Don’t let the Little Blind Girl out at night!

English: Night Street Lights by

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Why little blind girls shouldn’t be allowed out after dark:

I got home from work pretty late tonight, well after dark.  Now, as I’m legally blind, I have a lot of trouble seeing much of anything after dark.  It’s all blurry artificial lights and shifting shadows and I’m basically completely blind.  Usually I don’t go out after dark, but I know my way to the corner store pretty well because of various after-hours emergencies over the years.  Of course, not having a strawberry soda after a hard Tuesday counts as an emergency, and just such a crisis struck tonight, so I ventured out.

The way to the corner store includes a pass through the parking lot for another business, where they know me well and know of my condition, and generally try to look out for me.  So I was not too surprised, if a little taken aback, when, as I walked through the parking lot, I heard a female voice say very loudly “Don’t go there!”  It being pitch dark, I couldn’t see even an outline of who was talking to me, but I thought perhaps a car was coming and a staff member or patron of the business was warning me, so I backtracked to what I thought was safe ground.

I heard the same female voice say, “Get away from there!” in a very authoritative tone.  Now thoroughly bewildered, I edged toward the door for the business.  Again, the female voice shouted “I told you not to go there!”

Exasperated, I said, “What is going on?  Why can’t I go there?  Why are you shouting at me?”

Out of the dark, the female voice replied, “What are you talking about?  I haven’t said anything to you!”

Seeing Eye Dog Original

Seeing Eye Dog Original (Photo credit: Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline)

“You shouted at me not to go there!” I shot back, somewhat out of temper at this point.

“Are you blind or something?” the disembodied female voice asked.  “I was talking to my dog!”

That’s right, gentle readers, the lady was out walking her dog and was telling her dog not to do its business by the store’s front door.  I gave lady and dog what I hope was a wide berth, considering that I’m not sure where the dog ended up relieving itself, got my soda, and hustled home.  Seriously, I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house!

Holiday spirit

What are my plans for the holidays, you ask?

We kept wondering why they wouldn’t let us in!  Special shout out to my Sainted Mother, who’s deaf in one ear.  She’s half deaf and I’m half blind.  We’re awesome together!  “What’s that over there?”  “What?”  “That over there!”  “The cat has hair?”  We’re thinking of taking the act on the road.  Remember to tip your waitresses!  We’ll be here all night.

Blind Olympics

Those of us who are blind or have low vision would like a chance to participate, too, which is why I support the Blind Olympics.  Here are a few highlights from the last games of this lesser-known event:

Blind tennis

The highly-anticipated match between the French singles champion and the British underdog drew record crowds, who cheered loudly for the French champion as he came within mere feet of hitting the tennis ball.  His British counterpart fared less well, running into the net while attempting to return a serve and finally getting tangled in the mesh and bringing the entire apparatus crashing down.  Points were awarded, however, for the astounding accuracy shown while he attempted to disentangle himself and, still swinging his racket, scored a direct hit on his opponent’s head.

Blind pole-vaulting

The team from Kenya took the gold with their amazing performance in this event.  As fans of the event know, blind pole-vaulting is scored by averaging how far each vaulter is from the bar at his highest point and awarding the medal to the team that averages the closest to the bar.  Kenya placed first with two vaulters skimming high a few yards to the left of the bar, two flying low and to the right, and one flinging himself right into the bar in what must have been a heart-breaking turn of events for second-place Japan.  Medics at the event pronounced the last vaulter bruised but essentially unharmed, but speculation is that his vision may actually have improved as a result of the impact, leading commentators to wonder if he would be eligible to return for the next Blind Olympics.  His many supporters can only wait and hope for his vision not to return.

Blind soccer

This first attempt at including soccer in the Blind Olympics ended not with a bang, but a whimper as Germany won the toss and took a dominant position early on, until an unfortunate kick sent the ball to a location none of the players could find.  Sighted referees eventually had to locate the ball after every play and stand beside the ball shouting so that the players would know where to go.  Sadly for the referees, the players did not always land their kicks on the ball, and more than one referee ended up limping off the field with a nasty bruise on his shin.  The game ended with no scores on either side when the supply of referees had been exhausted.

Blind shot put

The most highly-anticipated event of the Blind Olympics, blind shot put, drew to a nail-biting conclusion when the Belgian front-runner and his Australian rival each entered the last round having caused 4 concussions and 18 broken bones.  A simple nosebleed could determine who received the gold and who went home with the silver.

The Belgian contender aimed carefully at the noisiest section of the audience, then threw.  The sound of a crack! and a shriek of agony brought loud cheers from the Belgian supporters. The injury was determined to be a broken collarbone, a painful but nonfatal injury earning the Belgian a nearly-unbeatable finish.

The Australian, visibly nervous, was initially unsure where to aim due to the numerous audience members all shouting and screaming, but then settled on a location and made his throw.  Incredibly, the impact was greeted with not one but two screams of pain, determined finally to be a 5th concussion and a shattered kneecap from the ricochet, catapulting the Australian into first place and winning him the gold.

It takes guts to compete in the Blind Olympics.  It takes a high pain tolerance and good health insurance to be in the audience for the Blind Olympics.  It may take clinical insanity to be in the audience during Blind Shot Put.  But you must admit:  it’s anything but boring!