I Can See Better Than You


I Can See Better Than You

     “Look, Mac, I know the teacher asked for volunteers, but I can see better than you so I can run and do this without your help.” said the first boy, pushing his bottle-bottom-thick glasses up more firmly onto his pug nose.

     “Come on, Timmy, you always get to do all the neat stuff! She said more than one guy could go.” Mac was determined to have his say. He stood poised to charge ahead, his knuckles turning white as he gripped his long white cane by its handle with the long shaft stretching out in front of him. “You do this in Scouts too, this...this ‘I can see better so let me do it’ junk! I’m going to tell Mister Brown that he is the leader and he has to make sure all the Scouts earn their badges. At home my father lets me start fires and use a knife and his power tools too! So I can do all those things in Scouts like
you. Just different!” Then stomping his cane, he finished with, “That goes the same for going down to the office and carrying back the stuff the teacher wants. Now WE are going together!” and Mac started off walking.

     “Yeah! Oh, Yeah! Well, guess I can’t stop you, but I’m not going to wait up for you.” And with his parting shot, Timmy sped off down the long hallway toward the school's office.

     Mac hustled, bringing up the rear, tapping and tapping as fast as he could swing his cane, mumbling, "It's not fair! It's not fair!" in time with each swing.

     The morning just stayed awful; finally it was lunchtime. Mac got down to the last station, picked up a carton of milk and added it to his already crowded tray. This was a job that always made him nervous. He made several attempts to lift and level his tray and still have his cane hand free.

     “Trouble, Mac? Let me get one of the other kids to help you with that, okay?" said one of the adult servers.

     “Ah, thanks. I’d hate to spill this stuff.” Mac said, hoping it wouldn’t be any of the other blind students that had some usable vision, and for sure, not Timmy!

e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. I am a member of a blind paddling team. Status on the team is partially
based on visual acuity. Last year it was really bad when the captain of the team, who has the most vision, reveled in letting everyone know how much she could see and loudly leading people around.
There is a wide chasm between those who have a little vision and those who are totally blind.

Patti Blind-X

**2. It happens all the time, sometimes plain out and sometimes more hidden. I remember at the school for the blind, the "sight-saving students" were usually the ones asked to do helpful things around the school, even some of those whose adjustment to blindness wasn't all that good. But I really got upset when they were allowed to go off campus by themselves and we totally blind kids could only go either with a houseparent along or with one of the "sight saving students" along. I mean, what did that tell us about our potential abilities? And what did it mistakenly tell the partially-sighted kids? Pretty discouraging, huh? When I was old enough to be on the student council, we really pushed this issue and were finally allowed to go. I remember the first time a friend and I went to the little store on the way downtown, during a snowstorm. We almost got lost, but I was determined we would make it back or they would probably change the rules again. It took us a while, but we made it back. Yea!

In Brownies and Girl Scouts, though some of the leaders really did try to address the problem, the ones with more vision did more on projects etc. I remember when another blind friend and I belonged to a troop with the "town girls" as we called the sighted public school girls. We were making wreaths for Christmas gifts, and they not only assumed that they'd make the items for us but had started them and then had us do just a little bit so we could say we'd done them. I got a little upset and said that this was not my wreath, that I wanted to start from scratch and make it myself! They were so very doubtful but I was my usual persistent self and insisted on it.
I did make my own, and my Mom said it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever made and how well I had done. I was so glad that I could know, down in my heart, that I really had made it myself.
When spring came, they made Kleenex and tissue-paper flowers, and this time, they didn't hesitate to show me how. So when May Day came, at school, and all these partially-sighted kids were making decorations, I just showed up and made flowers, too. Sometimes we do have to just show up and do it anyway!

It happens in adult-hood, too, even at our national conventions. Impatient partially-sighted persons often will attempt to control those whom they assume are less capable than themselves. It is not in line with the philosophy that we're taught; that one's level of vision is irrelevant, if you use blindness skills, you're blind--but it happens, in real life, anyway.

I've even seen it happen with partially-sighted members of our organizations who neither read Braille, nor use a cane, but go around proclaiming what wonderful examples of blind persons they are, then turn around and treat totally blind persons as if they are less capable than themselves. Annnnnoyyyyyying!

Sighted people are constantly asking me how much vision I have or "are you totally ...uh ...." and I don't think it is any more of their business than how much money I make or that kind of personal thing. It gets asked all the time, as if they think that seeing any amount would be better than not at all.

Lauren Merryfield Washington USA

FROM ME: Anyone ever heard of the hierarchy of vision?

**3. This provoker speaks to a part of any blind person's life. It is a difficult part of our lives. It takes up a lot of time in NFB meetings, training in orientation centers and counseling sessions with teachers and rehabilitation personnel. We all vacillate. One minute we take the assistance. The next minute, we are offended by the thought of such a thing. Sometimes, we even are offended and take the help. I don't know the answer. Maybe it changes with the situation. Maybe it is a matter of independence versus interdependence. For now, I guess I'll just do what I can each time.

As a person with some vision, I often think before I offer a service to someone who is totally blind. I often wonder it what I would offer is something they would rather do for themselves. I almost always know it is something the person can do. Working in rehabilitation, I also have to stop and consider how it looks to others. Even people for whom it is not a concern what I do for another will have an opinion on the matter. I guess all this blabbering into a keyboard leaves me with the notion that it depends on the situation.

Nancy Coffman Lincoln, Nebraska USA

**4. I will never forget this. In the sixth grade, a high partially sighted girl was asked each day after lunch, to "do the desks" after lunch. By this, the school aide was trying to say, wipe off the desks. The girl, who really was a very kind person, could see quite well. I can only see a little. I wanted to "do' my own desk, or for that matter, "do' all the desks. Why couldn't we? Why did you have to "see" to "do desks?" And it wasn't even that this girl was doing the superior thing, which many" high partials" like to do. I just wanted to "do the desks" that's all, and I didn't know, or didn't "see" as it were, why I couldn't. I "did" the table at home.

