[nfb-talk] Fwd: NY Times: Feeling my way into blindness

kaye zimpher kaye.j.zimpher at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 03:01:56 UTC 2016

Remember, he's 80. He's not likely to change his mind much and independent 
living at 80 is quite different than independent living at 30-40.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Terry via nfb-talk" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Terry" <wtfgunwork at gmail.com>; "NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion 
List" <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>; "Diabetes Action Network of Ohio" 
<a1c-ohio at nfbnet.org>; "Lee Martin" <nfbnewsline.in at gmail.com>; "Jeanetta 
Price" <jmaprice at icloud.com>; "NFB of Ohio Cincinnati Chapter List" 
<cinci-nfb at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 10:47 AM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fwd: NY Times: Feeling my way into blindness

>i think some of you that live close to this man should contact him and 
>start teaching him some indenpent living skills till we can find him a 
>program. when you first go blind you are scaried and donot know what help 
>is out there or were to get it.some of you need to tell him that there is 
>life after blindness. terry f
> On 11/18/2016 5:30 PM, Walter Mitchell via nfb-talk wrote:
>> Hello Listers,
>> This article in my opinion was written by someone that require a healthy
>> dose of NFB!
>> When I first lost my sight, I felt similar, I didn't want to live because 
>> of
>> the loss of my sight, but just when I thought that all was lost, I ran 
>> into
>> the NFB. They taught me that blindness is a physical nuisance and not the
>> end of my life. I began to raise my expectations and realized that I can 
>> and
>> is now living the life that I want.
>> I agree with some of the other listers, that maybe some should send in
>> articles that counter this article, but most  of all the writer need to
>> encounter the life changing aspects of the wonderful NFB!
>> By raising my expectations, I resumed my activities as a musician, 
>> extended
>> my career goals by becoming a business owner and I became a proud member 
>> of
>> the Ohio affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind.
>> Blind love is the answer, presently , and for our future!
>> Much Love,
>> Walter Mitchell
>> Member, NFB Ohio, Cincinnati chapter, Diabetes Action Network Ohio
>> Co-ordinator, NFB News Line Ohio
>>   (513) 582-8606 Mobil
>> (800) 340-8211 ext. 101  L2T Products and Services Toll free
>> Walterl.mitch2 at gmail.com Email
>> Follow the NFB of Ohio on:
>> Face Book, https://m.facebook.com/ohiosblind
>> Cincinnati Chapter:
>> https://m.facebook.com/NationalFederationoftheBlindofCincinnati/.
>> Twitter @ohnfb,
>> YouTube channel NFB OHIO
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: nfb-talk [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of John 
>> Heim
>> via nfb-talk
>> Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 10:17 AM
>> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>> Cc: John Heim
>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fwd: NY Times: Feeling my way into blindness
>> On 11/18/2016 09:13 AM, John Heim wrote:
>>> Sheesh! The NYT has been running a series of editorials from disabled
>>> people. Some are worse than others. I hate to think of what effect an
>>> article like the one below will have.  Maybe we should start
>>> encouraging people on this list to send in some more positive articles.
>>> -------- Forwarded Message --------
>>> Subject: NY Times: Feeling my way into blindness
>>> Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:30:49 -0600
>>> Blindness is enveloping. It's beyond belief to step outside and see so
>>> little, just a milky haze. Indoors, a smothering dark. It means that
>>> you can't shed a mood of loneliness with a brisk walk down the street
>>> because you might trip, fall and break something. Nor will you see a
>>> passing friend, the sight of whom could be as cheery as an actual
>>> conversation.
>>> Sights, like sounds, randomly evoke a surge of memories ordinarily
>>> inaccessible that lighten and brighten the day. "Who are you?" I may
>>> already have asked 10 people who have spoken to me. Their body
>>> language as well as their smiles are lost to me. Human nature is
>>> striped with ambiguities, and you need to see them, but like a
>>> prisoner, I am hooded.
>>> I lost my sight once before, to cataracts, a quarter-century ago, but
>>> it was restored miraculously by surgery. It then went seriously bad
>>> again, until, reaching 80, I needed a cane. Tap, tap. Ambulatory
>>> vision is the technical term.
>>> Everything becomes impromptu, hour by hour improvised. Pouring coffee
>>> so it doesn't spill, feeling for the john so you won't pee on the
>>> floor, calling information for a phone number because you can't read
>>> the computer, or the book. Eating takes considerable time since you
>>> can't see your food. Feeling for the scrambled eggs with your fingers,
>>> you fret about whether you appear disgusting. Shopping for necessities
>>> requires help. So does traveling on a bus.
