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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Valentines Day.

No-ne has mentioned my hairy elbows!
Black/white picture of Renton with loving haze surrounding it!

People have asked me in the past; “How do you meet someone romantically if you’re blind, it must be so difficult?” Which is true, as so much of human communication is through body language and eye contact. A glance from a stranger across a crowded bar accompanied by a smile is lost on me. In the past, the only way I could meet someone in a pub or club, would be if I tripped over them on the way to the toilet. Being blind I had to discover other methods to meet that ideal partner.
When I did meet someone, the two things that struk me most were; did they smell nice and more importantly, did they have an attractive voice? I’m not saying what they looked liked wasn’t important. I would ask one of my friends to check them out. After all, I do have an ego and had absolutely no intention of walking into a bar with a gorilla on my arm… even if she did sound like Mariella Frostrop and had a well brushed coat!.  
However, I couldn’t get rely only on the information only from the tone of someone’s voice or sweet scent to make a judgement. So if David Attenborough wasn’t around to audio describe my prospective date, there was only one option left - the elbow test. The eyes might be the window to the soul for the sighted, but for me, the elbow tells me everything I need to know about a persons character and body shape. The elbow is the part of the anatomy I hold on to when I’m being guided. There are the obvious signs like height and weight... thin elbow = thin person, fat elbow = fat person and it can also tell me about someone’s personality. Some people are very nervous when guiding a blind person - and I can feel that anxiety in their arm. Others push their arms out from their bodies keeping me at a safe distance.  As if they are trying desperately to disassociate themselves from the horrifying experience. Others will clamp my hand so tightly to their waist, it makes my fingers go numb, making escape impossible. [I expect at this point you’re checking your elbow.]  
 When I was fortunate enough to find someone who passed all the sound, fur, scent, and elbow tests, it was time for that first meal together.
it’s a rule of mine to avoid certain foods, for example spaghetti. It’s bad enough when you can see, but when you are blind, it’s a disaster. I end up flicking it across my face and around my ears. Peas, Brussels sprouts and boiled potatoes can become lethal missiles as they are fired across the table at my date.   
The other dangers are candles. If I’m not burning my wrist, as I make a romantic gesture, I’m sticking them up my nostril as I lean across the table to pick up the salt.  

Fortunately, that particular first date turned out well, as the lady in question is now my partner. Oh yes! And she also has the most fantastic elbows and a strange addiction to bananas!. Have a happy Valentines Day


    I work with young people who have visual impairments, and by reading your blogg it gives me more insight in the day in the life of someone living with a visual impairment, but most of all your posts make me laugh! as you will laugh when you jaws or super nova reads out my comment because I can't spell for tofee!

  2. I just found your blogg today.
    I work with young people who reside at the royal blind school in edinburgh. It's good to to get more insight in to the day to day life and obsticles that you walk into lol of a person with a visual impairment, and your blogg makes me laugh!

  3. A very good read. So what can you tell from my elbow?

  4. "I do have an ego and had absolutely no intention of walking into a bar with a gorilla on my arm… even if she did sound like Mariella Frostrop and had a well brushed coat!.

    Ahhaa! Now I understand why my husband keep refusing to go to the bar with