders are more
understanding to the fact that sighted people don't always know what to do or
how to talk to blind people, and they also seem open to almost any situation
or new idea. Those who had sight and then lost it seem more set in their
ways, once they've learned them. One man rejected the idea of marrying a
sighted woman, and he also seemed to put down people who have chosen to use a
dog as a guide. Does this guy have something against eyes that work, just
because his don't any more? He seems very confident that he can do it all
himself, and he probably can, but if we were walking together, I would hear
and feel and smell the same things he would, and I would probably walk at the
same pace as he, but I would feel that I arrived at our destination first
because I've seen it coming, back when he could only smell or hear where he
is. He has to reach out and touch where he is, while I am already there, and
I can't for the life of me understand why he would prefer his blindness if
given the chance to change things. Perhaps if someone took the time to fully
describe the "view" to him once in a while, he would want to see it again. I
have much more to say about this, but I've gotten off the point, which was
how a sighted person who likes to read perceives and describes beautiful
pictures, sights or views. I use everything I have, and I try to incorporate
all the senses that pertain to what I am describing, and I throw in a little
humor and a whole lot of heart.”

K (Naples F USA)

FROM ME: “Well, in what way would/does a description of a view differ for someone who was born blind verses someone who goes blind?”

**64. “I've got to say that I'm still partially sighted and enjoy a beautiful view
more now than ever. I try to imprint the sights on my mind so I can bring
them up later. The "friend" may or may not understand that even though you
can't see the view you can feel the airy quality and hear the birds and the
sun can warm you by it's touch making things peaceful for a time if you want
to stand there with a cup or glass of your favorite beverage reflecting on
things for a quiet moment. I would have to tell him that there are other
things to be taken in consideration than just sight...there are many ways to
"view" a setting.”

Nita Leach (Manchester, New Hampshire USA)

**65. “This one brought up a question
in my mind, which I have bounced around for many years, and that is, "Is the
image in our mind's eye a visual image?" I personally believe that, in
spite of our culture's value system which equates image with vision, that
the image in our minds is a complete reproduction of the world we
experience, and that most people deny themselves the complete image by only
focusing on the visual aspects of the experience. I have over the years
been asked by sighted friends if people who are totally blind from birth
have the same concepts, understanding, or imagine the world in the same way
as persons that can or have seen. Since I had vision at one time in my
life, and still have a very small degree of vision, I certainly do not feel
that I am the right person to answer this question, but I felt it was worth
thinking about. I decided to try an experiment, I asked a totally blind
friend, born in the RLF days, and a sighted friend to describe a familiar
object to me, in this case a Volkswagen Beetle. The blind friend came from
a family that owned such a car, and I don't know whether the sighted friend
ever did, but in any case their descriptions were interchangeable, except
for one point, the sighted friend made a few comments about them coming in
several different colors.

Allow me to stand this discussion on its head for a moment, and ask your
sighted readers, along with anyone else that wants to take a poke at this, a
few questions. Why do sighted people travel to other places for vacations?
Why not just go to the library and check out a book and a video tape of
these places? You have the travel channel, and they show beautiful pictures
of far away places, and you can access more pictures of these great places
through the internet these days, so why would you want to spend all that
money to go there? You can see your favorite stars, singers, and models on
television anytime you wish, why do you feel the need to meet them in
person, or go to a concert? If you happen to live in an apartment with a
lousy view, why not just cover up the windows with large photographs of a
beautiful view, rather than pay a higher rent payment?

Vision is a wonderful thing, but so is life without it.”

Jeff Altman (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “This gentleman in one part of his response suggests going to the library to get your ‘beautiful view.’ In response, my mind brought up this question- They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, can it be reversed and could it then be said that a thousand words is worth a picture?”

**66. “it's funny that you say that because I've had the same comments on
having nothing hanging on the walls. It's not that I haven't wanted
to. For years, Donovan and I were renting an apartment and we had not
wanted to put any marks of any kind on the walls. Now that we own our own
mobile home, I still don't have a desire to hang things on the walls
because what good would it do us?

The only thing we have on the wall right now is a clock that we were given
as a wedding gift by my sister Carolyn. The clock is a Native American
sand painting and it is beautiful. The only other thing I hang on the wall
is a calendar but the numbers have to be dark enough for me to see. What
good is a picture on the wall going to do Donovan? I don't go out and look
for anything to hang on the wall because I feel that the money could be
better spent somewhere else.”

