A Sight For Sore Eyes
The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss
Sometimes people stare at me as I stride out in public with my cane. Winter
is the worst time for me because I never trained in the snow. So I just make it up as I go along. I can’t move forward with nice smooth arcs because the snow is lumpy, and the sidewalk, even parking lots, aren’t shoveled properly. So my cane gets stuck. I pull it loose, and oh my goodness, I gotta beware nobody is near because I could easily. Hit. Them. In. The. Head.
That hasn’t happened yet. But it’s a fear of mine.
Apparently, it’s a fear of theirs too. Because people give me a wide berth. Like they fall into the snowbank avoiding me. Well, I saw it once happen to a little kid. But then again. Maybe he was dragging his feet. Or learning to walk. Or his eyes were focused on “the stick” I was steering. Kids always stare at my stick.
Kids always stare at my stick.
I like it when they say, “Mom, why does that lady have a stick?”
“Mom” usually jerks them by the arm and shushes them loudly, “Shhh! She can’t see anything, even you.”
I look out the corner of my eye as surprised kids swerve and mothers yank strollers out of the way.
No. But I can hear you just fine.
Sometimes when I feel people’s stares (usually summer), I imagine their amazed expressions as I glide past them with my awesome skill and speed, especially if I’m making my way down the street. I imagine they say, “Boy, can that lady move!”
The only problem with that is the unexpected disaster. If I’m outdoors and the weather is just the right poor mix, I run the risk of my cane skipping through a mud puddle and causing a tidal wave around me.
Or in this weather, I can hit a snowbank. I can see it now. My cane slips. I topple over (or down!) head first into the snow as my cane (itself feeling the danger) clumsily seeks out some harder surface to ground itself. Worst case scenario, it lands in powdery-soft snow and slides through it, causing an unsuspecting fellow traveler to trip on the sidewalk where my cane lands in an unceremonious muffled fall, bouncing a few times in the process.
I can picture the shocked gaze now.
The slo-mo fall, one knee touching the ground then the other, an arm reaching out…
I like to think I will catch them before they completely skid out of control.
That will make me the hero, right?
A blind hero at that.
Actually, to be precise–a blind heroine.
I can dream up any number of scenarios to make myself feel better.
Winter just isn’t my time of year. The piles of white stuff throw me off balance.
If canes could talk, what stories would mine tell?
My right hand tires the longer I navigate. Though gloved, it’s both frozen and shivering simultaneously in the sub-zero temperatures while I attempt to creatively navigate the rolling ball tip across the unknown elements winter presents.Forget the black ice. I can’t even see the white ice. When people jovially sing, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” they have no idea I’m just around the corner. With my big long stick. Creating new ways to forge uncharted snowy grounds–or more like “snow mounds.”
In January, I hold onto the warmth of those special summer memories when I appear so speedy and awesome to others. All the while I get ready to shout, “Duck! Cane on the loose!”
If canes could talk, what stories mine would tell!
You’ve read “Cane Talk.” © Amy Bovaird, January 2014. If you enjoyed this article or gained new insights on visual-impairment, please SHARE it with others and do be sure to leave a comment!