I want to first off by stating RIP to jenelle a guide dog for my friend Matt. She Died on Sunday. She was 14 and a great dog. I have so many stories, and I can’t even begin to understand what he is going through. I understand it but I’ve never lost one yet. She went peacefully though which is good. Anyway if you could put Matt and Amanda in your thoughts. I remember her she’d wag her tail any chance she got. One night when I was going home Robin tried to steal her toys because I guess humping her all the time wasn’t enough. Haha Robin is quite the dominating girl. Anyway when I stepped outside the house I heard this thump thump as the toy went down the stairs. I got it and took it back in. Anyway I know you’ll be missed by Robin and myself.
What I want to talk about today is why blindness is viewed as this helplessness agenda. I am watching this video of this soldier who went blind, and no disrespect but what his fucking wife said really set me off. She said in a CBS video was she could either say were done he can’t do anything anymore or she could become his biggest cheerleader. I know obviously he went through some depression, and maybe even had thoughts of killing himself, but her notion that he couldn’t do anything where does that come from? Maybe again I’m digging at something she didn’t mean, but sighted people in general look at a blind person and say I couldn’t live if that happened to me. Being blind isn’t that bad. Yes you can’t see shit, but you can still do shit. I might not see cake baking in the oven rising to that beautiful doughy perfection, but I can taste it. I was talking to my friend Linda and Reggie this week about how summer bombs the fuck out of me sometimes. I know it’s stupid right, but I miss all the fashion women show off. I always hear from women I hang out with or dudes who stop paying attention to me because there watching someone all most be naked. Before I started watching described video again I didn’t realize how much sexual persuasion is always there. When your blind unless someones rubbing on you it’s not as stimulating. You can be ab oblivious to what is going on. As I get older my appearance becomes more important as I try to meet people or find new jobs. I walked around with a fucking stain on my shirt all day Friday. Thankfully I was in a place most others were to but still.
I think I offended my dad the other day, because I went home over the weekend and stated I wasn’t used to that long of a car ride. He said sorry I don’t own an airplane and can’t fly you home. That wasn’t what I met at all, but okay. Maybe again he doesn’t think about my situation because he doesn’t have to, but I would love to get in a fucking car and drive to Washington on a roadtrip, but the fact is I can’t. I guess I could maybe find a friend who wanted to go somewhere and tag along, but most of the time that means you lose a lot of freedom. I’m not in a relationship so at this point I don’t have that connection to share with. For me flying or cabs or busses is what I get. I don’t have the luxury of just getting in a car in my drive way and drive where I want. Most things I do I have to plan out or pay for a cab or Lyft. Yes I have a pilot friend and things work out, but it’s not always easy. When I was in Toronto do you know how tiring that really was? I mean I have just my phone, with GPS anything could have happened. I would love the security of just having a car christ.
Anyway back to the soldier. I think it is great what he did, but his wife pissed me off a little. I guess I can love you but if you go blind then I got a real fucking choice to make. Never mind you lost your sight fighting for my right to be a complete bitch. I’m just taking out some anger I have, but seriously man divorce her now. I just don’t know where this logic comes from that because your eyes stop working things constantly suck. Yes his situation is way crazier than mine I don’t remember anything, but life goes on. Is he still the man he was before the war probably not, but seeing his motivation by finishing the ironman shows he has a heart of a champion. I know sighted people as a whole really don’t know how to deal with blind people, and at times it’s weird. I’ve stated before I can go to a restaurant, and the waitress might open my straw for me which okay is nice right but does she do that to the sighted person? I’ve been on dates or hell even out with friends and they will look at the person and say what does he want? I’m a grown man just please ask me. Again my eyes and brain are completely different organs. My penis works too. I probably should have skipped writing tonight.