>>> The kindness of strangers is proverbial - a woman leads me through the
>>> bustle of an airport toward the taxi stand, a waitress hands me back a
>>> $50 bill I mistook for a 20. Blindness is factually a handicap, yet an
>>> empathetic one, because other people can so easily imagine themselves
>>> suffering from it, sometimes even experiencing a rehearsal for it when
>>> stumbling through a darkened house at night. I remember how in school
>>> we teased students with Coke-bottle glasses, but didn't laugh at blind
>>> folk whose black glasses signified that they couldn't see at all.
>>> I know about handicaps harder to cotton to, having stuttered terribly
>>> for decades, my face like a gargoyle's, my mouth flabbering
>> uncontrollably.
>>> Blindness is old hat. In Africa you still see sightless souls led
>>> about by children gripping the other end of a stick. Blindness in its
>>> helplessness reassures the rest of us that that oddball is not an
>>> eyesore or a loose cannon. Being blind is omission, not commission;
>>> and you'd better learn how to fall. Paratrooper or tumbler training
>>> would be useful. A tumbler can tip sideways as he lands so his hip and
>> shoulder absorb the blow.
>>> The ears need schooling as a locator. I search for the bathroom at
>>> night, guided by a ticking clock whose location I recognize. As you go
>>> blind, exasperating incongruities arise, but also the convenience of
>>> this new excuse for shedding social obligations not desired. And you
>>> can give your car away.
>>> Hearing snatches of conversation from invisible voices, everything
>>> becomes eavesdropping. Have I seen my last movie? Is the vision gone
>>> from television? But I can still see daylight and bipedal forms, tree
>>> crowns and running water, swirling, seething leaves against the
>>> sky-blue heavens, which remind me of 80 years of previous gazing on
>>> several continents. Eternal instants on Telegraph Hill, Beacon Hill,
>>> or Venice and Kampala.
>>> Splendiferous mountain vistas of greensward and cliffs scaffold my
>>> dreams, drawn from memories of sheep pastures in Sicily and Greece,
>>> rich with textured sedges or tinted canyons, then bombastic
>>> skyscrapers, or Matisse's Chapel. So it's flabbergastingly impoverishing
>> to wake up in the morning.
>>> Faces are no longer seamed, nor are raindrops stippled on the
>>> windowpane, cats high-tailed in a turf war, postage stamps vividly
>>> illustrative. I forget my condition and grope for my glasses, wherever
>>> they are, as if they could solve the emergency. Blindness is an
>>> emergency; the window shades are drawn, and one deals with it in myriad
>> ways.
>>> Instinctively I reach out to touch everyone I talk with, heightening
>>> the moment of contact. Shoulders I go for, as gender-neutral,
>>> companionable territory, but most folks don't want to chat for long
>>> with anyone whose deficits are front and center. There's sympathy
>>> fatigue, though allowances must be made, an elbow gripped, and perhaps
>>> the menu read aloud in a restaurant. Poor guy; be considerate; tell
>>> him what the headlines were in the paper today, but if he's not Helen
>>> Keller, let the next person take a turn at being nice.
>>> Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists,
>>> the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the 
>>> world.
>>> You get somebody to scan your mail for you outside the post office,
>>> and supervise paying a bill in the return envelope, maybe even writing
>>> the check for you to sign. Improvising keeps one alive, and at the
>>> beach you can hear the surf thump if not exult in the spindrift's
>>> curl. The tide tugs your feet. At 4:30 in midsummer you hear the
>>> birds' morning chorus, nature primeval and ascendant. You dig when
>>> you're blind, fingering for roots, then for what the roots are
>>> connected to. Curiosity does tip into tediousness, though, when
>>> there's no new material.
>>> Blindness as a metaphor is not flattering. Blind drunk, a parent blind
>>> to the misery of her children, a politician blind to the needs of his
>>> constituents. When blind you can neither read text nor frowns, but if
>>> somebody starts talking to you and you can't see them, hang loose till
>>> you figure it out. Equilibrium is the key.
>>> Eyedrops of several descriptions and optical devices accumulate as
>>> each is superseded by another. You used different hand lenses for
>>> different phases of magnification. Since a book or film is not in the
>>> cards, blindly groping for succor in your boredom can be a danger.
>>> That comfy stranger on the bench may be Mr. Ponzi. Discipline is
>>> required. In all your parts, do you still enjoy being alive? Crossing
>>> your legs and twitching an ankle, savoring cherry tomatoes, then sweet
>>> corn and lobster.
>>> Nights can turn bright if the world mysteriously whitens, as though
>>> one's optic nerves were rebelling. It's odd when one part of the body
>>> dies but the rest does not. In blindness we don't cast off our eyes,
>>> but continue to consult them in thwarted ways, much as amputees feel
>>> their lost parts almost function.