Bonnie Ainsworth (Wyoming USA)

**67. "There are several definitions of being blind. One can be legally
blind, that is 20/200 vision in both eyes, or having visual fields of 20
degrees or less in both eyes. A person can be totally blind that is to say
have no sight, No light perception. Some people lose vision at birth, some
lose vision later in life. With or without vision I can still enjoy nature.
I get more pleasure and enjoyment when I can share something as this view
with something beautiful as your description; with friends such as you. I
enjoy my view, I can still see the forest for the tree, and I enjoy your
company. No I don't want to trade -- if you were in my shoes would? I
thank you for your expressed appreciation of the view and my home. It feels
good knowing others enjoy our abode."

The other day my wife mentioned that at our bank there was a notice
going up "Coming soon Braille ATM machine and drive through windows" At first
she had to think about it. Drive-through with Braille. The initial reaction
for her and myself, was that the bank was anticipating blind (total or legal)
drivers. After a moment's thought I said to my wife well at first that
seems strange, but think for a second someone using a taxi service, chauffeur
or limbo service, or riding with friends or relatives, may be in the back
seat. A person in back can still make transactions from drive through. Same
premise is valid at a fast food drive-through.

Not only is educating important, but so is understanding. I can
educate family, friends, coworkers, superiors, and consumers about adaptive
techniques and devices available to help keep independence for a person with
blindness -- total or legally; however, if a person doesn't understand how
the technique or device works, then the education is almost mute. Not
everyone has been exposed to all the ins and outs of disability or
rehabilitation. There are many things in this world I know very little or
nothing about. If someone makes the effort to educate me, then I need to
make the effort to understand.”

Geoff Kettling Rehab Teacher (Victoria, Texas USA
(The above response is the sole expressed opinion of the author, not
necessarily that of the agency for which, the author is employed)

FROM ME: “This gentleman gave a multipart answer/reason. In part he said, I can still enjoy nature; tell the forest from the tree. I read allot into the second half of this reason. How about you?”

**68. “I had to think about this one for a while. I don't think it's fair for
sighted people to lump us into a category of cans and cant’s. I've had
some interesting experiences with people who have forgotten I could see
quite well once before and don't realize I may be able to call on memory
to enjoy a very "visual" experience. The most notable came when a friend
of mine invited me into Boston with him for the day to celebrate our
birthdays which were a month apart. We agreed to go to the museum of
Science and he asked me if there were any exhibits I'd particularly like
to see. I replied without hesitation that I wanted to visit the
planetarium. There was silence on the other end of the phone a few seconds
then he asked very cautiously like he was afraid of upsetting me how I
could enjoy a planetarium show. I reminded him that they described what was
projected and I could use that information to picture it. He admitted he
forgot that I had had better vision. The other side of that is this, When
my mother and I get together she desperately needs to believe I can see
beautiful things. A couple years ago she was here for balloon Fiesta,
there were balloons ascending within sight of their hotel and they asked
if I could see them. At first I said no as I could not. Mom and my God
Mother then began turning my head and changing my position and each time
asking again if I could see. I kept saying no and each time they sound more
and more desperate as they repositioned me hoping for the answer that
would allay their sadness and guilt at having better sight. Finally I told
them that yes I could see them and they seemed so grateful. There were
some guilt issues especially with my mother who hates to remember I once
could see better as it reminds her that she didn't fight harder with the
doctors about some things I won't go into but I think a lot of this
scenario relates to the comfort level of sighted people. I think there is a
certain level of guilt on their part when they can see something and we
can't. They feel like they're doing something wrong I think by being able
to see. It's easier for them to be comfortable when we are in bland
surroundings because then they don't have to deal with that guilt and
really there is nothing for them to feel guilty about. I wish they could
get that. I mean they can see, that's all there is too it and there's
nothing to feel guilty about. We can't see and we usually don't resent
them for having something we don't. Their being able to see isn't harming
us in anyway so why the guilt. We experience the same beauty just
differently. Some like me use what vision they have plus memory and others rely solely on imagination and other rely on their understanding of
words used by others to describe, some use other senses to experience it
and some use all of the above.”

Sue Ellen Melo (USA)

FROM ME: “Do you think guilt can play a part in a reason why a sighted person may feel uncomfortable understanding why a blind visually impaired person may like/need or have a problem easily sharing the knowledge of a beautiful view with a blind person?”

**69. “This is in response to the message from respondent 63, (Naples F). I was born blind, and I can't tell you how much I appreciated the vivid description of the view from
your window in Hawaii. I can picture it in my mind's eye; (I do have one, and it works). I had the good fortune to visit Hawaii some years ago, and
I still remember the gentle Trade winds; the sound of the waves; the smell of the flowers. Of course, it would have been wonderful to see it; but it isn't
going to happen, so why waste energy wishing it would? I have vivid mental pictures of people and things. Perhaps they aren't accurate, but so what?
It works for me.

