Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Being an Official Blind Person, Day One

I think I'm supposed to be recapping the Batch (that's hip talk for our favorite ABC show), but I have to put that on the back burner, because I had the weirdest day. It all started when I got ready for an orientation class with six other blind people, and I changed my outfit, twice.

*You are staring at me blankly right now. And then you get why I'm stupid. Let's move on now.*

I'm in the Vocational Rehabilitation program. I had been on a waiting list for nearly 9 months, and the stimulus money finally kicked in, so now I get to learn how to function as a blind person. Which is .... I don't know yet. Get back to me on that one. Mostly good, I guess. Scary? It's many things.

So anyway, I'm in this 6-day orientation to the services available in Arizona for blind individuals, and I'm with my blind peers, and it's, ugh, I hate myself for saying this, so incredibly eye-opening. See, I'm in a class with a woman who lost her sight due to an abusive husband. I'm in a class with a man with a tumor behind his eye. I'm in a class with a single mother of five children who hopes that Voc Rehab can help her get her job back from Circle K convenience stores. It makes me feel completely at home, and like a total fraud, all at the same time. I need help, just like everyone else here, but I've never felt sooooooooo dumb for complaining that The Dark Knight was really hard to see until I saw it on BluRay. Shoot me, someone. If you all do it at the same time, one of you is bound not to miss.

I could see much better than most of the people in the class, because my vision problems affect the peripheral, not central vision. I tried not to come across cocky when I checked off that 12 or 14 point font would be fine for printed materials we received in class. And then it was much easier to maintain my uncockiness when I nearly fell down the stairs. Twice.

A couple of highlights, because as we all know, when I get uncomfortable, I get mildly to blatantly inappropriate:

The joke I made with the perverted senior about braille nudie magazines.

The time I said, in my best Dark Helmet voice, "I see your cane is as big as mine."

When I kept calling the talking clock "Hal" and nobody laughed and I kept doing it.

When they reminded us we'd be taking a field trip tomorrow and I asked if Richard, the guy sitting next to me, would be driving. (Richard thought it was funny, by the way)

I called my five-year-old daughter "My Seeing-Eye Kid" and I was asked if I was being serious, and I said yes, unless admitting that means I have to take another class through a different State department.

I probably said some other inappropriate stuff, but I kind of stopped paying attention after the first hour.

I have five more days of this. I'm going to count it successful if I can go the rest of the week and not ask when we get to learn how to make clay busts of Lionel Richie's face.


Jillsywillsy said...

Have I ever told you how much I love being your friend?

You can make anything fun.

Anonymous said...

I've never wanted to be blind until just now...just to be in that class listening to your one-liners...classic.

Becky said...

Oh, I wish you had of been in my class! Sounds like you are having fun! Can't wait to hear more about your experiences. Cheering you on!

witticism here said...

I love everything about this post.

mrsmouthy said...

Wow, Renee. I know you always rub it in my face about how young you are, but I didn't realize you're in the SEVENTH GRADE.

(I taught seventh grade. Because seventh graders are the coolest people EVER.)

mrsmouthy said...

I don't think I ever told you this before, but the first school I taught at was called "Helen Keller" (but no, the kids were not blind/deaf, though many of them acted deaf). Anyway, one year the school sweatshirts sported the school's name across the chest. IN BRAILLE.

It was legendary.

Mr. Mouthy (aka Jesus/Chewbacca/Moses/Esau) said...

I want to tell my favorite Helen Keller joke:

Why couldn't Helen Keller drive?

Because she's a woman!

monika said...

you make me laugh, Renee :)

Cassandra said...

I have a talking clock and from now on, I'm calling it Hal.

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Katy said...

Renee, you seriously need to write a book about the adventures of going blind. This post cracked me up. A bust of Lionel Richie's face... That is serious GOLD. Hurry up, you only have one more year to be on Oprah and I'm certian she'll eat that up! Don't think I'm kidding about this book thing... it has serious potential

Becky said...

I'm back still laughing at this post. Perhaps because I've been in a class similar. Yes, you need to write that book. Put me on the list to order a copy :D

Sarah Beau Bera said...

Yes, what Katy said. I am the only person on the bus right now who is laughing so hard I am crying. So ... thank you.

meghan said...

That was effing great!

Katy said...

So, it's official Renee. Start the book.