So now, this same scene is still played out. Things have not gotten better as we age. I thought they would. My mom would tell me they would get better, and Dad, who was wary and sometimes a little distant, sat silent. He knew that people would remain prejudiced, but wouldn't say. And he was right. Grievously, mom and dad passed away. And an aunt and cousin swore up and down, that I couldn't do the cleaning. They actually never said it, it was the
inference. That's worse than actually making a direct statement. I find that I can do the cleaning better than fully sighted people. Without saying too much, I can make a rug smell real good! My point is this. Those who ought to know better, don't. And physicians are the worst offenders, as they subscribe to that medical-model standpoint, which is a bad model. In brief, blindness is portrayed as a "burden" with "mourning" and "suffering." A real good book, What Psychotherapists Should know about disability, Guillford Press, New York, 1999. I digress, so now, back to those desks which need "doing." If given the training and the chance, why can't we clean? Not for nothing, but I have the cleanest toilet bowl in all of New York City. I" do" the bowl every night after "Jeopardy," if you get my drift. And I should own stock in PineSol. I have become compulsive about clean, and horrendous about being tidy. I am in a conflict, is what the difficulty is. My apartment looks like the World Trade C enter disaster. But it's clean! Isn't that
all that matters? And I have a dear friend whom I cherish, on this list who knows who I am, too! And even the grief counselor doesn't know what to do with me, regarding anything pertaining to disability or visual impairment, as most therapists don't. Peace out guys. We need each other. Stay in touch, stay well, and stay cool. Sincerely,

Lucia MARETT New York USA

**5. I want to put a different spin on this and come at it from a different angle. I can certainly understand from the blind students point that having someone with more 'usable vision' assist him would be demeaning and insulting as well as downright embarrassing. However being a high partial I can relate to the other side of the issue. I have always had usable vision and a pet peeve with me when I went to my last two years of high school at a school for the blind was the teachers assuming I would be the one to help. I was volunteered more than once for things that were in effect hard for me to do for myself much less assist someone else. Partial sight is such a tricky thing and god knows that we are all so much different in what we see. I would be a nervous wreck taking someone thru a buffet line when I could not tell what something was any more than the blind student nor balance my tray and walk sighted guide.
I was asked to escort people places with no depth perception and felt guilty running someone into a wall or making us both trip down the stairs. I think it is important to note this situation is just as painful and
frustrating for those of us who have partial vision.

Robyn Wallen St. Louis Missouri

**6. From Portland, Maine.
I am glad this subject, came up. Now, know, I am doing this from my perspective. As a sighted person, gradually loosing sight and now totally, blind. So, excuse the puns!!
Well, after the adjustments. I made a clear consent to myself, "You are going to learn to be totally independent." Well, along the way there was a lot of persons, that thought: 1. nuts, in trying to do everything. 2. "you are not really Blind"
3. You are going to hurt yourself! 4. Oh let me do it! I can do it faster!
Unlike, Mack, I started out sighted (guessing from the story, Mack, was blind early) with knowledge how to do things. So, it was a matter of learning a different way. So, in buying my new home. I just set things up for me. Really, not, all that different. The fun comes in the Spring, when it is time to pick the flowers for the flower bed! In going to the store, whether with a friend or one of my sons, I'll say, "There is only two things I need to know. One is color. The other is the height it is going to get." It drives them nuts!! As for me I can remember
the colors and that is important to me. The height, so it looks good. So, when, I am getting ready to plant, I have everything set for myself. Start working the soil and add in the dried cow manure and needed soil. Either working with the shovel or just my hands. "OH! Pop's/Dad, that is gross! How can you do that?" I just say that is easy, you can see and I can not. So, I have my way. Then, goes the plants and placing them according to the height and the color selection. Both my sons and neighbors are amazed. Or question the fact of being blind. I just laugh.. In the gutters for the front of the house. I got tired waiting for one of the sons to be there for putting them up. Telling myself, it can not be all that hard. So, I learned how to put them up, with the help of a neighbor. Now just get the ladder and climb up and snap them into place and move to the second one and so forth. Well, it can be interesting. As one remembering where the power line is coming into the house and then making sure the ladder is on the side of the house, when reaching the end of the home. Needless to say, I have gone up and found it near or off a little!! Then, as summer comes in. I love getting the lawn mower out and mowing the lawn!! Great exercise! Oh it is not perfect and my son and I joke about the patches that I have missed. Nothing special. Just using the Chain link fence around the whole property as a guide. We have fun joking about it. My son, Norman, who is home, just finishes up the patches I miss. Then, going into the winter season, shoveling the snow! Yea, right, at my age now, I shovel the snow so, I have a clear marking where the bare spots are on the driveway and sidewalk. Just taking sections at a time. Then, out comes the walk behind, snow blower. Well, there is times, I get carried away and
thinking the shoot is pointing towards the lawn; instead it is pointing towards the house. Well I might get mad for a minute, yet make the adjustments and move on. Here again, we laugh about it. As life is too short. I think the funniest one is when on the sidewalk! For the most part, the front walk is Chain link fence lined. Just follow it. Well, it never fails that I'll get off track and end up in the street! Well, the city plow truck driver knows, me. Especially after the first time. We joke about it all the time. "Hey, Gene, it is my job to plow the street!" He will get me back on the sidewalk and I am off and running again. Yet, that first time, I thought I was on the side walk. Then I heard this noise. Thinking to myself, " Man, I am snow blowing
the sidewalk and that plow is getting close!" Well, in typing it up. I even get a few chuckles! To me, life is so short, why not just enjoy life and make do with what you have. So, that is what I do.

Now, I know there is things that I can't do. Though, lately, I have found lately, in just joining the "Blind handyman, E-mail" List. There is a lot of more things that I can do!! All I have to do is give them the project that I want to work on. They give me the ideas on how to do the job! So, I am gradually, expanding. Yet, I would not pick up a chain saw, drive a car, or do something to endanger myself.
Yet, on the other side of the coin. Why not if I can find a way to do the job!!

When, it comes to others. I just let them know, you have your way and I have my way and it is all good!! For the most part they say, ok and I thank them for their help. The only thing if any is getting use to the word, "Amazed" yet, considering where they are
sighted and have no idea. I can understand.
I don't like the term "visually Impaired" I am just blind and comfortable with myself, in knowing what I can do and can not do. I feel good about myself and proud that I can still be a part of this mix up world and be involved!

If we can not laugh at ourselves and joke about our eyesight in how jobs can be done. Well, I think one would be in a puddle of tears for a long time and feeling sorry for ourselves. I choose to live in a positive form, be independent, enjoy life and laugh. At the end of the day I can go to bed and feel good about myself. That is not
to say, I don't have my days, and who doesn't have a day.
Just my perspective and having a little fun at myself. To share a fun day at my home!

Gene Stone

PS: I think Mack and Tim, will go far!!