If you wouldn't mind, could you send some more of your detailed descriptions? I would love to hear them.”

Colleen Chandler (North Platte, Nebraska USA
E-mail: irish@nque.com)

FROM ME: “’Perhaps they aren't accurate, but so what?’ I really liked this statement! Don’t we all, sighted or blind know this can be the case when we visualize something? And finally she says, ‘But so what? It works for me.’”

**70. “I'm troubled by the response by the sighted person, response 63, about blindness vs.
sight. First of all, I'm not sure that everybody responding to "the view"
said he/she had been born blind or had lost his/her sight. I was born
blind, and I'd keep the apartment with the view. Why? Because I could,
because I chose it for its airy joyful feeling, because I liked its kitchen,
because I liked its floor plan. The view was frosting on a cake. How can you
dare to presume that because I was born blind it would be a waste of your
time to describe Hawaii to me. Sure, much of what you say I don't imagine
based on my ability to see, but I do imagine it based on experience and upon
having read things, and having seen some of the fragrant flowers from Hawaii
and from other places, too. And if my image of the thing isn't the same as
yours is, what does it really matter. Suppose I enjoyed it. Because at
some point as you see in your mind's eye past objects, views, etc., you may
well have enhanced them or, for that matter, diminished them, with your
mind's view of them.

As for why someone might not want to change their blindness for sight, let's
see! Much of the surgery for that at this point is based on certain
implants. That implies that seeing with such a thing would be artificial
seeing as much of hearing with a cochlear implant is artificial hearing.
Perhaps the persons would find that a waste of money when he/she has
adjusted. The person may be kidding him or herself, of course, but you do
leave out one dimension. There are people who, believe it or not, were
better off after they lost their sight. When they were sighted, they were
in positions where they couldn't get ahead. Let's say the person was doing
janitor work. Well, there's nothing wrong with that, so don't think I'm
putting it down. But let's say the person is doing that to earn money
because money had to be earned to help raise the rest of the brothers and
sisters. Then, say, the person lost sight. Because of that, this person
received training and was able to take on a better paying, more fulfilling
job. Sure, you could still do that job if you got your sight back, but
you'd have to be trained again as a sighted person to do it. The longer you
are blind, even when you have lost your sight, the more images fade. Not
all of them, but some of them, and you learn to function as a blind person.
Then you have surgery and get your sight back. You then must go through
another, perhaps emotionally painful transition as the one you went through
when you lost your sight. If that's true, then you will avoid going
through that again just as you would avoid any other painfully emotional

Cindy Raye (Leon, Iowa USA)

**71. “ for anything to hang on the wall because I feel that the money could be
better spent somewhere else." >>

Interesting point. I have pictures all over my walls, paintings I've done
myself, gifts from relatives, or those I've bought. People ask me if I feel
sad that my husband can't see my paintings. I describe them to him as well
as I can, but sadness was never an issue. He has a deep appreciation for
classical music, and I barely stay awake when it is played. Is he sad that I
don't appreciate the music? It just isn't an issue.”

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York USA)

**72. “I also love the library but I must tell you as one
who is fortunate to travel extensively with my dog Guide. It is important,
for me personally to discuss with each person I meet in a new airport or
train station, or even in the lounge of a favorite hotel, the thoughts
folks have." did you see last night?" comes out and CANES AND DOGS
then" I am sorry
didn’t think about you being blind." No matter where I go and where I
stay , there are nice folks sighted and who will describe for me what
is around as I want to know. This is my way of expanding relationships,
understanding and most importantly, how others in the world survive. We are
all in a sense survivors in this great old world , so why not make the
best of it. Did you ever listen to a recorded book and sense the
person was " just a reader"? Many a person with a disability has there
individual reasons for living the way they do, to include saving money
as" I cannot see it anyway.", but for myself, with children and
grandchildren in the house, all the walls have something and I know I get from my wife laugh when I hear about new paint or wallpaper. I am guilty of
rambling but as a person who could see something for many years and who
actually drove a couple of years, I still want to reach out and touch
someone and someplace. To live and be alive with our surroundings to
include new friends as we have here in this format. Whether we have seen or
never seen visually in our lives, you can clearly see the need to remain
positive, laugh and one more thing, if you are the man of the office.
Wear something daring and wild such as a cartoon type of wardrobe, just to
brighten someone’s day besides your own. smile and have a super day...”