My final thought is I went home as I said earlier. I sat at the Finucanes house remembering the olden days. Before Ball state, before Louisville, and before Robin. I remember being just stuck in the country with no transportation other than my family. My brother would take me to school, and bring me home or I would ride the bus. If I was at wrestling someone would pick me up after that. I was so different back then, because I had to depend on others which is probably why I had being having to depend on people now. Hanging out at Brandons house helped me in ways I don’t really want to get in to here, but they helped me get out of bad situations at times. His family pretty much excepted me. I love them still. I’m sitting in there living room remembering my dreams of wanting to live in the big city, and work, and it’s somewhat weird it came true. I remembered struggling after college when no one would hire me. It’s just weird how things work out. I’m learning to just take things in strive and pick my battles. I can’t win them all. I will just say this. Why do we focus on the amazing accomplishments still of the blind, and rather not look at the struggles they face today? It’s easy for me to Google blind in the news and see a thousand feel good peaces, but I don’t see the poverty or the technology challenges we face. For that matter I have to read about how gay people are discriminated on at a job, but yet when I go to an interview and we talk about the dog rather than my accomplishments somehow this is executable and not wrong. I can’t hide my dog or my cane I am what I am. Not saying it’s unfair for gay people to face there problems at the end of the day it’s your choice what you display. I’m okay with you being you, but why can’t we ever get to a place where your fine with me being me? I find myself not being to religious, but one thing that’s always bothered me is people will tell me I’ll be perfect again when I get to heaven because everyone is. Why in theory then aren’t we all perfect in gods eyes for the way were made? I find myself watching people who can maybe get there sight back and even if it is just a sliver put themselves through major operations just to say they can see light again. Is it really worth it? I hear about these people who talk about using cameras possibly strapped to there heads and then that could somehow stimulate your brain in to seeing immages. Call me crazy, but you walking with cameras on your face is that going to make sighted people respect you more? I just wonder when will blind people start getting covered fairly? I know we are out numbered but in theory isn’t it crazy when I have to hear about a transgendered kid figure out which bathroom they want to use or can use and yet I hear nothing about blind struggles. I said to Linda I think there are more transgendered people in the country than blind people and that’s just weird to me sorry. Do I think science or god or whatever you believe can mess up sure, but not to the extent your seeing it in are country. Furthermore most of my friends on Facebook get all obsessed with gay rights something that affects none of them personally. Yet when it comes to blind people they have no clue. Do they get upset that i can’t tell apart a dollar bill from a five dollar bill without an Iphone? Do they get mad that the United States basically paid the National Federation of the Blind money to say that wasn’t important? Funny how they fought that cause in the 1990’s isn’t it? know one asked me or any blind people I know what are thoughts were on having accessible money. Again I see no support from my friends on trying to fix it, but if I were gay I’m sure you’d fucking march at my parade. I’m not being mean or trying to offend but rather just ask why people get involved with certain issues that don’t pertain to them, but then others just completely block it out?
Day 3 was interesting to say the least. I woke up at 6:45 because I don’t really know why. I slept like a rock I forgot my melatonin, but the few hours I got were great. Robin was wining so I put on my shoes and took her out. We went to a nice little place for breakfast.
Denny and I need to find a way to podcast 96 percent of are conversations are funny the other 4 you wouldn’t care about. Anyway he has been telling me I care way to much about things so I am trying to relax. I thought this was cool but for breakfast she took me to this painting and coffee thing. Now I am not a great painter, but I made it work. She held my hand and we brushed together. While she wasn’t holding my hands I painted where ever I wanted. It’s safe to say her half looked better. It was a lot of fun though. I let her keep it. She traced my finger along the canvas once it dried and she made the city of Toronto. She said she wanted me to feel how it was shaped. It was beautiful, and I thought really sweet.
After that we went back to the hotel, and she left to get a change. She didn’t want to show up to work in the exact thing as yesterday. I had a meeting a friend of mine arranged at a station so I went over to that. It ran way long, because I was recording a radio thing. Anyway I met Monica back at the Jays game. It was a crazy game the parts I got to see. I had to eave early so I missed the ending my scores alerts tell me they lost. I wished Monica well and told her she made the trip a lot of fun. She hugged me and we kissed and I left. Truthfully I’m not good at these things at all. Maybe are paths will cross again maybe not, but she helped me realize things about myself. I think we can be are worst critics. As people we tend to group bad events and let them dictate how we view things. I’ve been on a lot of bad first dates, and have had crazy things happen and it was nice not to have that. Whatever the future is I will be patient and stop looking for it because if loves meant to be it’ll find me. That’s what I’m taking away from this experience. See Denny I do listen to you. Happy fathers day to you, Phil, and my dad. I sent my dad a text on Verizon which means I sent a international text I’m sure that will cost me. Oh well nothing will ever cost as much as when I was voting for Sanjia on American Idol in college I learnt the meaning of a $2 text. Thanks Howard Stern. haha I wanted to go see the Niagara Falls, but didn’t make it there. Meeting Monica my plans changed quickly. The flight home was great. No one really bugged me about Robin the entire time it was really smooth. Well I guess now it’s back to work….
This will be a pretty long update so strap in. Yesterday was day 2 of my Toronto adventure. One thing I didn’t talk about in my first post was that I was really worried about traffic. I knew it would probably be about the same, but I was worried I’d encounter something I wasn’t familiar with in the states. That hasn’t happened thankfully. The traffic sound normal it’s really busy most of the day I’ve seen, so it’s easy to tell the traffic serge.
Yesterday where do I start it was a full day. I got to piss in a shark urinal I guess I will start there. I went to this bar, and went to use the bathroom, and was told the Journal was shaped like a sharks head. Now one thing I will say when I got Robin urinals a harder, because I used to use my cane and bump it, so now I have to use my leg which I do not like. I was for the life of me trying to see what it looked like but I couldn’t touch it so I just pissed and hoped for no splash back thankfully there wasn’t. It was not trough thankfully.
