Ann Chiappetta

Making meaningful connections with others through writing

Listening and Talking

| Filed under Guide dogs writing

Last night, as Bailey and I were waiting for the para transit bus to go home, I heard the familiar tapping of a white cane. I felt like calling out but thought better of it. I often get a bit startled when someone calls out to me, breaking my concentration. I didn’t want to do that to this person, so I listened as he or she passed.

But, how I wanted to stop that person, talk to them, ask them if they worked or lived in White Plains. I, however, stayed silent, listening to the rhythmic tapping with a wistfulness only another blind person living in the land of the sighted can understand.

 

This is part of the blindness culture that I find frustrating; I wouldn’t have even known this person lived or worked nearby unless I heard the obvious tapping sounds. For example, more than once I know I passed another guide dog team because we both gave a command to “leave it and “hup up”. It just sucks that without a verbal or audible sign, we wouldn’t even know one another was walking down the street or shopping in the mall, or getting coffee at the coffee shop.

 

That night I felt like I missed out on a potential connection, and, maybe I did. I know that if it happens again, I will speak out and do my best to connect. This got me to thinking about how to reach out to others, how to develop some sense of belonging among the folks who are blind or visually impaired and live and work in Westchester County. It has long been my dream to lead a support group, to teach others about self-advocacy — that no matter who you are, you can be an advocate and be part of the community and feel good about what you do and who you help, whether it is yourself or others or both.

Keeping this in mind, on October 7, myself and three others will be honored at the Spirit of Independence breakfast, www.wdomi.org, a very important award for me. I’ve been developing my skills as an advocate for years, and thanks to the village I call the disability culture, I’ve achieved something they believe is worthwhile.

 

Earlier this year, I was also included in a short disability film for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. What a thrill to be part of this, too. I have found my voice and others are listening. I never thought I could be so influential and it’s scary sometimes. I often think, are people really listening to me? Are they really impressed by what I say? Then, I’m overcome with a sense of hyper-responsibility, and I think, OH, man, I hope I don’t let them down. Its all little bit intimidating, but I think the path I’m walking is the path I’m meant to walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night, as Bailey and I were waiting for the para transit bus to go home, I heard the familiar tapping of a white cane. I felt like calling out but thought better of it. I often get a bit startled when someone calls out to me, breaking my concentration. I didn’t want to do that to this person, so I listened as he or she passed.

But, how I wanted to stop that person, talk to them, ask them if they worked or lived in White Plains. I, however, stayed silent, listening to the rhythmic tapping with a wistfulness only another blind person living in the land of the sighted can understand.

 

This is part of the blindness culture that I find frustrating; I wouldn’t have even known this person lived or worked nearby unless I heard the obvious tapping sounds. For example, more than once I know I passed another guide dog team because we both gave a command to “leave it and “hup up”. It just sucks that without a verbal or audible sign, we wouldn’t even know one another was walking down the street or shopping in the mall, or getting coffee at the coffee shop.

 

That night I felt like I missed out on a potential connection, and, maybe I did. I know that if it happens again, I will speak out and do my best to connect. This got me to thinking about how to reach out to others, how to develop some sense of belonging among the folks who are blind or visually impaired and live and work in Westchester County. It has long been my dream to lead a support group, to teach others about self-advocacy — that no matter who you are, you can be an advocate and be part of the community and feel good about what you do and who you help, whether it is yourself or others or both.

Keeping this in mind, on October 7, myself and three others will be honored at the Spirit of Independence breakfast, www.wdomi.org, a very important award for me. I’ve been developing my skills as an advocate for years, and thanks to the village I call the disability culture, I’ve achieved something they believe is worthwhile.

 

Earlier this year, I was also included in a short disability film for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. What a thrill to be part of this, too. I have found my voice and others are listening. I never thought I could be so influential and it’s scary sometimes. I often think, are people really listening to me? Are they really impressed by what I say? Then, I’m overcome with a sense of hyper-responsibility, and I think, OH, man, I hope I don’t let them down. Its all little bit intimidating, but I think the path I’m walking is the path I’m meant to walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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