Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A tale of partially sighted frustration

The headline shot is of Simon Pauley from Insight Radio. Yes, yes - I promise not to go on too much about doing radio stuff, but it's exciting at the moment. Simon is about to learn that sending me stuff means that it might well appear in these pages. I should note that Simon has had a haircut since this shot was taken and is now even more of a sex god.

Apart from Simon, I know I don't have many (any?) partially sighted readers. Yet. But this little tale might appeal to all. We've just been exchanging emails about the broadcast which is all set for Friday morning and below is an extract from Simon's last missive to me.

I've experienced many similar moments myself. I'm a white cane user (very handy for sweeping small children out of the way), yet it's quite obvious to anyone observing me that I can see at least well enough to keep up a good pace. On many an occasion in the pub I've been using the old white stick to help me navigate to and from the gents, noticed someone I know and waved or said "hello". Then someone I don't know gets all arsey and mutters that I'm not properly blind - as if it's offensive to them that I have the good fortune to have some vision left! Diplomacy usually wins the day and with a bit of explanation we all go on our way smiling (sometimes through gritted teeth in my case).

Anyway, here's Simon in his own words:

"...about the challenges we spoke about with peoples attitudes towards our sight limitations, “How can you see that, I thought you was blind" ...

A favourite of mine is, when alighting upon a bus with my partially sighted bus pass, ( well the pass can see fine, you know what I mean..) [and the driver comments] I’ll say to the bus driver, “Am I not blind enough for you?” and he’ll say, “you don’t look blind “, to which I retort, “you don’t look gay!” to which he responds, “I’m not gay!!”, and then I calmly reply, “I’M NOT F……. BLIND!!!”, seems to work and diffuse an otherwise awkward situation!!!

I should have been a diplomat!

Mental note to self: try the "you don't look gay" line at next available opportunity. Brilliant.

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