The Jays game again was great another hell of a game. The Jays had the bases loaded and with no outs and couldn’t score so they lost. That was the biggest inning of the game. Monica came and sat by me during some of the game and I learned about her. We decided to go out to eat together for dinner. I asked her if she liked thai I saw a few places near by, and she said she loved it. I left her and went to the aquarium since she had to finish up working.
At the aquarium I got to touch a stingray. That was pretty neat other than that though like my friend Kim said it was a bunch of fish behind glass. haha I did learn some things though.
I walked to the thai place which was pretty far or at least further than I was participating. I wasn’t sure if this place would give me trouble with Robin, but I was surprised how open they were. I used to live next to a Thai place in Muncie when I lived downtown. I would take long walks and then stop by for dinner. The owner would give me a neighbor discount which I thought was nice. I really miss that small-town atmosphere. Anyway Nute I think her name was came out and asked me what I wanted I found out she was the owner. Monica ordered hers and then I got something spicy. I love the heat. It didn’t dissapoint. It was noodles and shrimp and peppers.
Monica told me she had a blind sister, and so when she met me on Friday I inspired her. She told me her sister lost complete sight a year ago when she was 16. I told her I thought that would be tougher, because she’ll remember things where I can’t. My friend Denny tells me storries of how he used to take off running when he lost his sight, because in his head he could still see and he would smack right in to a wall. We started talking about her and her studies. She is 25, and studying at Toronto University working in cancer research.
Eventually things got to me, and she asked me some tough questions. I told her about radio and things I’ve been through with it. I told her about turning down Detroit, and New York once. She asked me why I did that? I was honest about it I think I was nervous to fail. If I had moved to Detroit and got fired in the first month where wouldd I be? Plus I was honest at that time I was dating Lex and she was doing well on tv and her family was close so I knew she wouldn’t go. things fell apart for us after I turned the job down, but it is what it is. New York is great to visit, but I feel trapped there. People aren’t friendly either I just never liked it. Louisville has this big city feel, but where I live know one just drives down the road and it’s quiet. For me I need that. I said to it’s hard to walk away from making money to take a chance where I won’t. It’s not like blind people are not having trouble finding work. She laughed and asked if I would like to go on a walk with her? I decided well if I get mugged or set up I’m only crying my phone and a few dollars now. I took her elbow so I didn’t have to constantly follow her. At times while walking with someone it’s easier to do that also so your dog doesn’t get confused. We walked streets, and she explained to me about the landscaping bigger buildings, and how much things have grown or changed. I asked her a lot about the different providences, because I’ve always ben interested.
We walked around for about 2 hours just talking, and learning about each other. It was nice. She asked me at one point why I loved baseball? I simply said because I’m American. She laughed, and said seriously why would you fly in to mainly watch baseball? I told her I want to get back involved in some way. Out of everything in my life it’s been the most consistent thing over the years. I saw my grandpa after my grandma died just watch a lot of it to pass time. For me in my teen years it helped me cope with sight loss, or if I was feeling really depressed it gave me an outlet to get lost in. Why the fuck am I always so deep with my responses? Denny is right I like writing novels. You’d think college courses would have taught me something. She told me she wants to do a lot of research on breast cancer, because her mom died about 10 years ago from it.
Anyway we got back to my hotel, and I took Robin off duty. Her and Monica played for a bit until Robin got really sick. I ran her outside and she started puking. It was not pretty at all. Once she settled down I took her inside and got her some water. I get really nervous when Robin gets sick I just want to help her. She curled up on the bed and didn’t move for the rest of the night. Monica and I talked until about 4 this morning so she stayed over. I’m beat, but I guess I can sleep on the airplane home. I’m really glad Monica walked around with me yesterday. I engaged more with locals, but her explaining what was around us visually was great, and gave me a greater understanding. I’d definitely come back to visit. Robin seems to be okay today she ate breakfast, so I will take that as a good sign.
I wanted to give you the most personal account of what I have to do when traveling. I’m sure being sighted you may do some research on the area, but that’s probably about it. When I first settled on Toronto I had to do a few things. The first was to make sure I could bring Robin I alluded to that earlier so I will skip it. I called the hotel to see a few things like are there restaurants with in walking distance and or a bus stop close. Now this even if someone says yes doesn’t always tell me what I need to know so you have to sometimes hope for the best. What I mean by this is when I went to Denver I asked if there was anything in walking distance and he said oh yes a bbq place next door. What he didn’t tell me was that for a sighted person yes it would be easy, but for a blind person not so much. To be fair he wouldn’t have any idea so I wasn’t mad but it can be frustrating. To walk to that bbq place I had to climb a fence to do it by walking. There was no sidewalk that lead over there. They were actually really nice though both places and I made it with some assistance.