**7. This is a very interesting thought provoker in that we live in a world full of competition. I think that there's as much competition of one kind of another among blind people as there is among sighted people or people of other disabilities. One person or group of people are determined to be better than the other or feel that they are better than the other; thus the competition of who's going to do it first, go there first, will do better, etc. occurs.
It's a hierarchical game we learn from our parents, peers, teachers, the media, and other social sources around us. It not only happens among students in school, but it happens among neighborhood kids, adults, and within the home. The fact is, though, no group of people or individual is better than the other. Yes, they may have gifts and talents the other may not have, but that doesn't mean that they are any better or worse than the other. Such a competition
can be remedied with everyone working together, using and sharing their gifts and talents with others. People handle competition of this kind in different ways. When I was in grade school, a scenario, such as the narrative here, would've sent me flying off the handle to break his glasses, and left him to struggle while I went onto volunteering to get the stuff from the office the teacher wanted. Such
a conflict resolution would actually not have solved anything, however. It not only would've created animosity between Timmy and I, but the same animosity would've been established between me and the other students who were not involved as well. Also, it is not the proper way to handle conflict of any kind.
Mac dealt with the situation the way I would've and the way I have learned to handle situations similar to this. He handled it properly, which prevented an outright altercation to spawn. In fact, I was on a mission trip with my church youth group back in1989; we were building small shacks for the poor in Mexico. I was the only blind person on the team. When it came time to digging a deep hole with a shovel and a post-hole digger, one of the adult leaders
initially refused to let me do some digging for fear that I would hurt myself, that I probably didn't know what I was supposed to do, or that I probably didn't know how to use the tools we were using. Now, I understand that she may have never been around blind people before to know their capabilities. I also understand her fear of me getting hurt. However, the manner in which she was posing her concern was insinuating that I was a dumb-ass who didn't
know her butt from a hole in the ground. Nearly flying off at her, I simply told her that I knew how to operate the tools we had there and knew how to dig a hole. Finally, she gave in and let me dig, walking away indignant no soon she saw the hole completed to the depth and diameter required.

Another way people handle such competition is to strive to do the best they can to prove themselves to others, which is what Mac was doing in trying his damnedest not to spill his milk before he got to the table. While striving to do well to prove your capabilities is good, it can be bad in that you set too high of expectations for yourself to the point that falling short can be viewed by you as having failed. Timmy viewing himself as better than Mac because he doesn't have to use a cane could've been taught to him by other peers, teachers, or even his parents. Likewise, Mac feels that he has a lot to lose if he spills his milk or drops something because his parents, possibly some teachers, and Timmy have driven it home to him that he's not as
good because he has to use a cane to get around whereas Timmy doesn't have to; thus, Mac's statement, "it's not fair". No, it's not fair; life isn't fair; and the line between setting too high of expectations vs. too low or just right are very thin lines that cannot be defined clearly by anyone. In other words, there really isn't a right answer as to where one sets their expectations and limits is not a clear answer because it's all according to the individual, themselves.
What it all boils down to is that Mac has to set his own goals to strive for and set his own expectations to prove himself. However, he also has to accept that he has limitations as well. We're all humans before we're blind, sighted, or whatever. Nobody's perfect, and everyone has their limitations, gifts, and talents. While life isn't fair, we shouldn't make it so unfair to the point that we alienate others who don't have the same capabilities, gifts, or talents as we do. This is where people can work together in using and sharing their own gifts and talents with each other. In the case with Timmy and Mac, both could work together on different tasks with both building each others' confidence level up rather than cutting each other down. If the things
they needed to get from the office had to be sorted out, Timmy could help Mac with the sorting while Mac puts the things into categorized piles. If there was a lot of stuff to carry, both could divide the stuff up and come back with the stuff in their arms together. IN fact, my husband, John, can see a
little more than me. When we get an e-mail or are sent something by post that he doesn't understand upon reading at first sight, he'll read it to me and I interpret what is being said and translate it into something comprehendible. There are other times in social situations when he looks for nonverbal cues but doesn't see them only for me to come back, telling him what the person was really thinking but wasn't showing or saying directly based on the silence or the implication the person made by a statement made or question asked. So, as far as one being able to see better than the other, it not only goes by physically seeing, but it also goes by insight and intuition. There are times when the totally blind person might have insight on something that the other might not have or gained, or vice versa.

Linda Minnesota USA

**8. This story brings back memories of to many years ago. I was
that young man saying," I can do it and maybe better."
It took running into doorways and trees along with growing up to
realize we as persons with a vision loss should listen to our
elders and teachers. It is the problem with RP, which steals ones
vision a little or lot at a time which can also add to the
problems of learning about blindness as a child and maybe also
as an adult.
I can now look back and laugh , but have the scars to prove
that" I really wanted to do it better, but could not."
Time will educate all of us , as long as we are willing to share
knowledge and learn. Thanks.

Lee A. Stone, Hudson, New York ..USA email:stonedge@novocon.net

**9. Boy, I'm glad I haven't run into this type of thing, but if I had it would
have made me boil. That kid must have had some sort of complex. He just
couldn't let go and let Mac have his chance to do thing . Tim's parents
must have drilled into his head that blind people couldn't do anything. He
had some sight, so he felt superior to Mac. I think Mac should be really
stood up to him and said he was going to do these things himself and that
would have been that. If that didn't stop Tim, he would have just had to
wait until Tim was gone to go ahead and go get the stuff, or whatever. The teacher could have stepped in and helped Mac if he had needed it. I don't know what they call the head of boy scout meetings. Is it a den father? He probably wasn't familiar with dealing with this type of situation either. He may have agreed with Tim. It will be really interesting to see what other members think.

Leslie Miller San Diego, California USA

**10. Two situations were described. I don't remember having had enough interaction with people in school or at work for this situation ever to have come up in the first place. If I'm going to be carrying stuff though with a cane most times I'll use a backpack empty and read for the purpose. The first situation seems to provide a clue that more than two hands will be needed to carry all of the stuff back from the office. The partial who took off to do it all on his own may have had to pay in kind for that decision later if because four hands weren't available he dropped and damaged any of the stuff. Notice I said four hands, not three. Two carrying can use both hands if the partial talks the blind through the navigation.

Now for the cafeteria tray situation, I learned in High School never to
use a cane and tray at the same time. I use the tray to find what
obstacles may be ahead of me, and if those obstacles are sighted people too clueless to allow themselves to have contact with my tray, then they get to wear whatever was on that tray. Yes, I tilt the tray away from me in the event of a collision. No, I make no apologies for that either. Sighted people have vision as they're so fond of reminding us, so it's a reasonable expectation for them to use it.

Jude Dashiell Lexington Park, Maryland USA

FROM ME: Are there techniques a cane user can use while carrying a tray? I can do this, what is your method?

