When I was probably four years old we went to a Purdue game where I got to go on the floor meet Jean Katie and the whole team. I remember this pretty vividly, because as I’ve commented before in my underwear basketball league I would always be Purdue and take them to the tournament. You really should’ve seen my game. Before my mom crush my dreams telling me no blind people can play in the NBA. It’s really her fault I have low self-esteem, a bit fat, and have a difficult time playing basketball today. i’m just kidding I love my mom there will be no Marshall Mathers album here. Anyway we got to the Arena around the same time Coach Katie did. I remember being on the court sitting on Craig Riley’s knee and we were just talking basketball he was my favorite. He spent probably about five minutes with me and then asked would you like to meet Matt painter? I don’t exactly know why I said the following I think he missed a shot last game that upset me. I said no he stinks, and of course being blind I didn’t realize he was right there. I may have said sucks I don’t really recall but it was one of those two words. my parents told me his face turned bright red and I’ll Riley could do was laugh. I do remember saying sorry and he gave me his autograph and I sat on his knee as well.
After the game I got to meet Coach Katie before he left and I told him I thought Bobby Knight sucked and he was the best coach in Indiana. I still stand by that. Since I’ve left Indiana I do like to see them do okay now but for a long time I really despise them. Truthfully I just love the game of basketball college that is nothing beats the competitive back-and-forth tournament game. I still remember the guy that rub me the wrong way that day was Woody Austin. I was right in front of him and rather than sign my dumb little sheet he said he had a party to get to funny the things you remember from being a kid. I went to Purdue one more game I think it watched Glenn Robinson he was another one of my favorites. I did see Riley in Fort Wayne a few years later and he remembered which I thought was cool. I’m never got to see Coach painter but if I did I would tell him I think he’s doing a great job and he learned from one of the best Bruce Webber. I would probably throwing a joke and tell him he’s a better coach than basketball player just to remember the old times but I do have a lot of respect for him. He could’ve just ignored me but instead I remember him being nice after I realized he was there.
That definitely is one thing about being blind you always have to be careful what you say because you never know who is around. That burnt me a few times. And middle school my friend Lance created this game where he would say a codeword to let me know when teachers were around if I was talking inappropriately. I am actually surprised we didn’t get into more trouble as kids. I think the blind think probably helped a few times. I had a cane that had a skinny tip on it so Lance I believe got the idea to put it in a pencil sharpener so basically the end of my cane was sharp like an arrow. and had an elastic string so we would pull it back and shoot it at the ceiling making marks in our school I wonder if they’re still there. We would also sometime shoot it across the room that thing was pretty dangerous. I was sad when I left it in a Burger King bathroom on a field trip never did get it back.
My friends always encourage me to try new things. My friend Lauren let me drive his car that was probably my first time driving. I think I was 15 and I drove it down town and my hometown. My friend Sean had a Mustang and I forget exactly why we did this but we went offroading through a field. Then of course my friend Brandon always try to get me to mow the yard for him they never let me do it fully though I think I would’ve been a great person to cut the yard of course I would have missed spots. Sometimes I get these notions to write a book and then sometimes I think my life isn’t that entertaining so it’s always a back-and-forth battle but one thing I remember admiring about my childhood versus now is the way I’ve grown with independence. When you live in the country as a blind person unless you can teleport you have to rely on someone to get you places and I was not very independent as a teenager to be honest. I was also not very good at science so teleportation was out. I remember going to Ball State with my mobility instructor it was big to me, because I had all these buildings and space but by the second day of being there or third day I made a lot of friends got lost A lot but somehow found my way I’ll never forget those days. in high school for your first year it kind of feels different because we had an upstairs I guess. It was one building though so it was completely different from college. I remember being at orientation at Ball State and I thought to myself while walking around holding onto someone’s elbow because I didn’t know my way that can I really make it here can I do this? It just all felt so big, but I did. I never share those feelings with anyone no one really cared that’s not me being cynical just truth lol.
I still feel that way like when I flew into Atlanta I sometimes get nervous about traveling somewhere new because everything is foreign. I commented last post about not wanting to walk around a lot that probably has to do with my mugging things of change for me since Ben I’m not as adventurous. I can explain to you the rush I feel when I get to the airport and we board to take off and then we get to the new place and just everything else is in the air. I’ll just put my idea here so if it gets taken I’ll sue you really I will. I always thought the greatest thing would be to have a television show where it shows blind people navigating because I think it’s fascinating. People often think I feel sorry for myself I believe or that I hate being blind. I don’t feel either one of those things I just find it fascinating that blind people fight audio signals or deny help because they want to look as independent as possible. People who can see have all the signals it’s not like they just have a greenlight they have a sign that says walk I’m surprised you don’t have someone usher you across the street by now. People complain about having to sit and 15 minutes of traffic meanwhile when we go to the grocery store it could take us up to three hours and still not get everything we need. Do you want to know my biggest annoyance? I don’t think I’ve ever talked openly about it so here it is. it’s when people offer things and don’t mean it. For example I will be somewhere and someone will say oh you could call me for a ride anytime. I’ve never relied on people that say these things because if you ask them there’s always some kind of excuse. I would rather you not even mention that if you don’t mean it. It’s not really that big of request. I don’t think me saying this probably translates properly I think it’s just you have to be blind to understand that. This blog is been interesting I’ve had people wonder why I remain or try to be independent if that’s the right thing to do all the time my notion is does it really matter? At the end of the day if I have a job if I own a house if I make all my payments or if I’m a good person or not a good person it doesn’t really matter because I’m blind. again that’s not anything about Pity it’s just being 100% honest. I struggle at times in my life because people who mean a lot to me say things that I don’t know how to interpret all the time. And college a few people would want to take me to bars because it would look good to women or maybe it might boost something going on in them. traveling around even today when I go to Atlanta or walk down main street here it’s amazing how many people don’t understand a service animal even more amazing how many people know very little about blindness. And college my friend Bryant told me something that I’ve kept with me. He call me sweetness but we’re having a conversation about how blind people or myself did something and he said that I was the first blind person he’s ever met I imagine that to be the case in most situations. I know I stand out which is nice and you can use that to your advantage definitely in certain situations but often times it’s a hindrance because people will exploit you but people also can be nice. I’ve really grown up and an interesting time where we sit with things becoming more and more speech friendly and more and more accessible. for example when I started college all of the ATM machines were pretty much unusable, but now Chase fifth third and other banks have fully functioning accessible ATM machines. Which meant or means I remember a time where either I had to remember all of the prompts to get cash out of an ATM machine or I had to trust somebody to read the screen and give me the correct amount of money which takes a lot of trust. Of course when you’re drunk and you wake up the next morning with weed in your pocket and you don’t remember how you bought it I apparently trust a lot of people. Haha. In 2004 I remember meeting a blind person who told me they just voted for the first time independently with a talking machine it’s just amazing. Tonight another dream of mine might be coming true by December 2016 I samite because I still don’t know what happens if they fail to comply the FCC didn’t tell me. however the top 10 cable companies or television providers I should say are going to be required to have a talking set box it’s about time. And smaller markets it’s December 2018. I literally went all over the place in this post. that’s why I’m great if you like sports you get a little bit of that, alcohol deathly talk on that, real-world problems I give you that it’s all here.