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.
On Saturday Taylor and I decided to celebrate Valentines a little early. I did that because she hates crowds for one and it just felt like a great weekend to celebrate. I really don’t know why I plan anything anymore, because those plans get aborted but I’ll explain the evening. I got reservations for us at bonefish she showed up at my house and we went out to eat. While she was here she gave me a braille card which I thought was a nice touch. It was actually a birthday card but she said she couldn’t find a braille Valentines so she went with that. I got her some of her favorite candy and some of those Sherry berries. i’ve been listening to Czabe A lot lately and he was advertising them so I took the plunge and oh Jesus are they good.
At dinner we talked a lot, laughed and just had a good time. I was able to open up to her a lot about feelings I haven’t shared with many people. Tomorrow if I feel up to it I’m going to write a post that I hope blind people don’t find offensive but it honestly is a conversation we have to have. I find myself being angry and emotionally different right now I literally go through a whirlwind of emotions weekly. it’s difficult to describe I just wish I could change things that I’ve done that I didn’t do I don’t know. Anyway getting back on point because I don’t want to write 10 pages I want to go to bed. Taylor and I have this relationship where things are so easy for me to communicate. We talk a lot about each other’s faults and strengths and she’s been there for me the last few months when things have been pretty grim. i’ve got a few calls about getting back into writing but I just haven’t really felt like being funny or like it matters. that’s just me being honest.
Anyway it was such a beautiful night that rather than go sit inside Taylor’s very spontaneous kind of like myself so we took a drive and ended up in West Virginia. One thing that’s really starting to bother me as I get older is I tend to get bored with being in one place too long. When I was traveling hard with radio and sports not only was it fun for me being blind I really got to experience new senses. When you wake up in the same place go to sleep in the same place and nothing really changes it’s very dull. what I mean is I can’t really see the sunset or the sunrise some of that real beauty in the world gets lost. When I was a kid when we would travel I would listen to the radio and every city we were and it was different. now Louisville has the same stations as Fort Wayne or Indianapolis feels like Denver if you go by radio. I remember taking a trip during the summer when we drove around Kentucky and I felt sadness for the first time because of what I couldn’t see. i’ve never had depression like that so it was strange. When Taylor and I were driving to West Virginia she described a lot of the scenery which was cool a lot of people don’t take the time I enjoyed that even if some of it was hard for me to understand or picture.
I don’t know if Taylor and I will date because of our past. It’s hard for me to open up myself again for the second time to someone. I’m kind of ashamed but I’ve never had a date or girlfriend on Valentine’s Day when Taylor and I dated a year ago I believe she was my first actual Valentine. I know I should’ve Brian Williams that made it bigger than it actually is. Hahaha this post is been pretty heavy that made me laugh. We have some champagne at the hotel and she actually brought up the fact she was happy to be my only Valentine. Usually in life I’m the fast one I’ve arty one Belmont and we haven’t even ran the Kentucky derby yet. I’m just taking one day at a time but it was a pretty special evening.
Being around Josh tonight reminded me a lot from when I was younger. While driving to the Easter play at Erica’s church she asked him what he wanted to do when he was older? He responded I would like to be an artist. Josh has some vision so being an artist isn’t out of the question, but the road for him to do so will be difficult. I would never want to kill his dream though so I encourage it every chance I get, because that’s one thing that annoyed me the most when I was younger. When I would tell my guidance counselor I wanted to do radio they would suggest things instead like why don’t you be a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the blind? I had my own dreams it definitely did not include doing anything for the blind. Now that I’m older and have worked with blind people in my last job it’s something I wish I would’ve done. However this decision needed to be reached by me not buy some older person at the time telling me what to do.
I know I mentioned this in the last post but seeing Josh I see a lot of fire inside of him. He has a lot of talent and I feel bad that he’s had to struggle so early on, but maybe this experience will make him stronger. Right now or tonight anyway we had Erica drive us to the Easter play which is not normal for me. I’m spoiling him, by not making him use transportation like I normally do. That will stop tomorrow because I want to give him a sense of what he will have to deal with without a car. I’m also going to try and keep a travel log just so you guys can understand the time it takes to do a few things. I’ve got to figure out exactly how to do this but it’s something I would like to share, because while it’s nice not to have a car payment if I could have a car and get to somewhere in five minutes versus an hour and a half damn right I would have a car. I should probably mention also not killing someone or running into a tree or whatever else I would encounter if I had a car and tried to drive it.