**11. Faster isn't necessarily better. When I was in the sixth grade, I was asked to be the one to answer the room phone that rang when someone transferred a call for our teacher to the classroom or wanted to give her a message. I was very excited. It was partly because my seat was near the phone, but when my mainstream classroom teacher had to change seating to separate some noisy kids, she still let me have the honor. I still have a note she sent me to
congratulate me for continuing to answer the phone efficiently despite the added distance I had to cover to reach it. Yes, vision may make us slower accomplishing a task, but it doesn't mean we won't do the job well. After all, the turtle won not that boastful rabbit. Turtles also teach us that although the world may make us feel at times that we need armor to venture out in to it, you have to stick your neck out to get anywhere. So go get’em all you fighting turtles. It isn't the loud boasters but the determined doers that win in the end.

DeAnna (Quietwater) Noriega

**12. Those of us with any amount of usable vision are no better than those with none. And visa versa. conversely each of us with visual impairments of any degree are no better nor no worse than those with 20/20 vision.

Just common sense and common metrics based upon measurements that go well beyond the usual, conformist points of view. Actions speak not only louder than words but they also speak louder than prejudices and stereotypes, on all sides of this issue.

Let all be measured by his or her successes in real terms and not by those defined by a majority and often based upon false premises; or a subgroup of a minority which seeks to create its own hierarchy in its moment of pain inflicted by those without true vision.

And let not those with no vision or no functional vision react to these
affronts by creating reverse hierarchies based upon another pillar of false pride.

I've seen the latter which is pure reaction formation, although most
understandable. In spite of its righteous contentions it is just as invalid and just as destructive.

Let us all tolerate diversity and accomplishments within each category while realizing the common attributes of our combined humanity.

Joe Harcz ACB-L

13. I can remember being that little kid when I was in school. It seemed like the sighted kids got to do all the errands and to deliver messages. Some of the teachers finally let me do this when I got older and I felt good about it. I was the only blind person in my school and in some ways, it was good. But I was probably more sheltered than I should have been and not necessarily encouraged to be as independent as I should have been. Of course, as an adult, I wouldn't sit there and let people do things for me that I could do for myself. But when I was little, it was sometimes hard to take that independent step and show people that I could do things almost as well as the next sighted person.

Mary Jo Partyka USA

**14. Guess my thought is this: When you're a kid and have some degree of usable vision, to whatever extent you can tell yourself you're better than anyone else who's totally blind because, after all, they have no sight at all. But when you get older, you get used to the idea that as a total, everyone who can see has to be able to see better than you. I was sort of in those camps growing up, and was not really comfortable with the idea of being totally blind until I actually became so when I was fourteen as a result of failed eye surgery. Never mind that I didn't have much usable vision until then; the fact remained that I did. I guess I'd have to say that Mack will undoubtedly have to grow more comfortable with himself with time; that's not something anyone can make him do by saying: "Don't worry; everyone can see better than you. Doesn't mean you're less than anyone else, or that everyone who can see is better than you." He has a good start in that his parents let him do things most sighted kids do. But dealing with the unfairness thrust on him by society, that'll take some time, and I don't know if anyone completely outgrows that.

John D. Coveleski New York, New York USA

**15. Mac’s problem with Tim is a non-age related blindness problem. I am 65, newly sight impaired and I fine most all people in my circle of family and friends and people on the street all at first try to lord it over me, just because they can see better. But I don’t think they all mean bad by it, they just don’t understand blindness. I also think my wife and children get impatient with me and will do some chores that I normally will do, but they do them because they feel it is quicker. I think this last point of quicker will resolve itself because I will get faster and they will see it and know they can trust that I will do it again well enough.

Pat Harman USA

**16. This story is a reality. It is amazing how we determine a person's value, solely based on how much one person can see. The person that sees the least
has a lesser value.
To me, it seems that we are placing our own value and helping destroy some one else’s self-esteem. The things some people will do to build themselves up
in their own mind.

Brice Mijares Riverbank, Nebraska USA

**17. This story shows how blindness is no more than a characteristic. Size or physical strength is another characteristic I’ve seen used by people to think they need to step forward and do for another person or to exclude a lesser person from joining in. some times this action is acceptable, but many times it is not because it prevents the one being excluded from learning and growing and taking their part in responsibility in what ever action is going on at the time. This is for the person being excluded, one of those defining moments when they need to step up and stick up for themselves and take responsibility for themselves. This can be a stressful time, but it gets easier with each time it occurs. I would also say, that it is important to know, that occasions when people are thinking they need to do this, never goes away.

Marge Miller USA

**18. What I have to say is, there are times we all need a little bit of help. The final scene in this story shows this. It is knowing the difference between those times when we the blind person must take charge of our lives and those times when we must accept assistance and even ask for it. this is not a blindness issue, but it can be. It can be a problem within the blind person themselves or just one that the sighted person has. it is the worst case when the blind person takes on the attitude that it is okay for the person with the better vision to take over.

Matty Martain Iowa USA

**19. This story is a reality. It is amazing how we determine a person's value, solely based on how much one person can see. The person that sees the least has a lesser value. To me, it seems that we are placing our own value and helping destroy some one else’s self-esteem. The things some people will do to build themselves up
in their own mind.

Tammy Carrithers Tupelo, Mississippi USA

**20. Upon first reading this months topic, I wasn’t exactly sure what sort of thoughts the story was supposed to provoke, but now that I’ve read some of the posts, I have two stories to share that will show that sightlings aren’t the only ones to judge ability by amount of vision.

In the fall of 1996, I lived on campus in a university owned apartment
complex. Oh yes, before I go on, I had back then a fairish amount of useable sight& My friend, who lived on the same floor as me, was totally blind.

One weekend afternoon, mid-term, I was hanging out at his place as he got ready to go out with one of his girlfriends, he had a few, and he was looking for something, shoes or a shirt or something and he couldn’t find it& He asked me to look, and I did, but I too couldn’t find it. He rather sharply replied, You should look better, you are the one with sight& Thinking back on it, I guess, what made him say what he did could have been due in large part to the fact that he had only been totally blind for about three or four years. Prior to that he had had sight. He probably thought blind people, especially totally blind people, couldn’t find things on their own, and that just because someone may have useable vision, it may not be that useable in every setting. What I mean to say, that in some settings the person with sight, may do better or worse depending upon amount of lighting, glair, contrast between things such as walls and door frames, table tops and dishes, etc.