Anyway back to current times. My biggest concern was getting cellular data for my GPS. I actually want to disconnect a little from the net while I’m here, but I need data to find my way around. I had to call Verizon and unlock my phone for overseas travel. I then had to contact Rogers communications to get what I needed here. Everyone pretty much has to do that though so that’s not nothing unordinary. I use this app called blind square to navigate with it’s my favorite. What it does while walking it announces your next cross street. You can also look around by pointing the phone and seeing what is near. It’s been a game changer for sure. Sometimes having that confidence of knowing your crossing the correct street helps you relax a bit. That’s pretty much all I did to get ready to come here, once I landed it’s been just me blind exploring and asking for directions if I get lost.
The flight went well Louisville is always nice, and they actually bumped me to first class so Robin could have more room. They usually do this if they can which I really enjoy. Not because I’m first class but rather so we both have some room. The stewardess and I had a good conversation she asked me about Robins training, and we laughed a lot about some entertainment stuff. She brought me 2 free beers which was nice of her. Anyway once I landed I stayed in my seat until a worker assisted me to where I was going to catch my bus to the hotel. The person didn’t talk much, and he did help me find a relief area for Robin. I got on the bus and told the driver where I needed off and turned on blind square to watch the cross streets we were crossing as he drove. Not that I know anything about the city, but I did have what cross streets I needed. I got off and got inside to the desk. I asked if they had a room that would be close to a landmark or something easy for me to find? They did the first down a hall. The person showed me where it was, and I asked to show me where the thermostat was, as well as the soda machine. Once they did that I had pretty much what I needed for now.
I unpacked feeling a bit nervous, because the easy part was over. I am now in a city where I really know where nothing is. Well it can be overwhelming. I did have 2 beers, but I don’t often drink when traveling on my own, because it’s stressful enough. I will probably drink at the hotel bar later, because that’s easy I do not want to drink and have to walk home on the streets that’s not a good idea. Anyway I thought I was staying in Rogers stadium, but I wasn’t. My hotel was a few blocks away. I fed Robin, and went back to the desk to ask where a good spot to take Robin out to the bathroom would be? A girl showed me, and I asked are there any trash cans near so she showed me that too. So far everyone I’ve encountered was really helpful not normal. haha
I left the hotel asking the desk person if my directions were fairly accurate? He said yes. I got out on the street and man it was busy. Robin did so well though it’s why I love her. We walked at are normal pace. It was 64 which in Louisville all week it’s been in the 90’s so I bet it felt really good to her. I just love that feeling of passing people or feeling her somewhat hold up for someone cutting us off, or maybe someone slower. I wish you all could feel that feeling once. Granted I don’t really wish that, because you’d have to be blind but it really is an amazing feeling. The entrance was hard to find exactly or at least know if I was on track. I heard people going off to my right so I did the same. I found a ball park worker thankfully, and asked him for assistance to my seat. he radioed someone, and so I waited. A lady named Monica came and showed me to my seat. She gave me her cell number and said if I needed anything I could text her which blew me away. I’ve gone to several bakl parks, and no one has ever done that. Basically usually once they get you to your seat you have to either ask a fan to give you some directions or find an usher. I sat down and just listened to the ball park. It’s my favorite time because I try to hear as much as I can.
About the third inning I wanted a hotdog, but wasn’t going to bother Monica, so I stood up and an usher quickly approached me. It was a little weird, but I welcomed it, because honestly I would rather have people be to helpful rather than act as if I didn’t exist. I have to worry about so many things if someone makes it a bit easier than fine by me like Mel said I have nothing to prove to anyone. I followed the usher and got a hotdog it was nothing that stood out, but I do enjoy a great ball park hotdog.
The game was amazing. I’ve been lucky to see great players, but I really enjoyed watching Adam, and Jose. The Jays had a no hitter going in to the 8th which was cool I was excited because I was witnessing history. It wasn’t meant to be though and the Orioles broke it up in the 8th. It ended up being 5-4 and a really good game. I loved the atmosphere of the park. I engaged with a few fans around me, but mainly tonight I kept to myself. When I stood up to get my hotdog some people said oh theres a dog here? It always makes me feel good when someone didn’t know Robin was even there.
Leaving I didn’t have to call Monica she came back and assisted me out. Once I got back on the sidewalk I made my way to a sports bar, and got a burger. It was kind of loud in there, so I didn’t stay long. I made my way back to the hotel, and got in to my room. I took Robin off harness, and we played for a bit. they had these long pillows I think you put them under your butt or legs but anyway I took them and robin would try to jump on it while I swung it. She had fun with it I don’t know what made me even do that.
Day one was successful so tomorrow I am going to the aquarium, ball game, and then a brewery. I’m excited, and I will write part two and hopefully give you an understanding what it’s like traveling. I’ve not done well with this, because things I do naturally now I don’t think is important to say. I didn’t bring a jacket which may have been a mistake. It’s crazy how fast your body reacts to heat change. I couldn’t sleep so I woke up at 4 and started writing. Robin is sleeping next to me it’s a king bed, so she got up here and curled up by my legs. So quick update I couldn’t figure out why my texts are not sending I just did because when I got my Sim card from a Canadian provider I have a new phone number in Canada. My American things are not working. I researched Verizon data plan and it was crazy expensive this I have to get a data for around $25.