Lee A. stone (Hudson,New York USA

**73. “Never have I been given a choice of apartments in any complex I moved
into. It's always been based on apartment availability at move in date.”

jude (Lexington Park, Maryland USA

**74. “I am writing in response to number 63 on the current thought-PROVOKER subject. Like this individual, I have noticed many discrepancies in the views that
certain individuals hold. It is very true that they vary due to the length of the blindness, but we also have to allow for individuality.

Many of us who have never had enough usable vision to see details, colors, people's expressions or the natural beauty that surrounds us have learned to detect it with our other senses. If we failed to realize or to admit that we are missing out on a large portion of the perception of beauty then we are
living in a state of deep denial.
But when considering choosing a place to live, much more is involved than the cost or the view. Each person's individual needs must be carefully examined
and considered at this time. Whether an individual is purchasing a home or only renting one, binding agreements make it necessary to find an adequate
place before becoming legally responsible. Among the things to be considered are transportation availability, near by shopping, privacy, security, expenses,
and yes, even ones level of noise tolerance. Personally, I cannot tolerate a high level of noise, whether it be due to traffic or lack of human consideration.
Therefore, I would opt for a home or an apartment with a nice peaceful atmosphere, where I can feel the peace that is only derived from communing with nature,
rather than procuring living accommodation with a spectacular view. However, if both were available I would definitely go for it. Having a good view
for my friends and visitors is important, but true friends do not evaluate us on where we live, but upon the real person we are deep down inside. If our
acquaintances judge us on our surroundings rather than who we really are, then it is time for us to find new friends.

I would like to point out just one thought on your question about why the difference in describing a scene to someone who has always been blind and to one
who has not. More details are needed for us who have never seen things in the past. We have nothing from which to draw mental pictures. Colors for example
cannot be explained when an individual has never seen them. I do understand their chemistry and perhaps the word "mechanics" will suffice here, but complete
comprehension of color is impossible without sight. The closest thing that I have been able to use to describe intensities, depths and shades of one color
is a musical note. The same note can be played softly, mellow, staccato, shrilly, sadly or in a full and brilliant manner. This concept may not hold
true to everyone though.

As for the sighted person in item 63 who feels that describing a rainbow would be of no avail to the blind person and frustrating to the sighted describer,
I say no. Many people have described rainbows to me, and I appreciated it even though I am sure that my comprehension of it is still far less awesome
than it really is. But I still felt the beauty and magnificence of it, and the individuals who described it to me felt joy and fulfillment from sharing
their experience with me.”

Freda Trusty (Dallas Texas USA

FROM ME: “A nice peaceful atmosphere, how about this for a reason?”

**75. “I am sighted. Never had an eye problem and hope I never do. Reading this list has given me insight about vision loss and people. Robert has shown us many reasons who and why a beautiful view can be just as important to a sightless person as to a sighted one. Yes, the sightless person is missing the visual dimension, but has all the rest. This made me open my eyes to the larger part of a view and that’s not the visual one. Thank you all!”

Martin Mosbey (Canada)

**76. "
“Here's a good analogy to this: "I am blind and want to go to China. But
since I can't see anything, why waste my money by going? I'm not going to
SEE it!"

Sometimes, it's the experience that counts.”

Laura O’Brien (USA)

FROM ME: “When I travel I also enjoy the food, new drinks, the smells, the sounds of language and/or the environment, the people, the touch of another culture, learning of that people’s history, souvenirs, etc. Traveling is great! And if I could see it too, well like they say, that would be icing on the cake; but give me that cake. How about you?”

**77. “TPs. I also want to say that I started this response prior to knowing any
more about the person I'm responding to here than a number. My response is
not meant to burn, only to light a fire. Sometimes I do that with a good
gust of wind but, this isn't intended as any more than just that. And, I
wish I was able to write as effectively as 63.