As the years went on, at times I was asked to help this guy get to his
classes& One day, I walk rather quickly, We were tracking through the school building and I ran him smack into the edge of a door frame because I just didn’t see it& In November 1995, when I was in training with my first guide dog Gerard, we had been doing routs based out of the schools bus, wed go out one or two at a time from the bus, work our rout and return to the bus and wait until everyone had gone out. On the bus there was a cooler of water, and some cups just to the right, inside the door. I had come back and wanted a drink. I found the bright orange cooler, but the cups, which normally were right next to the cooler, had gone missing. They had actually fallen down behind the cooler in a little nook that even a sighted person at first would be wondering where they went. I thought maybe some of the folks on the bus might of got a cup and just put the other cups down some new place so I asked& One woman, who was totally blind, told me I shouldn’t have to ask, I should just use my sight& Or words to that effect. At the age of 18, I was rather offended by her remarks and had never stopped to question why she had said that. Maybe she had gone to a school for the blind where the seeing
children were put in charge and the blind children were coddled, or maybe it was something else. I’ll never know.

On the other side of the coin& I myself have done this very same thing to a degree. My boyfriend, who himself is legally blind has a vast amount of sight that is far better than mine, and I'm always asking him to read stuff, like subtitles on the TV and have at times been frustrated when he couldn’t. I remember one time in the early part of our relationship thinking, as we were watching a movie with the dreaded subtitles, Well why cant you read those subtitles? You see better than I do, hell you used to be a sightling& I guess I didn’t stop to think that just like I had trouble seeing the object my blind college friend was looking for, my boyfriend
might have been unable to see, interpreter and say aloud the words in the subtitle fast enough& --

Jenny Kennedy Wichita, Kansas and Olathe, Kansas USA

**21. A wonderful provoker as usual. Thinking of the probable age of these children Tim's attitude may have a lot to do with normal competitiveness on top of the "I can see better" thinking. We, at least in western society, put great stock in faster, more efficient. Sports are designed around who can run the fastest, jump the highest, be the best. So it isn't surprising that it spills over into everyday life. A very good point was brought up concerning the pressure put on partials in a situation like this. I have noticed this myself. Their level of vision is usually overestimated and, if they are children and unwilling to disappoint an adult or be embarrassed, they may get in over their head because they are unwilling to admit that they really can't see well enough to do whatever is asked. I never went to a school dedicated only to the blind so I really didn't come across this specific scenario. However, I was always being told, "Oh, let me do that for you, it will be faster." Nothing would irritate me faster, let me tell you. I was an office aid in my senior year of high school. My sub school principle was convinced that I needed someone to go with me to pick up the attendance card. This was silly because at that of day there was no one else in the halls and it was ideal walking conditions for a blind person. Well, I just didn't bother arguing with him. I just went and got the cards and brought them back. The secretary knew I could do it so she never said anything. About a week after I started collecting cards I happen to walk by the principle as I was on my way. Being the little wisenheimer I was I couldn't resist saying "hi" as I breezed by. the secretary said I should have seen the surprise on his face. But to his credit he never underestimated me again. Hang in there everybody. We know what we can and can't do. People are always going to try to push off their own expectations on you and not necessarily only about blindness issues. Sometimes we just have to smile and say to ourselves, "I know what I can do." and be satisfied. Be strong!

Wendy McCurley Fort Worth, Texas

**22. The only time in my life when partials were made physically equal to the totals was when I was on a beep baseball team. At the first meeting on the field, we were all told that those who had enough vision to remotely see the ball or bases were to be blindfolded. So, those of us who had enough light perception to help us get around had to be honest and speak up. Of course, I didn't say anything, so I wasn't given a blindfold. It wasn't until I was starting to make it too obvious to the coaches by getting the ball first before anybody else could that one of them came up to me with a blindfold. I guess I wasn't hiding myself too well, so I had to endure the rest of the games under blindfold. I looking back, though, such a rule to blindfolds was a good idea. Not only did we not have the inequalities experienced between partials and totals, but we were all on an equal playing field--everyone running the bases or missing the ball altogether because we were running faster than we'd judged ourselves to be running.

Linda Minnesota USA

**23. From the main-stream, I was sent to a boarding-school for the blind at age 11. My sight was fading fast. I don't remember any of these issues there. Certainly, there was a predominance of partially sighted girls who were used as helps for the staff. But, in general things seemed to be organized on a capability rather than capacity. My best friend throughout school had a good degree of sight. One of tasks we had was to put book marks in the staff hymn books in readiness for the morning assembly. She used to find the page first off. Show me how far through the book it was and from then on, I would get the books, open them at as near as I could guess and pass them over to her. That meant, for her the job was easier, because although she had some sight, these things are hard work if you have to squint. I used to ask her if it was of any help at all? She assured me it was, and when, on one occasion, I could not do it, she said it took much longer for her and was no fun. In other words, even for jobs, such as this one, there are always ways we can work together.
But my main point here: When there seems to be a power issue going on, it is worth remembering that for those who have some sight in an ostensibly blind world, they sometimes make up for the frustrations they experience in their other, sighted world, and may, as a result, abuse their little advantage. I suppose that these issues did not arise in my school, at least not for me, because it was an oasis, apart from the rest of reality, so issues of frustration did not enter into the equation, and most of us, when we went home f the holidays, did not really have a life, not a social life anyway, so misplaced
feelings of superiority did not occur. I have always found that it is not how efficient one is at performing any task, but rather, it is how you do it. If you can make yourself liked and respected, it really doesn't matter if it takes a little longer, people just prefer you and are grateful for your efforts. I am constantly amused by the surreal quality of life and this is all the more noticeable if you don't see perfectly or at all! If I am feeling good in myself then even the most embarrassing and torturous experience becomes a good laugh with those who know me, know I am smart and resourceful and yet see me come a cropper over something that shifts ones views on reality. I remember once, after we had moved here, Ireland, real countryside, and my daughter's new friend arrived at the front door. I was expecting two other young friends called Carmel and Finten. When I opened the door a young voice said "hallo!" I assumed it was Carmel and Finten, I could just make out the silhouette of Carmel and the whiteness of Finten's anorak. "Come In, both of you." "Him as well?" She sounded surprised. "of course!" So, after a little hesitation advanced and so did the horse, a white one. I had a neighbor, sadly dead now, she was about 80 years old and was a marvelous gardener. She used to grow all kinds of vegetables and from time to time would bring me down an offering such as fresh peas, young potatoes, jam or flowers. I knew just how much effort all these things cost her as she had crippling arthritis. For this reason, they tasted even better and the flowers seemed more beautiful. If I could feel that, knowing just how difficult it was for her, then hopefully other people recognize my efforts in the same way and appreciate them too.

