The B Word

We are on Boys’ Retreat, Randy and me. Memorial week at the lake. Just the two of us. And my gizmos and gadgets.

I am the King of the iCloud. With my devices, I listen to a best-seller, surf the Net, text my buddies, tune in to the BBC and tell which can is refried beans and which is dog food.

But my simplest tool might be the most valuable. With my slate and stylus, I Braille label my environment. The water shut-off valve. The air conditioner. To do lists.

I love my gizmos and gadgets. They connect me with other people and the world. I love the feeling of mastery they give me. But without electricity and cell phone towers and satellites, I am deaf, mute and blind.

A decade ago, I tried to coax my middle-aged fingers into making sense out of the little Braille bumps. It did not come easy.  I got frustrated.  I was angry that I needed to learn Braille at all. Then I took a Braille by mail class from the Hadley School and learned my alphabet and numbers. I labeled my stuff. I never intended to read War and Peace in Braille. I leave that to friends who learned Braille as kids. They’re the experts; I remain a rank amateur.

Today, my first task is to Braille a list of cable TV channels. The channels have different numbers up here in Wisconsin. I want to tune in the White Sox game. They’re in first place. I’m ready to punch dots, working backward. I’ll start at the top of the dial, with 2 ABC. I think I can handle that. I’ll work my way up to the tougher letters like TNT and WGN down the line. But I’ll get them all sooner or later. I have to. The White Sox are counting on me.

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4 Responses to The B Word

  1. bethfinke says:

    I, too, use Braille to label things. But when it comes to listening to the FIRST PLACE (that was in ALL CAPS, by the way) I rely on radio.

  2. Carl D says:

    Hi Jeff – Carl here.
    Spring is the time to setup the house or cabin or tent for summer living.
    The summer weeds are in full blum and you can hunt them down because they are taller than the grass. Please be carful – do not — do not feed RANDY the pork and beans.
    .
    If you are still marking all the channels with you label maker. Please mention the ones you watch at night for me. When I’m up at 2 am or 4 am any channel will do. Sometimes I just turn down the volume very low just for company.. Does Randy watch the games with you???
    .
    Carl D.

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Hi Beth and Carl,

      Congratulations on your newest publication, Beth. Great work? And that’s with an exclamation point.

      Always good to hear from you , Carl. Yes, it’s summer, and I’ve Braille labeled the weeds in the garden. I know no TV other than sports, so ESPN in all its incarnations, Comcast Sports Net and the MLB and NFL networks are my presets. I do not suffer from insomnia. I attribute sleep to my ability to employ denial and repression of any troublesome thoughts or worries that might keep me awake. Thus deluded, I face each day with a smile.

  3. Carl D. says:

    Hi Jeff
    Back to the Summer reading . I just finished a book by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of the restrauant called Prune -in New York.
    The title is “Blood, Bones and Butter..” She does 19 Chapters and then strikes gold in the last Chapter. If the woman were blind it might be all the better, but her vision impairment is a large over growth of trees. They are in her view of the Mediterranean Ocean from the coast of Italy. She climbs the trees to 25 feet into the air to cut and saw down enough of the trees for a view from the front porch.
    The view is not for her. The view is for an 84 year old mother-in-law – who can not see the sea as she did when she was first married. When she sits on the porch, all she can see is trees. Talk about a good summer read. Vision in the best since of the word. I could see the water and I was only listening to the story.
    Enjoy your summer – Randy and Jeff….

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