Josh is mom mentioned something to me that also hit home today. He has a lot of vision or some vision anyway so I’m surprised this affects him. At times I struggle with something called circadian rhythm. Basically in a nutshell what that is it’s your body clock of when you should and shouldn’t be awake. It is reset usually by sunlight or light in general. For example when you wake up in the morning and you look out and see the sun your body will start to awaken. Mine does not do this. Also while I’m home alone I never use lights were even if I did I can’t look at them and keep myself awake. My body clock sometimes can get so far off that it’s hard to correct leaving me drowsy in the afternoon. I used to think it was depression, but then I read up on the circadian rhythm and I’m 90% sure that’s what it is most of the time. I was asked to do a study in Cincinnati a few years ago but that would’ve required me to collect urine for two weeks with a diary and I just didnt want to try or put myself through that. I read up on some of the side effects for the pill and I’m not too thrilled with them. Yes while my body will be normal my liver will go to hell, but at least I’ll be awake. I want to destroy my liver with more natural causes like beer.
Damn I’m still laughing about that last sentence. Anyway the Easter play was really fun I haven’t been to church in a few months. I believe in God, but sometimes it’s hard for me to fully dive in. When I was born and going through my battle with cancer the preacher at my mom’s church could not find time to visit with them. The view was if a baby had cancer the devil must be possessing it. I’ve done my fair share of long in this world, but I don’t think the devil is possessing me. I think it’s very little that unfortunately my parents church wouldn’t have been more supportive at a time like that for them. It’s something that’s always stuck with me and has bothered me. My friend also donated some canes to a Christian mission to donate two people in Africa. When he called to check and see the demand for canes a guy said they had a great demand but he turned away someone because he wasn’t a Christian. The guy needs a cane in my opinion it shouldn’t matter what he believes, but again I’m no saint. I do like going to church and I like the moral aspect of it. I just don’t see myself being there every Sunday, but then again I’m working on changing myself so who knows. After my grandma died I used to go to church as much as I could with my grandpa. I really saw how it help him cope with the loss and be around a community of people and I thought that was cool. When I go though or have gone I feel like in a strange way people view me as a miracle. I don’t think I can really describe what I mean, but people touch me and pray for me and I just feel so exploited. I’ve had more people pray that I would get my site back that I’m sure God’s tired of hearing it by now. I also had a girlfriend of mine tell me once before we broke up that when I get to heaven I will finally be perfect because i will be able to see. She told me that she would pray for me every night which rub me kind of weird. Truthfully I feel that I’m blind for a reason I don’t know what that is, but does anyone really know why were here? I was able to survive cancer at 11 months old most babies don’t, so maybe that’s why I look past everything else and believe in God.
I know there were some mistakes in this but I dictated it on my iPhone pretty late tonight so hopefully it came out okay. Erica asked me if I would like to go to church with her in the future, I advised her that I would think it over. I did enjoy meeting everybody there tonight and I could probably use a little spiritual guidance but we’ll see. We held hands during the play and I gave Erica a little hand massage. As I was commenting in my last post I love little things like holding hands because it’s a form of nonverbal communication that I can use since eye contact is obviously out.
I have driven a few times in my life. This experience is funny but the worst of them. I was 12 and I was driving my brother’s four wheeler. I guess I thought I knew my yard because I wrote my bicycle around it all the time. My brother was also riding but he went somewhere else and was not where he could see me. So I kept doing what I thought were circles. Well I guess my circle got bigger or maybe they weren’t circles at all. What happened next I couldn’t believe. I’m riding along and all of a sudden this park truck got in my way. The truck belong to my neighbor Brad.
I got off the four wheeler and pushed it away from the truck, and wouldn’t you know about that time my brother came around the corner. What does that little snitch do? He went and told my mom. I remember being so nervous because I didn’t know what would happen. My mom came and got me and apologize to Brad. I’m shaking and crying because I don’t know how much damage I did. Brad just laughed I didn’t even scratch it. The crazy thing is I missed a bush and satellite dish and got his truck. That was my only accident.
One time when I was 15 we went to a goat cart racing track. It was me and my friend Lauren. I know that is not proper English, but I’m tired and I don’t feel like fixing it. This is not a book after all. I also grew up in Indiana so yeah. Anyway we didnot tell the people taking tickets I was blind, because they had a sign that said no bumping the carts. Lauren planned it out perfectly except one thing I’ll get to that in a second. When we got up to get in the cart he told me where to walk so I could do it myself. I did not have a cane just me walking. I get in the cart and the plan was Lauren was going to drive alongside me and give me verbal direction. This however did not work once the light shined green. I thought to myself Joe you have to options. You can sit here, or you can drive. I drove! The next five or 10 minutes was kind of pandemonium. Lauren would come around and give me some guidance as he’s racing bye. Finally at the end I got stuck in the wall. A guy came and push me out and he just says are you blind? My response was actually yes IM. If I hadn’t said anything they still would not have known.