DWB – Driving While Blind

 

I left my sight behind at 55 MPH.

One minute I was driving along, chasing down a potential training contract. The next – nothing. Lights out. All of a sudden, I couldn’t see a thing.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. Despite what a lot of people envision when they hear me say I’m blind, I don’t live in total darkness. Blind is simply easier to say. Like many ‘blind’ people, I’m actually visually impaired (VI). My light perception is a little diminished, but I can still tell light from dark, see the color blue, and large objects within about a three foot range of vision are fuzzy but mostly recognizable.

But my range of vision is severely compromised. So I couldn’t see a thing beyond the hood of my Mazda 626 except hazy, rapidly moving shapes. And even the familiar things I did recognize inside the car were hella blurry.

So it was a real problem. I mean think about it. What would you do if you found yourself on a fairly busy road, going about ten miles over the speed limit, and all of a sudden you couldn’t see where you were going? Pull over to the side? Stop the car? Try to get help?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjvdMNDC3XE&w=300&h=300

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Blind Girl Packing

My first misadventure as a visually impaired person happened about three months after my surgery. I had to get myself back to Charlotte from Cleveland, and I needed to do it on the cheap.

As this link demonstrates, there are several options available specifically for visually impaired people who want to travel safely. But the mainstream discount bus service I chose had no such concerns. I was picked up in the middle of the night at an otherwise closed terminal in downtown Cleveland and dropped off for a two-hour layover on a sketchy corner in a rundown Cincinnati neighborhood. There was no shelter, and all the stores surrounding us were closed.

I was still taking anti-seizure medication and my phone was nearly dead. The ticket to board the next bus was on the phone, and the medication was only to be taken with food. So it felt vitally important that I find somewhere to recharge.

A passerby, seeing the group of us waiting for the next bus, told us that there was a coffee shop about three blocks straight ahead and five blocks to the right. Despite many people’s gripes about being left on that corner with no way to get out of the sun or use the restroom, nobody wanted to go find it. I suppose my fellow passengers clearly saw our surroundings and decided to act like they had common sense. I couldn’t and don’t, so I set off by myself, dragging a waist-high suitcase noisily behind me.

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