[nabs-l] First solo trip under sleepshades

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 19 17:18:02 UTC 2009

Hi Jim,

Again, we've all  had this kind of "rough sailing" during our first
few trips out under sleepshades. When you thought you had walked
several blocks and it turned out to be only two, you might have
accidentally mistaken driveways for streets--a common mistake. I also
suspect your instructor hasn't taught you how to distinguish between a
driveway and street since she's only expecting you to learn set routes
and not master skills that can be applied anywhere. Sometimes
driveways and streets can be hard to distinguish, but here are a few
common signs:

1. Most streets have a little ridge (or a crown) that you will feel
when you start to cross.
2. The street will be rough asphalt, so if you slide your cane back
and forth it will stick--driveways usually aren't that rough.
3. If you slide your cane from side to side before you cross the
street/driveway, pay attention to the slope. A driveway will often
slope up or down from side to side whereas a street will go up at the
beginning, flatten out and then go back down when you approach the
opposite side.
4. If you tap your cane, a driveway will usually echo more than a
street due to parked cars and buildings nearby. You might not get the
greatest echo feedback from an aluminum cane, though.
5. Stand and wait a minute before crossing. If any cars go by moving
relatively fast, it's a street.

Hope this is helpful as you continue on your adventures. I hope you
will keep venturing out with the shades and keep telling us about what
happens. It's great to see  that you're determined to learn these
things even if you don't have good training at the moment. And
remember, there should be at least one person in your NFB affiliate
who can teach you something, even if they're not an official O&M


On 6/18/09, Sarah Alawami <marrie12 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hey good job!  I remember one time I was traveling in sleepshades and got so
> turned around  I ended up ont eh other side of town. I now know what
> happened but at the time I was trying to keep my head. I did it and I didn't
> lift my shades at all. I wanted to but I kept trucking.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
> Of Jim Reed
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:07 PM
> To: NABS mail list
> Subject: [nabs-l] First solo trip under sleepshades
> Hey all,
> Well, my fear of going it alone undersleepshades lasted about 16 hours.
> Since I was going it alone, and entirly responsible for my safety, I was a
> bit jumpy and quick to take of the sleepshade at the first moment I felt
> something might not be right. More often than not, when I took off the
> blindfold, I was fairly well on target, and had I left the blindfold on, I
> probably would have figured it out. I should trust my instinct and cane
> more. I did however trip off a few curbs, wander out into the middle of a
> residential street via an extrodinaraly wide driveway, and I also had a few
> crooked street crossings. I am having a hard time determining where the
> round corners square off.
> And of course I got lost. I have yet to not get lost when traveling under
> sunglases or sleepshades, and it is starting to piss me off. I know I can do
> this; its not that hard. I just can't figure out where or how I am getting
> turned around. For example, I went to the gym under sleepshades, the route
> requires me to go west several blocks, south a few blocks, and west a few
> more blocks. The streets running east-west are lettered (A, B, C), and the
> streets runing north south are numbered (8,8,10). There is no reason I
> should be getting lost on such a simple route, and with such a simple street
> name system. I walked for about 6-7 blocks and lifted my sleepshade to
> verify where I was, and I was somehow only two blocks from my house. Very
> frustrating indead.
> I had one kid ask me if I was wearing a sleepshade because I was pretending
> to be blind for a day; I breifly explained what I was doing as I walked. Of
> course some A-hole had to blast their horn for no reason as I was
> approaching an intersection that I knew was there, that scared the crap out
> of me.
> All and all, not to bad for my first time out alone.
> Jimj
> "From compromise and things half done,
> Keep me with stern and stubborn pride,
> And when at last the fight is won,
> ... Keep me still unsatisfied." --Louis Untermeyer
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