In this lesson, Elaine took me to an outer part of town, but it happened to be right near our local Middle School, so I did know the location…
The objective was simple, to walk up, down, and around the block, stopping for all open areas (that includes driveways); listening, for cars and the direction of traffic, as of yet still waiting for “All Quiet“; and finally look to make sure all is clear before you cross a driveway or street… and as always, using perfect cane technique.
I made my way to the first street, surveying the location, noting the street name, the flow of traffic, and how the intersection was controlled… listened for “All Quiet” and made my way across… It was mid day so traffic at that time was very light. We made our way down a few more blocks, doing crossings the same way, always stopping, listening for any sound, and then looking before crossing.
This lesson was uneventful, as it was more for Elaine to observe me, and how I approached the curb, and to make sure I listened, and looked before crossing. We made a few turns, and looped back around.
While doing so Elaine normally travels a good 20 to 30-feet behind me as to not disturb me, and so she can observe.
As I walked down the street some people where out and about. As I approached an alley way I stop, and listen, check the curb edge with my cane as I have been told to do. While resting a moment I hear from across the street a man say “It’s OK, your fine it’s clear…” as I did then step off and cross the alley, I then hear “Watch your step…” of course I did politely ignore him.
I made my way down the street, and I over hear him and a lady say “Leave the man alone, he knows what he’s doing“… and a fleeting comment of “Them blind people sure amaze me, I don’t know how they do it…” – Well I have to say at least some one noticed my white cane! In all my years, I have never had some one attempt to assist me in crossing a street. It was a little embarrassing, but made me feel good, some one attempted to help.
As a note to my fellow sighted reader, I would like to remind you that most blind or low vision people who travel need little help, and if we do, we will ask. We know what we’re doing that’s why we have people like Elaine to train us!
You should not shout or startle a blind or low vision person; chances are they are concentrating on the task at hand… You should not yell “It’s OK to cross“, I will cross when I am ready… If I am going to cross a street, chances are I am at the curb, with my cane in front of me, waiting to step off. If I am not going to cross, I will likely pull my cane tight to my body, and be back away from the curb. – Please do not be offended if I tell you I don’t need your help.
In the next lesson, Elaine says we’re going to start working on crossing streets where traffic is a little more heavy, and you can’t always wait for “All Quiet“…
As always, feel free to leave your comments!
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- Orientation and Mobility: Anatomy of an Intersection