When The Simplest Things Can Be The Most Difficult
I was looking at Twitter a few days ago and I came across a “Conversation” which annoyed me. I suppose I should have taken it in my stride and moved on but it hit a bit of a raw nerve with me.
The reason for this was one comment made during the conversation. It was something along the lines of “lost your glasses??? Ring the Police”.
Yes – I admit that the person who made the comment was just being flippant and trying to make a point about what constitutes a real emergency – as well as losing your glasses not being a reason to dial 999. However, they used what I call the “Specsavers Argument” (Other High Street rip-off Opticians are available). This argument goes along the lines of “Most people who wear glasses don’t have very strong prescriptions – therefore they can lose one pair and walk around in order to find their spare pair without causing any danger to themselves and others”. (One “Chugger” from Guide Dogs for the Blind attempted to use the same argument on me some months back – until I told them to try my glasses on – they soon changed their tune after that.)
I think this is part of the reason why the purchase of glasses is not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act or the Equalities Act. However, I digress.
Without going all Scientific on you (and boring you to sleep) – the simplest way of explaining why I got so annoyed by the Twitter “Conversation” is because – to put it very bluntly – if I lose my glasses that is me totally out of commission. My world becomes one big blur. If you want a taste of how bad my sight is without glasses click here Visions Of Prescriptions where I discuss my sight and my glasses in more detail.
If you were to meet me when I am wearing my glasses I certainly do not appear to be Registered Partially Sighted (unless you put me under certain conditions) – although I do own a white stick I do not use it because I have been brought up and “socially trained” to hide my sight problems as much as humanly possible. You can read all about my sight in other parts of my personal blog.
The way I look at my sight and my disability is as follows – I may be the one who is legally recognised as “Disabled” due to my sight but I have been dealing with it my entire life. The people who I consider to be the real “Disabled” people are the ones who have not spent any time in my company and – therefore – do not know how I “operate”. They are also the ones who can make simple tasks extremely difficult for me just through their ignorance (either by physically putting barriers in my way or by making me feel uncomfortable as a result of their reaction to something I do – or even a request I make).
So – next time you see someone who is doing something you find odd – please remember that they may have a disability (the severity of which is not immediately obvious) and treat them as you yourself would wish to be treated. After all – the person who has just asked you to read something out to them may actually be able to read and understand more than one language – they just have a problem with the size of print on the board behind you (especially if there is a counter between you and them).
A little consideration goes a very long way.