Saturday, October 24, 2015

Can't wear just anywhere: I didn't tell you about #whitecaneday.

RantWoman is terribly glad to see this old Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society emblem surface again recently on Facebook.

Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society Emblem
RantWoman also humbly acknowledges that one can't wear the thing just anywhere. For instance this year, RantWoman observed #whitecaneday a few days ago with lots of officials from several local transportation entities.

RantWoman's WA Council of the Blind T-shirt was dirty. RantWoman exhorted others to wear their WCB T-shirts but no one else who might have worn a T-shirt showed up. Still, probably NOT a good place to wear a Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society t-shirt.


RantWoman got the day off to a festive start on twitter. Someone tweeted about how people should celebrate #whitecaneday by giving a blind person a hug. RantWoman likes hugs a lot, preferably if asked first. RantWoman has serious issues with various forms of "Grab the Blind Person and Bless them," especially if "Grab the blind Person and Bless Them" comes with expectations about extravagant expressions of gratitude for the encounter. So, NO, please DO NOT celebrate #whitecaneday with a hearty round of "Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them."

The first terrifying, real space moment occurred during introductions. RantWoman said the word "Waterfront." Readers can tune into RantWoman's other blog for continued commentary about the waterfront and the word "Accessibility." RantWoman and those assembled opted to duck about the topic for #whitecaneday.

A friend of RantWoman's led a walking tour of big blind-friendly improvements in RantWoman's neighborhood. If you want the right search strings, you will have to look on RantWoman's other blog. Here RantWoman gets to wrestle with all sorts of unholy and less than politic commentary.

One of RantWoman's tasks, it turned out, was to provide color commentary that the friend of RantWoman's could not provide.  For instance, RantWoman opined at one point that it would have been really nice if the organization sponsoring the event, the organization where RantWoman's friend works,  had teamed up with another organization VERY close.

The second organization also gets a lot of foot traffic;  it might be entirely logical for blind people to want to be able to go to on their own via decent sidewalks with good landmarks, that is good landmarks for blind people, from nearby bus stops without needing paratransit just to cope with the last 1-3 blocks of pedestrian route. (RantWoman, CHILL! Chill!. You can do Dial-a-Tirade another time. Chill!)

Everyone who wanted one and did not already have one got issued a white cane. Possibly if RantWoman were just blinder, she would have relied on superior mobility skills and gotten to skip out on being terrified by a bunch of sighted people flailing their canes willy-nilly without even the faintest effort to simulate actual use of white cane for detection and navigation. As it was RantWoman made one comment and then either walked ahead of the group or behind the group the entire rest of the way.

RantWoman's friend did a couple great commentaries about listening for multiple cycles of a traffic light before deciding how to cross the street. RantWoman also did great narrative about the back up and try again problem-solving people who get formal orientation and mobility training get about obstacles and paths they are unsure of.

Maybe the most topical side comment for RantWoman: if you think you are helping and think you know RantWoman well enough to be entitled to automatic thank yous, could you MAYBE listen to RantWoman enough to have a more refined sense of what actually helps. Hint: no, RantWoman STILL can only do VERY minimal facial expressions. Yes, thank you very much, RantWoman can see orange construction barriers if she looks in the right direction soon enough to avoid them; if not she finds them with her white cane and adapts her route accordingly. But if you want big giant smooches of appreciation for telling RantWoman about newly placed construction barriers, please be advised that 1. RantWoman may already have detected the issue arriving at the location and 2. RantWoman is naturally charm-challenged and may possibly have already run out of graciousness thanking bus drivers, bus passengers, random Grab the blind person and bless them perpetrators, street drunks, small children, and passersby for "help."

Anyway, at #whitecaneday, RantWoman asked her friend to please tell her if RantWoman was talking too much. NO, said friend, you were great! (Praise Jesus!)

One of RantWoman's favorite moments: the new #ADA coordinator for the WA State Ferries asked RantWoman a VERY insightful question about the white cane and leaves. It was a dry day. Even so leaves are kind of a pain. It's pretty easy to wind up with kind of a snowplow effect moving a lot of leaves and even worse if the leaves are soggy or it's raining. Leaves are treacherous enough by themselves, but the presence of leaves also frequently indicates the presence of trees nearby, along with enhanced likelihood of sidewalk vs tree root disruptions, the sort of sidewalk discontinuities that increase risk of falls, sprains, broken bones, and general public irritableness! . RantWoman likes trees fine. RantWoman recognizes that leaves are awesome organic matter. But for the safety of white cane users, people with shopping carts, people in wheelchairs, RantWoman was VERY glad for the opportunity to issue a general exhortation for people to please keep their sidewalk right of ways cleared off!

After RantWoman set the date and time for this to post, she remembered the date coincides with a time when she MIGHT in fact have worn the T-shirt, even though people in authority cannot automatically be expected to see humor about anything that says "terrorist society." RantWoman also remembers it was the sort of occasion where people would get searched and political buttons tended to get confiscated as "dangerous weapons," well not as dangerous as the weapons being protested but never mind. The more interesting dynamic. Buttons that said "Refuse to be Abused" sometimes got confiscated and then tended to get flashed from inside someone else's collar.

Here rantWoman will pause for now. rantWOman feels another missive from the bedbugsc coming on but rantWoman must FOCUS for now on....

No comments:

Post a Comment