Sandy ipperary). Ireland

**24. The only time I had any feeling about another blind person seeing better than me was just a year ago. I was at GDB in Boring, Or, training for/with my dog guide. At first I felt I was the only blind student out of 11 there. My vision is almost worthless but I found the others were walking around with no help from canes or even later from their dogs. They played games and watched T.V. Of course, every time I ran into a corner, someone was always there to rescue me, whether I wanted help or not. I did fine as long as I had my cane, but once I got the dog I did not use the cane. For a couple weeks we did not work the dogs inside the dorm so I was suppose to guide the dog and this is where the problem came. There were two ladies, both with some vision, who were always telling me where I should be going, turning and so forth. I almost told them off but fortunately I was able to understand they were just trying to help me. Later a retrain student came, a total blind, and soon he was the one always getting this help! I remember more than once after some instruction that those who could still see understood but neither he or I did, and he would say, "hey, there are 2 here who are blind. Can you explain so we understand too? Also soon it was he who was needing to be patched up and not me. When graduation came, we all parted as friends! The ones with some vision were just trying to help me and it took a little time for me to understand this! Today I can help those with more sight than I have but who feel they can not do anything! Watching me, they too begin to help themselves more for ," if Ernie can do it , why can't I?"!

Ernie in Washington State USA

**24. Well, well. These posts really trigger my thoughts exactly. The whole issue of it's quicker if I do it for you makes me just want to punch something sometimes. But, I'm one of those people who doesn't lose their cool often, so I jus try to move on with life. As much as I love my family, my mother is honestly extremely horrible about giving me chances at doing things. She's always saying I'll do it it'll be better, faster etc. Now that I'm in college, I find
myself being frustrated internally by not having some of the opportunities to do the simplest of tasks while at home. It's really sad when I get adaptive stuff such as cooking items or clothing labels and they sit in their boxes till I need them! A complete waste of money in my opinion, or at least most of the time. Heck, I even had issues with her not getting me the preferred curling iron I wanted to do my hair till she absolutely had to. I still have this problem at home. I was going somewhere over spring break and she insisted on touching up my hair. if it would have been a wedding or something,
it would have been fine, but it was somewhere quite casual. I was having a bad day or something I guess and began to cry in frustration. She stopped and just walked away from me telling me to leave the room! Of course, that made me cry harder and I'll just stop there. My point is, that no matter how much people mean well, sometimes it comes back to haunt them.

Stacy L Fuehrer Wisconsin USA email:

**25. Prejudice continues to be the result of ignorance. Speaking up and educating people helps if those people are open to be educated, however, there will always be people who don't want to understand or learn. Although I am gradually losing my eyesight, when I was growing up as an African-American my mother and father always told me that how I perceive myself is more important than how others see me. They taught me to establish my own value system of self-worth
and use that as my foundation. I have fallen back on that wisdom now that I am exposed to prejudice and ignorance from another direction. The result has been the same. How I perceive myself is still based on the value system that I set for myself and my ability to accomplish things. I ask for help when needed; I refuse help when it is not needed; I stop the person who is not asking and tell them I don't need help when that situation arrives also; and, I am constantly informing others verbally and by demonstration what I can still accomplish. As my family, friends, and co-workers watch and become educated many have learned, however, there are still those that choose not to. learn. When a person perceives me incorrectly I know that they have looked at me through their own fears, prejudice and limitation. I remember that it has nothing to do with me and don't take it personally. It takes a great deal of energy (both emotionally and physically) to function in a sighted world without sight, I don't waste that precious energy on things I can't change or control.

Sandra Jordan California USA

**26. I wrote in last week with the stories of my blind college friend getting upset at me because I couldn't find what he needed and the lady from my guide dog training class? Well I'm back again with more to say.
I don't know who said this, only that it is a really really old saying from Greek times, I think. "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man shall be king". I always thought this was kind of interesting since I have use of only one eye... I've found it more difficult to be partly blind because I'm for ever having to explain I can see this, I can't see that, sometimes I can see this other when thus n such is just right. It’s hard being a tweener, not sighted enough to be blind and just blind enough to be sighted...

I have had a grate loss in sight over the past year and have noticed that my friends treat me more carefully than they once did, even though I've been blind all my life... A good friend of mine who I've known for eighteen years and I were at Denny's having drinks and talking and it came time to go. I wanted to take my tea with me and was getting ready to poor it into the to go cup and she was like "Here Jen, let me do that for you so you don't spill it." I was glad of her offer but told her I had it okay. My friends all seem like they are worried that now I have even less sight than I did before I am more friedgle and will get hurt easier or something...

Everyone seems to want to be perfect, the perfect body, smile, hair, and the farther and farther you get from "perfect" the worse off you are viewed by others and maybe if it goes on long enough yourself.

Jenny Wichita and Olathe, Kansas USA

**27. I read what a few of the people have written.
for me, it was really really hard. I am blind and hearing impaired.
I had a vision/comp specialist, a speech/hearing specialist, I had PT and OT. and I had a 1/on/1 add. I had NO time for friends or for doing things. The only time I was with out any of my assistance, was at lunch. I had no friends from school and I didn't make any in hs either. My independent basically sucks. I hear about every one say. "other blind people can do it, you can do it too" like my family is always bothering me to be social.
I don't want to be ignorant, but I don't want all my friends to be blind. My mom always is saying I should go to clubs and bars to meet people or just go and be sociable. ok, so I go, I stand there against the corner while who ever I go with, goes and hits on girls. I am standing there, against the wall. I can't hear cause the music is too loud, and obviously I can't see. so what am I suppose to do???? Just stand there, wait for a lady to come and take my hand, bring me on the dance floor and start dancing with me?
I think they will call for last call before that happens. OH and in school I also had a mobility instructor as well. I never go any where myself. I am petrified. I have no idea how you people do it.
I mean, holding a Cain and just walking. especially in open areas or in areas with crowds, or like I volunteer at a boys and girls club. but I will not try to go find my little office. I don't want some kid who doesn't speak English to be running and trip over my cane. even if he does know English. Kids don't know what the cane is for. I am talking to the kids about canes and sited guide. and I answer any questions they may have. HMMM I mean if your cane hits something, how do you know what it is just by hitting it? I have to touch it with my fingers/arm... some part of my body except if I am following a building or a curb. But most of the time I am doing sited guide anyways.

Jonathan Alpert Saugus, Massachusetts USA

FROM ME: How do deaf-blind folks manage their independent travel? How might a deaf-blind person meet and interact socially in situations that are new and unfamiliar? (Some do and very well.)

**28. When I was in school (I attended a school for the blind) I believe it was the teachers who really did a lot to create the feeling that a person with a little vision was superior to those of us who were totally blind. Back then, they didn't really teach o&m until junior high
school, so if we went on a field trip, or hiking or something, the
totally blind kids always had to walk with a partially sighted kid. I
think that ultimately, because they had a little bit of useable vision and because they were given jobs and more errands to do than we were, they grew up with the idea they were superior. Sad but true!!!

