For the protection of the people in the story, I will not mention their names. I will refer to them as person A and Person B.
This story took place in Costa Coffee, a coffee chain we have on the Isle of Man, as well as the UK. Person A, went up to purchase a coffee. Person B, using a cane, knocked into Person A, who was purchasing his coffee. Person A politely asked him to watch where he was going, to which person B retorted, in an aggressive manner, “Can’t you see I’m blind?” After a slight argument between the two of them, Person B went back to his table, to rejoin his wife and grandson, who had seen this argument take place. Person B however, hadn’t finished with person A yet, and came walking straight up to his table, and hit him on the legs with his cane, not once, but twice, on two separate occasions.
The above story starts my post with an explanation of which I hope you will find accurate. First I wish to reiterate, a cane is not a weapon, and should not be used as such. Second, this guy had residual vision, and quite a lot of it. As well as that, he was not using the cane correctly, in a sweeping gesture. He was pushing it along the floor. He knew exactly where he was going. Here folks, is the difference. A person who is totally blind like myself, does not know, at all, where they are going, unless they are taught said routes, taught how to use a cane correctly, and also fears off slightly when walking, and cannot go in an exact straight line unless they have good spacial awareness. Secondly, Most of the people on the Isle of Man, I regret to say, call themselves blind, when in actual fact, they have some vision, and refuse to accept that they are not totally blind, and in fact in my opinion, using the wrong terminology. They are partially sighted, or they have peripheral vision, or tunnel vision etc. Can they not say that instead of that they are blind, when clearly they have vision? It annoys me slightly, that totally blind people are getting confused with sighted, and being asked, can you see light? or can you see anything at all? The answer is no. If we are totally blind, we see nothing. Absolutely nothing. Therefor, we are much more vulnerable, and only rely on our other 4 senses to get us around as well as doing everyday things. That’s what being totally blind is like. Imagine, for one week, shutting your eyes, or covering them with something you can’t see through at all. Then get up of a morning, you can only feel the sun, not see it. You get washed, etc, relying on your sense of touch and smell, to tell you what is what. You decide to go out, using only a cane to help you get around obstacles, sensing large ones with your ears, the air flow bouncing off them and back to your ears. The volume of traffic. Has it increased? Has it decreased? What does that mean? What do those beeps mean? When is it safe to cross a road? Is it silent, so I can cross now? Which way is the traffic going? Where are those grass verges, on my left or right? Where should they be? What landmarks must I find in order to arrive at my destination? Then there’s, what if things go wrong? But then as with me, add in epilepsy into the mix. There’s always a very small risk of a seizure, and yes, it’s a tiny risk, but it’s still there. I still have to be alert, and on guard. That makes me even more vulnerable. So yes, that’s what going out is like. Then when you get home, you try to cook something. How do I cook it? What are the instructions? How long do I heat it for? How long do I leave it to stand if I must? there’s the matter of colours of clothes too, what goes with what? also lights and darks in laundry. What should you mix and what shouldn’t you. I hope this has given you an idea. Just do that for a few days, oh, and try using a computer with a screen reader too, as we have to do that as well. For any more information, just ask me via the usual ways. 🙂