For those few hours I felt strong again...

Thank you so very much for including me in your study group on talking signs. For those few hours I felt strong again, almost sighted, nearly normal. I never knew the transit center had a change machine, or where the water fountain was. The thrill of hearing what bus I was getting on and where it was going was just indescribable!!!

It's amazing how quickly I became attached to my little voice--how feisty and in control I felt as I scanned and found everything I needed. For the first time in so many years I didn't feel ashamed as onlookers discussed me--they were talking about how great I was doing--not saying how unfortunate or brave I was.

I heard admiration, not pity--and then came the part of our test where you took the magic box away. Suddenly, I was lost again, so blind and so uncertain. Trying desperately to hear if anyone was in my path, remember where things were, feel the air currents from doors, wondering if they would announce arrivals and departures. You probably didn't hear the woman by the change machine say, Oh look, now she's helpless. She and a friend wondered if you would have me go outside without that little thing. I tried so hard to ignore them but you don't dare drown out anything when you can't see, and besides, I did feel helpless. After that I didn't want to work on that side of the room and you noticed I didn't want to use my cane.

I tend to think I'm less conspicuous if I don't swing my cane. For me there was a different magic in the power of talking signs, it changed the public's perception of me from pity to respect. It's been a long time since I heard respect in the voice of anyone observing me. Unfortunately, people seem to believe that blind people are also deaf. They feel perfectly comfortable in discussing us as though we aren't even there. Thank You for that brief restoration of dignity, respect, and independence.

If there is anything I can do to make this beautiful city accessible to the visually impaired please let me know.

Jeane Adamson

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