Sherri Orlando, Florida USA

**29. I am totally blind and I used to get offended when people would want to do everything for me. I would think to myself, "I can do this. It may take me a bit longer and it may be a bit awkward, but just let me do it." As I have gotten older, I have grown to understand that most of the time people do things for me because they believe that they are helping me or doing me a favor, I have learned to accept the assistance with gratitude. One case that comes to mind is the lady at the corner where I cross to go to work. She always wants to help me across the street. At first I was a bit put out by it, but after seeing how much pleasure she got out of thinking she had done her good deed for the day, I decided that it was worth swallowing a little pride and letting her feel like she was helping me. There is plenty of expectation in this world and I do most things for myself. Letting a friend or good Samaritan help me out from time to time is fine. I know I am competent to do most of the things I need to do. I do not believe that I have anything to prove to anyone. I am sure that I helped people did not need it when I was a younger sighted man. I hope that the assistance was received in the spirit to which it was offered.
sometimes when unneeded assistance is offered or a task is delegated to another due solely to my lack of sight, I take issue and talk to the person about it. Honestly, in today's busy times, I gladly pass a little responsibility to a willing party if it will give me a couple of extra minutes to finish the day's work! (grin)

David Ondich Texas USA

**30. Growing up as the only blind student in school and in town, it didn't take much to find someone with better vision than mine. Most of the time, the sighted sudents were willing to adjust projects to include me, but we did have the occasional conflict. More of these conflicts took place between second and sixth grades. Maybe the kids figured out I was different and weren't mature enough to adjust. The only part I hated was gym class. It seemed that I was always left out of that class. Eventually, I convinced the high school counselor I got nothing from the class and could I please take something I could at least learn from. So, I took advanced biology where I got to identify parts of rats by feel. At least, I was equal with the sighted students.

Marcia beers Martin Michigan USA

**31. There are two issues that strike me in this story, one is the relationship between totally blind people and partially sighted people. The second is: how should we handle the many issues that occur daily when help is offered or extended unnecessarily. When I went to school, in the 60s, the relationship between totally blind people and those with partial vision focused on the fact that partially sighted people have some vision and certainly can do things that totally blind people cannot. For example, in gym class, there was no technology then so at least some of the activities we were made to participate in unquestionably favored those with some vision, leaving those of us who had no vision in the dark, so to speak. However, in the adult world, neither blind or partially sighted people participate in many activities such as golf leagues and soft ball leagues on a weekly basis. With the advancement of technology we have developed beep baseball, and goal ball which have to be played without vision which still leaves partially sighted people out because if they want to participate they need to wear a blindfold which is not really fair either. This can lead to a new set of problems where the shoe is on the other foot. Rivalry of this kind is normal in our society though. Without going into specifics many of us have all kinds of ridiculous prejudices towards others with very little basis. In the old Star Trek series there was a story about a world where one group of people were dark on the left side of their bodies and the other group was dark on their right side, and they absolutely hated each other and drove themselves into extinction. I realize that this is not the case here but perhaps we need to learn to be assertive and confident from within and do what we can, one day at a time. Regarding accepting help from sighted people, I don't think there is a perfect answer. I've had days where things roll off and days when they don't and I tend to react more aggressively. One day I was walking down the street with a box of candy bars that I was delivering to a friend to sell as a fundraiser for an organization we were involved in. A lady came up and got, what I felt was a bit overzealous about my blindness so I simply asked her if she wanted to buy a candy bar. She did, and the discussion was over, let her think what she wants, I'm not going to change that. In another example I was walking somewhere and was totally lost. A guy walked by and said, "you are doing fine, strait ahead". I just laughed and continued on my way and worked things out. The thing to be careful of is being helped by a drunk person. A very drunk person, unknown to my friend at the time, offered to help her across the street and left her in the boulevard in the middle.
I know that sometimes my wife does more for me than she should but I don't make issues of things because I know her intentions are pure and there is no intention to harm or offend. Instead, I try to work things out day by day as things occur and I know we both learn as time goes on. We will face these things all of our lives, it's not going to change. There will always be people who don't believe that we can climb a flight of stairs, or perform the most common and mundane daily tasks, such as tying our shoes. One time my boss told me that he didn't understand how I used the telephone. I said that my biggest problem was paying the bill. End of discussion.