My theme on this one is one of validity. That is, how can one person
assume (making an ASS out of U and ME) that their experience is so much
more valid than that of another person's based on the possession of one or
more characteristics which are presumed to be superior. With this kind of
thinking then, how could Beethoven have written his Ninth Symphony and how
could that piece have made such a mark on musical composition as he was
mostly deaf when he wrote this work. No, I don't care what he had and what
he lost or whether or not he had it in the first place. That's not the
point here. The point is that we all come to any situation with our own
set of experiences, strengths, weaknesses, and a "whole mess" of other
things that make us all what we are...DIFFERENT!! Imagine telling someone
seated in row 20 on the 50-yard line at a football game that they don't
have the knowledge and understanding to have such a seat as they've never
been to a game before and suggesting that they'd be better off seated in
the last row of a corner seat in the end zone; that would be crazy so, why
do we as blind people have to be subjected to this kind of thing? The
interesting paradox here is that the sighted person sees the blind person
and immediately begins presuming, based on their own experience as a
sighted person, that the blind person is simply not able without vision to
read and process information in any other meaningful way than with eye
sight. Let us be reminded here about how well sound carries over water and
that a breeze over water feels differently than one over land. Also, the
conveyances of information that we have and have to read that the sighted
may take for granted or simply not believe in...the cane, the fingertips,
sense of smell and hearing. In other words, eye sight here is the perfect
tool used to completely misinterpret the situation based on incorrectly
processed information.

So, for #63 to assume that she is arriving at an experience prior to me due
to her superior sight may or may not be at all accurate and, in some cases,
could even prove to be rather dangerous. Yes, 63 may very well see
something that I'd missed and feel the need to communicate that to me.
But, I may have realized something quite different in the same experience
and given her information which, she may not have ever considered without
that input. Or, she may tell me about an obstacle 20 feet in front of me
thinking that this information is of some value to me. Well, until I
contact it with my cane or get some other cue that tells me I need to do
something about it, the information is of no value to me and the "warning"
is actually more of an interference with what I'm doing and where I'm
going. How many times have we all been bombarded with misleading
information given to us by well-meaning sighted people who are sure we have
to know about something before we really need to know about it, thus
defeating and interfering with our abilities to get and process that
knowledge through the use of skills and techniques that most sighted people
simply don't believe in and can't understand?

Could any of us ever imagine going to a movie, a concert, or some other
type of performance and approaching someone and questioning their ability
to grasp the experience before them because of say, their hair color, their
size, their manor of dress, etc? I think not unless you simply had no
social skills or reveled in being a jerk. Why then is it that blind people
are constantly having to analyze all of these mechanical aspects about
vision as a means of responding to someone who simply sees us on the lesser
side of a social fire wall? And, why is it that people are so critical of
us when we react in a manor other than graciousness just because our
disability is visible to others around us?

This TP reminds me of the old "redlining" strategy used in many places
(Chicago in the 50s is a classic example) where real-estate people suggested
to black people that they would be much more comfortable living in certain
parts of the city among their own kind. By the way, that strategy didn't
include reduced prices for housing for those people either. The fact that
the "new friend" with the not so desirable location attempts to drag the
blind person with the beautiful view into a trade so that he/she may
resolve their situation and really almost "begging" for an out of a
decision that they find themselves wishing they hadn't made is terribly rood
and inconsiderate. Can anyone imagine any situation in society today
between mature and consenting adults where this would be tolerated? Why
then those of us because we are blind?

Well, I've made my case and probably carried this out too long but, issues
like this are to me so much more social than physical. Of course we've all
known of people with five perfectly "normal" senses who have very limited
intuitive ability and people with many limitations who are very intuitive.
On the other hand, just exactly the opposite can be just as true. We just
need to be careful of what criteria we use to validate other people and
their hopes and dreams and remember that "to ASSUME only makes an ASS out
of U and ME!!"

Bob Simonson (Omaha, Nebraska

FROM ME: Yes, lighting a fire is good; burning a person for their differing view is not my idea of teaching/learning.”

**78. “One of your responses, somewhere in the sixties, described how they read some of the
responses from blind people who seem contradictory.

This person could not understand why one would want to remain blind.

You know of my blindness as well as my religious beliefs. I believe
that God can and still does heal people today. However, I have found
myself being very reluctant in receiving that healing... I am scared of
change. SSD, SSI, depending on people for rides, etc. This causes
co-dependency, insecurity in myself and my own abilities, and so on.

I am sure that there are other blind people who are different and may
have other reasons as to why they would not want their sight back.
However, as for myself, I would have a hard time with the drastic change
that it would cause. There was even a movie with Val Kilmer that
addressed this issue. The surge of light and emotions was almost
overwhelming for him.”

Gary Crane (Bellevue, Nebraska USA)

**79. "When my family has looked at things that were beautiful, I think, "I sure
wish I wasn't blind." This is mostly when I go to places in San Diego, such
as Sea World, the Wild Animal Park, or different places. During the
Christmas season, they have Christmas lights at the Wild Animal Park. I
walk around with my family, but if I could see, it would be more than
walking around. Sometimes, I don't like being blind."

Beth Catz (California