I will eventually get to a Robin story, but I have to take care of something personal first. Last post I commented about Dave and a discussion we were having in a Facebook post. Imagine my surprise when I found out he blocked me. haha Well that’s okay, so I figured I would just say my peace here.
When I started at college at Ball State in 2004 I had a mobility instructor who would come sit beside me show me a braille map, and then when I’d walk it and get off track would get mad at me. Seeing a braille map can help, but I’ve found for me the best way to learn something is to just walk it. With a cane there are so many variables you just don’t know what you’re going to find when doing it in reality. I fired him, because his lessons weren’t helping me learn the campus. I went out and found another person named Dave who came in we walked the campus twice, and I felt so confident. Along the way we became associates when I worked my first job we needed a mobility instructor he worked when I needed and it all most cost me my job. I stuck by him though, because he got things done. When I was thinking about moving to Detroit to work for the radio station he called me and said you might want to think twice about it with the current state in which Detroit finds itself. I took that in to advisement. Fast forward to last weekend when he commented on a Facebook status saying I was irresponsible and it was dangerous for me to take Robin to a ball game. Which by the way I’ve taken her to more games then I can count. Baseball was supporting me for a point or at least helping. It just floors me that he is going to call me taking my dog to a game irrisponsible. All the things I have heard about him over the years I dismissed and never judged, but seriously? He helps blind people learn how to navigate for a living then posts feel good moments and how it helps him repent something. I’m glad your job helps you sleep better at night Dave, but blind people are people, and it’s amazing to me after all the ones you help you can’t seem to figure out some have lives and aren’t needing you to self loth. Am I a better person because you helped me become a great traveler and helped me to believe in myself yes, but to call me irresponsible for a sighted person stepping on my dog out in the open is a bit ridiculous.
With a cane some days I would just shut down. It took so much concentration to navigate I hated it. Rather than go out and do something I would just stay in my room, because it was easier. Carlos was the first person I met with a dog, and I saw how he was able to navigate so freely and I felt the dog made him better. I do not know if that’s how he’d feel but observing it it’s how I saw it. In college had I just got a dog it wouldn’t have went well. I needed to mature, and get the young things out of me. Like drinking obsessively and passing out in yards mainly. When I got Robin I decided to make that change I’m going to start living more responsibly. I commented last post I’m scared to think about retiring Robin, because if I give her to someone else maybe they’ll let her off leash and not watch her and she’ll get hit by a car. Sighted people especially Pita supporters or as I call them hypocrites would argue a blind person can’t take care of a dog after all how can they spot the blood in there urine? I think Robin and I do just fine, and I am tuned in to her because were constantly with each other. When your blind everyone has these great ideas on how we should live or what we can or can’t do, but in reality your not living the way we are so just stop.
Dave’s suggestions were I should leave Robin at a hotel or a friends. If I had to leave her at a friends overtime I wanted to do something what would be the point of having a dog? I’m not trying to hide from society because I have nothing to hide. I want to go out and let people see a blind person and his dog navigating alone or being successful because that’s how things change and progress. At the Reds game 3 people that sat by us as I was leaving shook my hand and said they enjoyed my commentary on the game. Would they have approached me if I were sighted I don’t know. One guy was a Jehovah witness, and di the religious thing, but what he said didn’t bother me. He said last week every Jehovah witness learned about some blind person. Sorry I kind of blocked him out as he was telling me the story, but what I took from it was everyone was learning about someone blind. In public school my classmates knew me obviously, but its not like we learned about any blind people or what they could do.
On Robins birthday it’s hard to exactly state my feelings on her. Along the way I’ve faced different emotions. I get annoyed when I meet people in the elevator at work and their responses I bet she does a lot for you? Yes I guess she does, but they mean it in a way of I can’t feed myself or something or I couldn’t possibly exist without her. That’s the way I take it anyway. The best quote I found is a guide dog is like the ship and the handler is like the captain. If the ship had no captain it would just float around aimlessly. I’m going to Toronto this weekend, and with Robin I will do better than with out her. She makes it easy for me to travel, and feel sighted for the first time. When I got lost in Phoenix last year that might have been the most scared I’ve been, but I was lost with Robin and that made me feel a bit better. It didn’t help when people didn’t know english kept passing me, but we eventually got on track. The scariest part definitely for me was when I got mugged and when I woke up on the ground and Robins leash wasn’t on my hand. I remember being real frantic wondering where she was. When she came over to me and licked my hand it took the weight off my shoulders. I can lose my phone and wallet, but she isn’t replaceable. I will get another dog eventually and it will be good, but she’s my first and took me through a lot of hurtles in life.