Dave, Arizona USA

**32. In my own life, I have found that when perceived as having a supposed disadvantage, the best thing for me to do is to take the initiative, to show the perceivers otherwise. I began learning this during first grade at the Kansas State School for the Blind, while picking up on Braille rapidly and well. There were too many students in my class for the teacher to help, so she used me to her advantage, and we got all the Braille readers in the class literate. Upon graduating from high school, since large print had come into play by that time, four of the 13 in my class read large print, and each of them read slowly. Had I had my way, I would have banged the gavel, and everyone in my class would have learned Braille, and learned it well. Being shy and reticent, I was not a popular kid throughout grade and high school; yet, I knew I did some things well. Spelling bees stand out the most; in my fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade years, for every year of eligibility, I was in KSSB's grueling, annual spelling contest. In sixth grade, I placed second; the winner was two grades higher, and Connie had won the previous two contests; she was terrific! But in eighth grade, I won the thing, received a standing ovation and a trophy, and defeated over half the contestants in the Wyandotte County Spelling Bee. Sure, I ran across neighbors and brothers contending that I could not play with them because I could not see. I proved them wrong with Scrabble, for just $6.65 then from the American Foundation for the Blind, and beat everybody; not always, but I did. And then there was Monopoly; since I didn't know there was such a thing as a Braille Monopoly set, my brothers and I played all night on the print board. I separated my $1s, $5s, $10s, $20s, $50s, $100s, and $500s into piles, and they moved my pieces. We had a rule which some of you might like to try, the Free Parking rule: We always had $500 on Free Parking, so that whenever anyone landed on Free Parking, that person won $500. Oh, that was fun! I certainly did win games by putting hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, when my opponents landed on them! In college I had blasts in the dorm, by bugging the guys working the phone by calling the dorm phone from a pay phone. They called me Troublemaker, which I didn't mind at all. Time constraints due to study in my year of seminary after college did not permit this kind of goofing around; however, I was one of the best students in my year-long Beginning Greek class. I did have to drop Hebrew because the text was not in Braille, as it is now; but I had two Greek texts: one being my own, the other being a book borrowed from Hadley, which latter book was the text we were using in class. In addition, I purchased a Greek New Testament from Germany, which I still have and use, and a lexicon, which was not good (I later bought a more extensive one), as well as another lexical text. I did not return for second and third years of seminary because students and staff circulated rumors about me, which spread halfway across the nation, that I, as a blind person, could not pastor. This was unquestionably the most devastating period of my life. Neither the congregation with whom I worshipped (whose denomination owned that seminary), nor family and friends, nor rehab people purportedly serving the blind of Kansas and Missouri did anything to help; any assistance was minimal. But I did have my relationship with God. From my Greek New Testament I translated Jesus's statement in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you weary and burdened ones, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am humble, meek, and mild in heart, and you will find relief for
your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and my burden is light." That continues to be one of my favorite passages; theologically speaking, the parallelism is significant. So at the suggestion of the then president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, I left Kansas to try what was then Services for the Visually Impaired, now the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Lincoln, Nebraska, and my self-confidence absolutely soared! In distributing NFB literature to Senators and Representatives in Washington, DC, I lost the Kansas delegation in the Capitol complex, but I got to Bob Dole's and Nancy Kassebaum's offices, and back to Baltimore. (Sen. Kassebaum and I had a good chat, and coffee.) While learning so much new regarding cane travel and other things at SVI, my cane-travel instructor several times dropped me off somewhere in Lincoln, and my job was to find my way back to the center, which I did. I wished then, and I still wish, that I had never returned to Kansas; but we all have ups and downs in life. I do not like this state, part of which is due to overprotective immediate family. But looking at things positively, since leaving Nebraska I began living independently; I completed the National Library Service's tremendously rigorous transcribing-transcribing course; I taught myself the Hebrew alphabet, but couldn't understand those blasted vowel points; I spoke against the proposed Unified English Braille Code; and three weeks ago I began taking a Greek class taught by a pastor-friend in the Denver area (I could probably do better with pronunciation, but shall comment no further). And that hasn't been all. A couple weeks ago the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, to which I belong, asked me after a chapter meeting if I had paid my American Council of the Blind dues. Had I given it as much careful thought as I have, I would have replied, "That is none of your business, Susan!" For it is not! I think for myself, and do with my life as I see fit! I am now on a job search, using the ACB's Job Bank, the NFB's America's Jobline, friends, and other resources. Though it may not have posted an opening, the Indiana School for the Blind is in dire need of a highly-qualified transcribing instructor. If any of you know of a need for a transcribing instructor, please let me know. I am saying, in response to the Thought Provoker, that despite being blind, shy, reticent, or anything perceived as negative by some, just as we all have downs in life, so we have ups as well. So let's keep running, and overtake our opponents!

Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas USA

**33. This is to Sandra (response 25). Although I am not totally blind, your statements struck me as very assuring. It is true that being disabled is difficult. I have a spinal cord injury and low vision, but I am also Black and Native-American. It is not easy to function in a non-handicap world. It is particularly trying at times when you are a person of color. Often, I have to tell myself that some people's comments and actions may be based on their reaction to my disability and not always the color of my skin. However, I would be totally naive if I dismissed the fact that color does play a contributing role in whether people seek to assist me or not. I, too, was taught that how we perceive ourselves is more important than how others perceive us. It is this self-analysis that gives me the strength to walk outside my home each day, knowing that I am on show in both regards- being disabled and black. It is refreshing to hear someone put this issue out there for discussion, especially since it is a problem faced by many of us. Please continue to express your feelings and candor. It helps to know that we are not alone even within the disabled world.

John Minnesota USA

FROM ME: How about a THOUGHT PROVOKER wherein the question/issue is concerns and suggestions on dealing with perceptions toward being blind and of some minority race?

**34. Being a person with a double or triple or more minorities is a true condition for some of us. I am a woman of dark skin tone, nearly blind, stout in stature, not pretty. In this country of the united states of America these all can be a problem, depending upon where and what you are doing. My faith in God is what holds me together. My parents tried to bring me up with a good feeling toward myself and that mostly worked. It was hard as a child growing up with many other children making fun of me and teachers and other grown ups not seeing me as a person with much to offer. My shyness didn’t help all this and I am not sure if it came from being who I am or what I became. I struggle with all this still, but mostly do well with it. Most people when they get to know me, do like me. This unfortunately takes a while. I know I have a lot to offer. I would like to hear from others on how they changed their inner perspective.

May Williams USA

**35. Hi Marsha (response 30.), This is familiar to me. I was left out of gym too. The only thing I could do was climb ropes. The teacher wouldn't let me do that. All the other kids played ball. Every day they'd play ball. I had to dress and undress for gym and sit every day. When I moved to La Jolla, I went to the San Diego school system and didn't take P.E. for a while. Then some school teacher with an on fire imagination wanted me to take adaptive P.E. I refused because I swam every weekend with my parents and walked every day too. I had to study worksheets at home about how to do these exercises and dad said lots of them were harmful for your back so I didn't do that either. In high school, I took biology, but couldn't do the slide work so the teacher was going to flunk me. I took remedial science instead. I took physiology, but couldn't dissect. That was terribly interesting though. We just must adjust to what we can. It isn't easy.

Leslie Miller San Diego, California USA
**36. I remember when I was a music teacher's assistant, this eleven-year-old boy was always at the corner to walk me across the street. After a while, I felt
kind of embarrassed about it, wondering if he was assigned to do this because the staff didn't think I could see or what?
So finally one day I told him that I hoped he wasn't helping me just because he was told to or because he thought I couldn't do it; that I crossed streets
all the time (back then.)
He said he had seen me cross the street; he just wanted to cross with me since we were going to the same place.
Later, I heard that he liked me especially and that was why he looked forward, every day, to crossing the street, and talking about whatever. His first
crush on a teacher; how cute! So we never know.
On another subject, I cannot stand that expression about "in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king," because what it says to me is that *even*
someone with normal sight in one eye is more superior to the rest of the people who are all blind. I think it says that very thing that some of our early
trainers told us; that the blinder we were, the more inferior we were and less capable we were.
In fact, I wrote to someone who used that analogy and I told him, that in reality, that one-eyed man would probably *not* be king in the land of the blind.
If he wanted to be able to function at all, he'd have to leave his car somewhere else and learn to walk and use the perfectly-functioning public transit.
If he wanted to read, he'd need to learn Braille or computer speech programs. If he wanted to get around in a land where electricity wasn't wasted on
unnecessary lights and windows, he'd need to learn to get around using a cane.
It is even possible, that, dependent as this one-eyed man would be, he might be the last one chosen for anything; made fun of for how clumsy he was, laughed
at for how he couldn't even boil an egg by himself; he didn't even own a stove because there wasn't enough light for him to see to cook. Etc.
The guy never wrote back to me, but I think it gave him something to think about. The assumptions some people make, when they are so light-dependent anyway!

Lauren Merryfield Washington USA