>>> Feeling a chill wind, I'll look at the sky for a forecast, but
>>> triangulate the slanting breezes for the message I can't see. I smell
>>> the rain before it comes, and the sun speaks to my skin like a finger
>>> stroking. As, in my view, joy in people may be analogous to
>>> photosynthesis in plants, this is quite logical. But wet days can be
>>> delicious also, a cool drink for dry skin
>>> <http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/dry-skin/overview.ht
>>> ml?inl
>>> ine=nyt-classifier> , restful in its implications; good weather has
>>> its pressures. Less is expected of a rainy day; you can hole up a bit
>>> with yourself.
>>> Like Plato's Cave, your brain consists of memories flickering on a wall.
>>> The
>>> phenomenalities of sight are now memories, but my sixth sense has 
>>> helped.
>>> Call it intuition; and I've never felt despair, any more than when I
>>> was a kid who couldn't talk. Blindness resembles a stretched-out stroke.
>>> Functions
>>> wither as your walking slows. Muscles atrophy and sensibilities, too.
>>> You can't size up a new visage, yet the grottoes in your head have
>>> more to plumb if your sight was lost midlife or later. You can go
>>> caving.
>>> Where are my eyes, I suddenly think, as if I'd left behind my coat.
>>> Landscapes become impressionistic, eliding details. Abbreviation is at
>>> the core. Input is so precious - the conversations other people pause
>>> to grant you, beyond the barest niceties, describing piquant scenery you
>> can't see.
>>> Strong sunlight is needed for a newsstand headline but muted
>>> illumination has subtler uses, and in pitch dark a blind man is at an
>> advantage.
>>> The personality of the street, hubbubed with hurry, invites strolling.
>>> Slatted fences, orange lilies, SALE signs in a window. "Outta sight!"
>>> a guy exclaims. I seek a bench I know about, remembering a whole
>>> gallery of friends who have died by now. Older than Mozart, younger
>>> than Bach, they engulfed my life with love and commitment, and on a
>>> good day permeate my mind. My sexual fantasies invoke an alloy of
>>> wives and friends. But anonymity has swallowed me like Jonah's whale; I
>> grope inside.
>>> Sunlight beams turn the street radiant for a quarter-hour. Two of my
>>> mentors ended their lives by suicide, and I remember their dilemmas
>>> sympathetically.
>>> One jumped into the sea, the other the Mississippi, but I wonder in
>>> each case whether the sun was shining or they'd waited for a rainy
>>> day. Our elements return, in any event, to the oceans to re-form as 
>>> other
>> life.
>>> Nature is our mother, if no longer our home. We couch-surf in rented
>>> beach houses, with green belts as habitat for other creatures that
>>> remain. How many of us have watched a possum "play possum" or a
>>> goshawk swoop after a blue jay? We feed pigeons and hummingbirds, then
>>> have done with it. Nature has become a suburb. Of course I can't see
>>> the cardinal at the feeder out the window, though tidal forces still
>>> operate. The leaves natter even if you can't see them. Your ears
>>> report their bustle, ceaseless until dormant for a span of moments.
>>> The pulse in your throat signals that in your torso all is well; it
>>> will beat till it quits. That concordance of organs lives within us
>>> like sea creatures throbbing on a coral reef, strung there as on our
>>> skeleton as long as conditions allow.
>>> Novelty is the spice of life and salts our daily round even when we
>>> lose our sight. Your eyes don't steer you as you saunter, yet your
>>> lungs, legs, arms feel as fit as ever. For simple exercise, I hoist
>>> myself out of each chair, or bicycle in bed, though then unfortunately
>>> may pick up two completely different shoes and try to squeeze them on.
>>> My socks don't match either.
>>> But
>>> why am I not crankier? a friend asks. I'm helpless; I can't be cranky.
>>> Blindness is enforced passivity. I have become a second-class citizen,
>>> an object of concern. Crankiness won't persuade people to treat me
>>> thoughtfully. Disabled, that dry term once applied to so many others
>>> over my lifetime, now applies to me. As best I can, I'll make my peace
>>> with it.
>>> Edward Hoagland <http://www.edwardhoagland.com/>  is a nature and
>>> travel writer, and the author, most recently, of "In the Country of
>>> the Blind
>>> <http://arcadepub.com/arcadepub/titles/11766-9781628727210-in-the-coun
>>> try-of
>>> -the-blind> ," a novel.
>>> Disability is a weekly series of essays, art and opinion by and about
>>> people living with disabilities. The entire series can be found here
>>> <http://www.nytimes.com/column/disability> .
> _______________________________________________
> nfb-talk mailing list
> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-talk_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for 
> nfb-talk:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nfb-talk_nfbnet.org/kaye.j.zimpher%40gmail.com 

More information about the nFB-Talk mailing list