When the weed patch next door reached knee-high, I rapped on my neighbor’s front door. “You’ve got to do something,” I told him. He mumbled lame excuses about his lawn mower, his work hours, his wife and kids. I quoted city codes and cited civic duty. I appealed to his sense of pride. I finished with, “I keep up my yard,” and then, after a pause, “…and I’m blind.”
Had I really said that? Yes, and I was mortified. I had played blindness as my trump card—out of spite, with intent to injure. I felt mortified, yes, but justified as well because, damn it, things are harder blind than sighted. I’ve been both and I know. With blindness, I’ve had to learn new ways to do old things. New ways require more time, effort and planning—if they’re doable at all.
But don’t call me superman because I water the flowers and cut the grass. I no more want to use blindness as a boast when I do one thing than use it as an excuse not to do something else. I neither wish to hear my neighbors say, “He keeps things tidy—for a blind man” nor, “No wonder things have gone to pot —the poor man’s blind.” I simply choose to put forth the time and effort. To me, it’s just the right thing to do.
I hope my “gotcha” didn’t cause my neighbor lasting harm. I suspect it was a product of anger, self-pity and my need to feel superior. This I own. But I like to think I was also stating a fact: I am blind and blindness takes extra. And it’s OK to give myself a little credit. This may be a rationalization and maybe I owe him an apology. Maybe I don’t. I’ll mull that over. Meanwhile, I just want him to cut his weeds.