Information, Please!

I’m waiting patiently to board the Metra train.  It’s hot on the platform and I’m eager to get inside the cool car.  A half dozen shadowy figures silently descend the steps and brush past me.  I urge Randy to climb aboard.  That’s when another gray blob jostles me.  I turn Randy around, no small feat in close quarters.  We step back onto the platform.  The blob passes and I notice it’s dragging something behind.  A guide dog, perhaps?  A toddler?  A chimpanzee?

Then I hear the click, click, click of gears as the blob and his bicycle stroll down the platform.  And I call after him, “You know, it helps when people say ‘Coming Out!’”

Now that Randy and I are settled on the train, I start to wonder.  Why does it fall to the person with the least amount of information to enlighten and instruct and take charge?  I’m blind, right?  And I run up against half a dozen sighted people.  And I’m the one who it falls to to direct traffic?  That’s crazy!

I believe that people, sighted or blind, do not want to be rude or inconsiderate.  Most often, they simply lack information to understand a situation and what to do about it.  Here we had six people trying to get off the train and a blind guy with a guide dog trying to get on.  And the sum total of all that eyesight, intelligence and civilization is silence, misunderstanding and hard feelings.

I believe most people want to help others.  Here and now, I’m telling you how.  Open your mouths and say something.  Inform.  Educate.  Direct traffic.  I’ll tell you if you’re stepping on my emotional toes.  We can dialogue and all learn something.  After all, I’ve had decades problem-solving this blindness thing and, once possessed of the facts, I might just come up with a good idea.

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3 Responses to Information, Please!

  1. bethfinke says:

    In my early blindness I was more reluctant to ask questions in this sort of circumstance, didn’t want to stand out in the crowd any more than I already do. Now, though, I’m more apt to call out into the air and repeat “Excuse me” over and over until someone responds, then ask if it looks safe for me to enter the train car now, or get into the revolving door or whatever. Good luck out there!

    • Matthew Carello says:

      That drives me nuts. It is like your blind so we don’t have to say anything. Even though other senses kick in. Also when your ok and a lot of people offer help but when you need help there is no one around.

  2. This is great. We VIP’s (visually impaired people) get so frustrated with the general population but, most of the time, they really don’t have enough information to understand our needs. I suppose we need to be willing to share and they may be willing to learn.

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