Orientation and mobility in the clouds

Yes, I know that I think a lot more than the average blind person but I just want to know something. How in the heck am I gonna use my cane in snow? I’ve totally never even thought of that until just now! Good lord! Leave it to me to leave the essential for the last worry on my list. Actually, I have the food, I have the shelter, and I have everything else in place for when I get there. I just have no idea how I’m gonna use my cane to get around. I keep picturing Chicago totally covered from head to toe in white fluff. Then again I have seen way too many audio described movies after all.

I know from previous mobility training that there are all kinds of cane techniques. I have to admit that my shoreline is the worst. My two-point touch is okay, but I prefer to zoom down the sidewalk using constant contact. Some mobility people, and other blind people, would tell me that they could never travel using constant contact because “that’s just too much information”

I don’t think constant contact would be useful in snow, but I don’t know. My brain is telling me that I’m gonna be on the sidewalk anyway so I’d need some sort of extra information because I’ll be hearing the gushing wind all the time. By the way, I’m more susceptible to tornados now. I’m right next to the lake. This means that at this time of year those poor blind people at Freedman’s Place are going to be frozen ice cubes with huge sticks… LOL.

I know that there are people at Freedman place who have guide dogs because they advertise it on their website… quite excessively. It gives a lot of information about the guide dog park that I haven’t seen yet. I’ve tried scouting the place out using street view in Google maps, but damn it, I couldn’t find the park. I zipped all up and down the street with my little virtual car and I didn’t see any guide dogs or dog park there. What really gave me a chuckle was when the street view loaded to green grass and bright white sidewalks. I’d figured that either my eyes were purposely playing tricks on me or it hadn’t started snowing yet.

Even though I didn’t find a dog park I did find something else that was totally awesome! There’s a library next door! Oh my god that’s so sexy! There’s a library right next to me! I must have floated there 45 times today, and I have to say that wasn’t easy traveling with Google maps. It’s real simple! I’d just come out of my apartment place and then I’d zoom off to the right and then it will be right there! I’m so excited! I won’t even have to take a bus. I can just walk there if I don’t want to write in my room or whatever. It will be really convenient when I start school, of course, I have the internet, and my books will be from bookshare and learning ally.

Still though, I wonder how often I will actually be able to walk outside. I’ve never seen snow in my life so I don’t know what kind of conditions I’m supposed to be expecting. Should I get a sighted slave to drive me everywhere? Will my cane be useless in the snow? Will I still be able to walk on the sidewalks? Will this inhibit my meeting of gorgeous looking black men?

By the way, I wonder what kind of advantages and disadvantages dogs and canes have in snow. I’d have to ask a mobility teacher because the only downside to a dog in snow is its health. The owner would have to be very cautious and wary about the dog in that kind of weather. The cane, depending on whose operating it, has more of a potential to be a useless stick due to the soft ground and the fact that you’d have to have boots on. Besides, I know blind people who have no clue how to use their cane even after they have had Orientation and mobility training. We all know a blindy like that. Grin! At least the bus systems still work during the snowy days.

I’ve checked the bus thoroughly. So thoroughly in fact that I believe they could feel me poking a test needle at the information on their website. I made darn well sure to go on there and read everything, even the rider policy, and the CTA privacy policy. I’m possibly the only weirdo who actually highlighted sections if they ever need to come in handy.

Speaking of coming in handy the black men I’m meeting there are positively sexy, especially with their Chicago accents! Even if they turn out to be totally not my type in the dating department they could be my sighted slaves and drive me places. They sound just so yummy! Some dudes I’ve met sound like your traditional black man who’s a thug and sounds like a drunk dog jumping on a trampoline, I shall not dismay myself though, I did meet one very unique guy.

I’m not going to tell you his name, but he’s cute. He’s this elegant sounding brown boy who sounds like he has a lot to say but he doesn’t want to say it because he’s afraid that he’s gonna hurt my feelings. Understandable. I should also clarify that he’s Mr. Shy all the time so it isn’t just me. I loved his voice when I spoke with him on the phone though. It sounded like ice water softly trickling down into a cup. It’s cool, calm, and collected, oh, and he smiles a lot. I can hear that in his voice when I speak to him. Oh, his YouTube page is brilliant! He does song covers, and their old classics, not that rough dumbass rap crap. It’s such a thrill to hear him sing on YouTube that it just brings the poetry right out of me, and yes, perhaps a slither of a tear or two.

I plan on asking him out after I learn my way around the city and get my Barings. I did tell him that I needed to find a girlfriend quick because I needed to go shopping and I have about as much fashion sense as a blind man with no hands. His cute voice soothed me through the receiver as he exclaimed that he’d take me shopping, and he’d love doing it.

I have a few fears, however.

  1. He’s going to realize just how much of an idiot at clothes shopping I am and he’s going to politely tell me thank you but go away.
  2. I’m gonna end up saying something he doesn’t like and then he rudely tells me to go stick my head in a pit.
  3. That I’ll be so nervous that I do the wrong thing like bat my eyes at him while we are in public.
  4. After shopping, ask to go back to his place and then him politely telling me to go away forever because I’m a sexual predator.
  5. That he realizes just how inflamed my hormones are and runs away screaming when he sees me on the bus. By the way he takes public transport.
  6. That he’ll find me boring because there’s tons of things that him and a sighted man could be doing right about now.

I had way more in my head but I didn’t want to make a book out of what fears I have about meeting a very sweet guy.

I don’t know what he looks like. At all. My friends tell me he looks tight, meaning, in their language, totally fixed on drugs. They all tell me he looks like a black kid from the hood but I haven’t believed a word of it. He seemed really sweet on the phone.

Anyways, I’m excited. Oh, by the way, I checked out the disabled services at The City College of Chicago. excellent services. I haven’t had a chance to actually call them yet and figure out the extent of their support, but, I’ll figure that out in due time.

I’m so excited! Nine more days until I leave my hometown of Florida for good! I’m definitely going to miss it but I don’t want to talk about that in this post. The next one will have to be a trip down memory lane for me.

I hope you all have enjoyed my babble. Stay tuned!

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Robert W Kingett

Robert Kingett is a gay blind journalist, and author, with many publications in magazines, anthologies, and blogs. He has judged many writing contests and has won many awards for his writings and advocacy.

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