After college being unemployed for a year through break ups where I wasn’t sure how I was going to get over that person. She’s always been there wagging her tail in the morning wanting me to take her out. I do think having her does help people connect with me easier in that it gives people the ability to say something. At the end of the day I have a lot of getting out to do, because most people don’t encounter blind people much. Happy birthday Robin, and thank you for making my life easier and more complete. I’m sure when I have dog number 2 she’ll probably look down and think damn he didn’t let me get away with that. When I first got her I never broke in of the rules as she has gotten older I’ve relaxed a little maybe at times to much. haha I think it’s like being a parent you have to find that balance and figure out what’s right and wrong.
This vacation thing has really been tough on me. I figured out what I’m doing, but to get there was a real trip in itself. I talked about this a bit on my radio show yes you read that right I did a radio show again on Saturday. I had my friend James who used to drive me for my other gigs back in the day drive me. The first thing he says to me when he pulls up early in the morning is you sound full of energy again. The broadcasting thing drains me; because I really have a hard time with saying okay I need to step back from this. The show went well in fact really well. I didn’t feel the time gap of it at all.
This vacation thing I will be honest. I started out wanting to go camping, and I talked to Mel, and she was like are you nuts? Logically to me camping as a blind person doesn’t seem that challenging, but I admit there would be hurtles. She said you don’t have to prove anything to the people that love you so why are you taking a risk? I didn’t have an answer for her at the time, but Wednesday and Thursday I came home didn’t eat dinner, and just slept on my couch and bed. A month ago I was dating this girl on the low. She started dating this guy and I was out. I ran in to her one night at the Tin Roof. I hate that place by the way at least the one in Louisville to small, and to loud. Anyway she asked me to sit with her and her boyfriend who wasn’t weird at all insert sarcasm. This guy was like a woodsy guy vary masculine put that on the fact I was already going through this issue with not driving it meant depression for me. I decided that I would just go do this camping idea as a way to prove to myself that hey I can do it. After I started talking about it publically my mind changed. My friend Steve called me up asking me why I want to live in the 1800’s when I don’t have too. That was a great question. If I had kids or maybe a sweaty romantic getaway maybe camping would be alright, but otherwise I chose another idea. I’ve always wanted to leave the United States just to travel somewhere different. I never have. In Toronto they have a hotel attached to the ballpark. Now I ask you that just has my name written all over it I mean how can we get any more convenient for blind people? I’m looking in to taking a bus out to Niagara Falls state park we’ll see if that happens, but I will be going to 3 Jay’s games.
With that I had to ask could I take Robin. It’s her birthday, so if she can’t go I can’t go. That’s how I roll she’s got to come with me on her birthday. I called her school, and spoke with a lady who said Canada is fine with service animals, so it’s decided. Stay tuned for updates from Canada. Also as far as proving things to people who don’t matter Mel is right. At the end of the day to some people I could swim across the Pacific, and I’d still be helpless or blind. I think if you don’t believe in you it’s hard for someone else to. I could look at my failed relationships and let it consume me with thoughts I don’t deserve any better or you can look at it and correct things and move on. If you don’t believe that you do you never will.
Kevin and I met during a radio wish contest. He wrote the station I was working part time for, and said his dream was to go to a Kentucky game, but he was in a wheelchair, and was going through rounds of dealing with cancer. I took the assignment and ran with it taking him to the game. The company I worked for paid for the travel and the seats. When I met him he was doing well he was confined to a wheelchair recently because of his body being weak from the treatments, but as I got to know him I realized how strong he really was.
For years secretly especially in my teens I dealt with survivors guilt. I used to think to myself I somehow made it through and beat the odds, but why? I know it’s kind of weird, but when I would get depressed those things would come out. It was a luxury getting to know Kevin, and looking back he’s had an influence on how I view things now.
The last time we spoke he knew things were getting bad. We just talked about sports, and then he said to me “you’ve grown in the 2 years I’ve known you, and I hope you continue to do so.” Most people look at me and feel sorrow, but with you didn’t see that you just treated me for me and didn’t have any expectations. If I was having a bad day you dealt with it and we moved on. I couldn’t quote all of that, but it was close. His final thing to me was I know Mat Jones helped, but I’m glad you’re on the Kentucky wagon now. I’ll never forget when I called him explaining that I was becoming a Kentucky fan. After the Wisconsin game we didn’t call or text each other for two weeks. We had to heal. We never mentioned it actually.
My favorite memory was one day Kevin and I were talking about Valentine’s Day. He told me it had been a few years since having a date, and with him in a wheelchair and with cancer he just never felt up to try to date. I told him we should go to Yum for the game. He was nervous, because at this point he was really weak, and he said well you’re going to have to help me more than normal is that okay? I told him its fine, and we’ll make it work. The game was a blow out, but we just sat talking about how the team looked, and music. He was at his weakest, but I made him laugh, and took him to a normal place. We’d talk about the song Elephant by Jason Isbell which is probably in both of are opinions the greatest song depicting cancer ever.
