The More I Write about Blindness the Less I Write about Blindness

Over the years, I’ve walked almost 2000 miles to and from work.  Most trips are serene, a few stressful.  My first step on every walk is to pause and take stock.  I check the weather and traffic.  I test that Randy’s harness is snug but not too tight. I pat my pockets for keys, iPhone, billfold and dog bags.  Then I measure the most important factor I bring to my journey: my attitude.

My attitude determines whether I view the world as full of compassionate helpers or inconsiderate creeps.  The constant in this equation is who’s out there; the variable is how I view them.  On days I feel at ease with myself, I embrace the stranger.  I walk with grace, like I just got out of church.  But on days I’m immersed in self-pity, I assume all motives are sadistic.  I take every real or imagined slight personally.  I look for a fight and, by God, I find one.  Attitude, action and reaction—the choice is mine whether I wear my blindness like a loose garment or a straightjacket.

On days I am at ease, I possess the humility to be right-sized in this world.  I am a part of, rather than apart from, my fellows.  On days of conflict, I carry the delusion of self-importance.  I’m sure the driver who crowded me in the crosswalk waited all day and traveled a long way just to stick it to me.  I’m certain the kid left his bicycle on the sidewalk so he could watch the blind man trip and fall.  I just know the city worker dug up the sidewalk to confuse my guide dog.  Oh, I get payback being the victim.  Me, me, me becomes even more compelling when the me is wronged.

The riddle goes, “What have you got when you sober up a horse thief?” and the answer is, “A sober horse thief.”  Self-pity, anger and grandiosity make me the horse thief, not blindness.  For sure, blindness doesn’t help—it exacerbates the flaws I bring into play.  I can’t change the blindness but I’m working on changing the flaws.  My goal is progress, not perfection.  So, I keep walking, keep practicing patience, tolerance and self-restraint.  Today, I can greet my wife with, “I had a pretty good walk home from work today, Honey.  I only yelled at one driver.”  And that’s what I call progress!

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This entry was posted in Blindness, Coping, independent travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The More I Write about Blindness the Less I Write about Blindness

  1. bethfinke says:

    Whoa. Such expressive writing. I’m going to contact you personally to see if I can re-blog this on my personal <a href="http://www.bethfinke.com/blog"Safe & Sound blog or the Easterseals National blog. Maybe both!
    Stay tuned….

  2. Kent Flodin says:

    Loved this blog, Jeff. It saddened me, yet again. But I do know that the more I read about blindness, the less others have read about blindness. I have an urge to rearrange the furniture.

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