A wise man once said “write what you know” and knowing is a perpetual education.
I know I’ve learned a lot over the last few years, much of it positive and most of it by trial and error. I’ve assembled an impressive bag of RP tricks that are likely familiar to you all.
When I was still driving I never turned left onto a two-way street. I ritually put my hand out first when meeting new folk (to spare myself the embarrassment of missing the hand they inevitably offer) and I habitually read restaurant menus online to assure myself a bright and frustration-free experience. I walk into darkened rooms and stand ever-so-coolly still; pretending to survey the scene when in reality I’m waiting impatiently for my eyes to semi-adjust.
Fake it till you make it is my modus operandi; anything to appear “normal”. I could fill a novel with silky pivots and stealth maneuvers but I’d rather write about two essential RP tools; the cane and the flashlight.
Audrey Hepburn made blind sexy in Wait Until Dark but there’s nothing seductive about a spindly white mobility cane. I was cane trained long before necessary and I still don’t walk with one. That iconic badge of the sight impaired has negative connotations for me mired in ego, fear and pride. Granted it’s my own baggage but I don’t want to be pitied, I don’t want to be helped and I don’t want the world to see me as less than I am.
My happy alternative comes from a small Winnipeg-based company called Ambutech https://ambutech.com/shop-online who make a groundbreaking lightweight graphite cane that hits all the right notes. It folds up small into a bag or a purse, its available in an impressive variety of lengths and it sports snappy colors – bright blue, red, green and purple, even yellow and pink if you’re so inclined. I have a 36” black model that serves more as a walking stick but keeps wandering stragglers at bay and doesn’t label me as visually challenged, just someone who needs a little support. This stylish accessory is the ultimate boon.
The flashlight was invented in 1899 but it took me some decades to discover its unlimited benefits. Pocket-sized and relentlessly bright – 250-300 lumens worth – it has enabled me to walk at night with added assurance, locate essential items in my semi-dim closet and navigate unmarked stairs. Pinpointing toilet paper in a dark public bathroom is a game changer. I have flashlights everywhere – my bag, my bedside table, my office and in the kitchen. This simple solution affords significant strides in the way of convenience and confidence. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D3Y3JEE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00
Let’s pool together our tips and tricks and make everyone’s life a little bit easier! - Jeanne
I’ve been so consumed with saving my eyesight that anything that hints of accommodating my visual impairment has always felt like giving in to the disease. (I second Jeanne’s sentiments regarding the white cane completely.) But this year, as part of my overall GET HEALTHY strategy, I’ve realized that making life easier for myself is actually a way to decrease my stress and improve my overall health.
I’m determined to be healthy so when I saw Jeanne whip out a small flashlight and read through her menu with ease during a recent rendezvous dinner with her and fellow RPer Lesley Etchells (and our amazing spouses), I knew it was something worth trying.
A few days later, Jeanne surprised with a package of three high-powered flashlights that now accompany me wherever I go. And the difference has been life changing. I can now walk down the street in dusk or darkness without feeling the familiar panic wash over me. I can now read a menu in the ridiculously dark restaurants that dot my neighborhood. And I can now find my way to our car in the early morning or night and see the correct door handle—ensuring that I always make it into the front passenger seat.
It’s been so liberating that I’m ready to follow whatever RP tools of the trade tips Jeanne recommends (got to say…I’m intrigued by her colored walking sticks)—especially since she kicks butt more than anyone I know when it comes to living life fully and refusing to let RP get in her way. – Ingrid