I’m sad today, because I lost a great friend. However he lived a great life impacting everyone he met. Today there are people here from several states some doctors and nurses that spent a lot of time with him the past several months. He would tell me I want you to speak at my funeral you’d be great at it. I’ll leave you with two remaining thoughts one quote one observation. “I need people who look at adversity as a challenge and failure as a learning opportunity.” That is from coach Cal. Kevin was always a person I could call after a failure, and we could laugh. I remember calling him after a recent bad first date. He told me it’s hard for people to understand something different. I I went to being a normal kid to being in a wheelchair, and that was hard. Things that I used to do have become challenging and now at times it seems all most impossible. All we can do is do the best we can that’s all god asks of us. I find that statement to be peaceful and humbling. Please say a prayer with me. God has a new angel today.
Robin’s birthday is coming up Next Thursday she’s turning 9. I really haven’t had the conversation with myself at this point about what I’ll do with her when she retires. I talked to my mom, and she was like it’s unfair to her if you get another dog and she should come live with me. That might work, but she would be 5 hours away, and do you know how many dogs we lost when we were kids? I think they would be careful with her, but Robin is like my kid, and if she got hit by a car I would just not be okay. I can handle her getting old and dying, or having to put her to sleep that’s the way she should go not by running out in a road. I just know how it is, and I don’t really want to have that conversation yet. We were in Cincinnati Robin was amazing as usual.
When I first got her I was lost without my cane now it’s the opposite. She’s been with me for 5 moves form graduating college to moving to Louisville. From being jobless to flying in to Detroit on weekends to do games for the Tigers. My whole 20’s pretty much she’s been here. For you guys I it’s hard to equal it to anything. She’s been with me at tons of ball games, and everything. My favorite moments Ethan and Whits wedding, buying my house, and just everything else.
Over the weekend a guy I do care about Dave said I shouldn’t bring her to games because of crowds and etc.. I differ on this, because I got a dog to make traveling easier. I don’t take her to bars, and having her cuts down on my going to bars because I feel that’s not fair to her. As far as going to games and such I think she’s built for that. A guide dog is an extension of me so to speak. She doesn’t know how to get me to Best Buy at the end of the day I have to know where I am going, but man she can get me to that door a lot easier than I can, and helps me look more normal. I just feel less stress with the dog than with the cane. It’s the little things to like after I almost was broken in to in Muncie if I’d wake up in the middle of the night panicked Robin would come sit by my bed or couch until I realized I didn’t hear anything. I’ll have the retirement speech with someone who won’t be objective, but I just can’t have it now.
After 9 months of complaining and keeping at my mortgage company they finally made their website accessible. I want to thank Jerry and Jennifer for helping out and doing what was necessary. It made my day Saturday to log on without jumping hoops and go over my mortgage and tax statements. They added an audio captcha which was nice. Thank you again.
My final thing is this camping trip I broke earlier on Facebook. Good god I should have learned my lesson by now about saying things. I did bring it up for a reason I was nervous about one part of the trip I working on fixing. Here is the thing I’ve gone to NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Kansas City, and a few other places on a Occasion and work. All of those things have one thing in common they’re the city. While I love the city being blind a lot of times those are my options. I want to go somewhere isolated away from people. I just think it would be different. Plus I want to try camping on my own blind. I don’t really know anyone who has tried this, and I think I could do fine. Pilot Neil taught me how to clean a fish, and so I think I’ll do fine. If not I’ll never do it again. I’ll try anything once, and if I fail then I fail, but at least I tried.
Here’s my problem though. Getting to the country is difficult. I decided to use the internet, because I didn’t want anyone to know where I was unless they needed to know. I was going to then meet my friend John on Saturday at the Braves game. I sent John a text message after people made me reconsider Craigslist idea on Facebook. Now John says to me your coming in to Atlanta on Thursday? Great we can do some radio together and I’ll take you out there drop you off and then come get you. I just am wanting to go on vacation not do any radio. So I tell him this, and he’s like come on you used to do Falcons pregame you can do this. It’s not that I can’t I just want to keep to myself for a change, and just type my feelings out in a blog. I’ve known John forever, so I’m thinking about going on again. The thing that really made me just stop all together last year was when the guy from Lexington just couldn’t get that I could bring something to a sports cast being blind. After all I’ve done and what my resume had it just blew me away. I know I shouldn’t stop because of that, but I kind of lost respect to the industry after that.
I wanted to mention real quick the tripple crown of horse racing. I am so happy for Victor actually. A fact he drove bus for 2 years I believe to raise money to become a Jokey. Someone that came from little to be at the top of his game with a lot of hard work. I admirer his hard work, and he deserved it.
