I'm worn out with people constantly asking how I became blind. I'm 47 and blind since birth, and you would think by now I would be used to this question.
If anything, I'm getting more impatient with the same old questions. "Have you been blind all your life?” Answer: "Not yet".
"Your hearing must be so much better than mine?" Answer: "Pardon?" "That's a lovely Shepherd you have there." Answer: " Shepherd? My dog is a Labrador."
Not original answers, but they always make me and Renton, my Shepherd, chuckle.
It always happens when I'm trapped and unable to escape. Like, when I'm on a bus, train or taxi. People are naturally interested and I understand this, but they can't resist going that little bit too far.
"Couldn't you get an operation to get your sight back?" Answer: "No! I like walking into walls."
"My auntie was blind. She had to stay in bed. You're so brave going out and about." Staying in bed. Umm, now there's an idea I never considered.
"How do you find your mouth when you eat?" Answer: "In the same way you find your bum when you wipe it."
"If I was blind I would kill myself." Answer: "Why wait?"
These questions and many more are the reasons I've come up with a plan. For years, various organisations have been providing Blind Awareness Workshops. In fact, I've delivered a few. These workshops show the public how they should behave if they meet a blind person. Topics such as, don't go up and shout at blind people, they are not deaf , ASK, if they want to cross the road? DON'T drag them across the road by the ears. When you are giving directions, DON'T waggle your finger in some vague direction and say: "It's just over there next to the post office. SEE, you can't miss it." "Well do you Wanna bet?
My training session will teach blind people how to cope when faced with this kind of attitude. When people come up and say: "You are a lovely boy" - when talking to the dog. Say, "Thank you very much but I'm spoken for."
Another tip is always to have a pair of headphones in your pocket. It is awful to be trapped on a train with someone going through all their fears and traumas about being blind. Just say that you are going to listen to an audio book. Pop on the headphones and put the jack in your pocket. They'll never know the difference.
I Promise you using such techniques is the only way to survive if you are blind.