Don’t worry I haven’t forgot about you guys on the blog. Sorry I’ve been busy well that’s kind of a lie more like lazy at night. I’ve been going home falling asleep at like 7 then waking up about 11, and then I can’t sleep for a few hours. I watched American Sniper last night, and liked it. I also saw Tayler Swift on Tuesday for the first time and of course I loved that. I was a little out of my element, because I’m pretty sure I may have been the oldest single person there, but I just shook it off. A girl behind me kept screaming the entire time like this awful high pitch shrill I think I might just be getting to old for that kind of stuff.
I started a video blog on my Facebook which I’m having mixed emotions about. On one hand I love it because I’m broadcasting again, but on the other hand I’m broadcasting again. With writing I can make a point and really bring you in when your broadcasting it’s harder to do that. I had some critics that thought I was angry. Maybe I was. I don’t think I’m angry about things just more frustrated. I sent the video to my friends Denny and Opie 2 people who’ve been around radio for a long time asking them if I was over thinking the response. Denny said being blind himself he could see where I was coming from, but someone who isn’t familiar which is like 99% of the world may not understand. Opie just said I’ve made progress from my first to second, and he was glad to see I was getting back in to broadcasting of any kind real helpful Opie thanks. Hahaha
I would never change anything about myself and I don’t really think about not being able to see. It’s more in moments like I’ve stated here before like a wedding day or kids being born etc… Being blind is all I’ve ever known, so if they said to me tomorrow we could do something that brings back light perception do you want to do it? I don’t think I would. The cancer I had destroyed so much it would be an invasive surgery, and as far as any restoring sight at this point they have nothing significant. For those who have some and it restores a bit they are really just grasping on to what they can get. That might sound mean but truthful. I’d have to learn everything over, because I know something by touch but not by sight if that makes since.
In college Ethan, Whitney, and I had a conversation about how I don’t belong with one group of people that I can get along with all most anyone. That’s pretty true still today. I like it because it makes things interesting, but sometimes keeps you from truly belonging anywhere. I was talking with a football player once from Ball State and he told me Sweetness that was my nickname back then. Anyway he said you’re the first blind person I’ve met. I’m 22 and that trips me out. I think we have to remember at times and it can be hard that I might be the only blind person you’ve seen or are friends with. In the video cast I talked about someone calling me amazing, and I was referring to a trip I made to Walmart on Tuesday to pick up some allergy medication. I went to the customer service desk and waited on assistance like normal. When the lady came up to assist me to pick up a few items I needed this lady comes up and says I wanted to tell you that you amaze me. I didn’t really know how to respond. I said thank you. In my mind I was thinking I’m just shopping for allergy medication I is not doing anything great. Then later on after complaining about it on the video cast I thought to myself I don’t know what’s going on in that woman’s mind. Maybe she was losing sight, or a family member was. People’s perceptions especially in the older peoples realm is so convoluted. I get it though. Anyway maybe I was some inspiration to her so maybe I shouldn’t let every little thing bother me, and see things from other sides I try to, but when you’re getting allergy medication I guess the last thing I expect is to be told I’m amazing.
Mel was telling me today her and her husband were talking about my dating life and the crazy things that have happened. I think what frustrates me the most is that people look at you and go okay this is what you can’t do, but they don’t stop and think what can you do for me? True I’m not going to be the guys that you’ll watch run a NASCAR race, but that doesn’t mean I can’t provide something else for you. I think as humans were taught to find a specific set of traits. For men they want that supermodel type or a woman who does “women” things. I’ve talked to men who are threatened when a woman is the bread winner, and might not cook for example. I’ve talked about how not being able to drive can bug me I think because it’s often associated with me anyway as the man thing to do. I think that’s what makes it hard at times. Even being somewhat successful it hasn’t really helped it just brings crazier people knocking. What I mean by crazy is not someone you want to have a family with.
I think that’s why I wouldn’t want to see honestly. I think if I could just see and see the change in how people view me would irritate me so much I would withdraw and be depressed. It sucks to be looked over or not taken serious for something just because I’m blind now, but I can be happy at the end of the day. Most people have to get tattoos or something else to stand out I can just be me. I don’t know how to fix the problem I just think it should be addressed, and if I don’t talk and yell about it who will? I’m not angry I just want to see some change in perception.
Finally tonight my facebook friends will be treated to something special. I’ve never videoed this before, but tonight I will put a demonstration of me using echo location up. I wish I could put it here, but I’d have to pay $100 for that. I love you, but not that much. Maybe somehow I can link to it, because I’m excited to show how it works to people. I’ve never demonstrated it at all. Basically echo location is where you click your tongue against the top of your mouth making a clicking sound. With that sound you can hear it bounce off of things to gage things. For example I can tell how tall a ceiling is, or how much space I have between cars when I’m walking. When I used to live at my last apt and ones before that I’d never carry my cane outside I would just use echolocation and navigate. It works really well for me, and scientists are just now starting to research it. I saw a study in the Canadian press where they are studying blind people’s brains that use it I would do it if they pay. Look for that video tonight.