This post is a continuation to the last post in ways, but may be a bit more rational will see. I want to say RIP Mr. Rekey Frank. I should have said that in my last post. I got worked up at the end. I just think the could be me. I’ve been with people who’ve ran a light it happens, but that article was written with no regard to Mr. Frank. He was a blind man who thanks to that article I know was blind for 20 years. That’s all. I know the other guy had a job lol. Let me tell you something about penalties and having to follow the law.
For a year after college it was a struggle for me. I couldn’t find a job I got hired by Apple than fired because there system for answering tech support was not accessible. In this time I made $638.00 per month from the government on SSI. After a year I found a job. I had a meeting with someone at SSI and they told me about a blind work program. If you made a certain amount you could keep SSI because they would take off travel and work expenses. I did exactly what they told me, but when I moved to Louisville to work at Humana I received a letter from Social Security. It said I owed $1800.00 and it had to be repaid. I had no way to fight this and this would have been a year after stopping anything from SSI. Now I have student loans and I’m having to pay $75.00 to Social Sucurity every month. Basically that hour I spent learning about the blind work program cost me money lol. I paid the fine back, and it was a struggle for the first year I lived here. Again though I didn’t kill anyone I was just given money by the government. I had no forgiveness rule this story just baffles me. Also student loans aren’t forgivable debt yet killing someone where you have a fine is forgivable if you do the community service?
One thing if I could go back in time and tell myself in high school is to relax. Looking back I do wish I had attended the blind school for at least one year. I’d like to have gone my 9th or 10th grade year just to be around people like myself experiencing puberty. That was hard in public school being the only one blind. Looking back at it I’ve learned so much. When I went to Bal State I think that was the biggest growth for me. I met Carlos who was blind and he taught me the bus system something I never had access to where I grew up. I met my first blind female that I was around for more than a week at a summer camp. I think that experience would have been nice to have during high school when all those changes are happening. Sighted kids steel a dirty mag or video and figure things out lol it’s a little different being blind. I think the pressures of high school also do you want to be the person dating the odd kid with no vision? Reading this that sounds like I am being hard on myself but kids don’t want to do something others might find not normal. I also think as a person I missed some of the nonverbal communication that if I had it may have changed things also.
Abby and I were watching something where they referenced eye contact and how nice it was just looking at someone’s eyes. Abby says that eye contact must be some amazing thing? It got me thinking about a paper I had written in college 90% of communication is done with eye sight. I know in college I missed some opportunities with dating, because I think I didn’t interpret something correctly. My first girlfriend in college when we broke up she called me drunk and asked if she had a bad personality since I broke up with her? In her mind it couldn’t just be that we didn’t have the right chemistry it had to be she had a bad personality.
Whenever we go out with friends you know they look around and watch people. It’s amazing how much people can observe that I miss. Abby’s mom for example gets annoyed that I look at my phone when were out eating. I don’t really get it, because I am mainly looking at a sports score or news article. Yet during the same conversation she may bring up the score of a game because they have it on a television nearby. I’m not just picking on her it’s came up a lot over the years, but I don’t know how it’s fair for you to glance around and see things yet I can’t listen to my phone and hear some updates? I was going to say maybe because when seeing you can stil listen, but sighted folks get distracted and don’t always hear you.
It’s 4:21 AM I have a CPAP which is helping me sleep, but now I’m just left with the blind staying asleep issue. I no longer stop breathing during my sleep scaring Abby, but not I am refreshed at 3:30 ready to get my day started. That not seeing light does suck to keep your body in rhythm.
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.
In high school I had a friend named Brandon. We became really close, and at times I would spend more time at his place than mine. His family loved me, and they pretty much adopted me. When Robin got sick I contacted Dan to say hi. Dan is Brandon’s dad. I got a little home sick for the first time in a while. I haven’t seen Dan or Brandon since 2011 right before I moved here. With my career I’ve been flying and traveling everywhere but home. My grandpa’s sick as well, so I really hate the fact I can’t just get home that easily. Being blind I love the transportation I have here in Louisville, because I have an airport and bus station. When I lived at home I had to depend on my parents or brother and sister to take me anywhere. After I left high school I became much more independent. That’s probably why I struggle with it so much, is because I’ve not always had it. The country is a completely different experience. I love the country and would choose it over the city, but transportation is nonexistent, so I will never get that opportunity.
Back to my story though. I remember one comment Dan made to me about the fifth time I spent the night. He said when Brandon told me you were coming over I wasn’t Shure if the house had the right handicap accessibility. I asked him what he meant and he said we don’t have any ramps or anything. I found that odd, but at the same time they’ve never met anyone blind. He said you get around here better than me. As time grew we became closer and closer. Brandon and I would play videogames in the basement, and watch a lot of movies. I really felt part of their family, and even when I call now I just enjoy hearing how they’re doing. During my year without work I’d call Dan and he would tell me that someone will give me a chance just keep trying. It kind of lifted me up when I kept hearing no from employers.
Brandon and I would play videogames a lot as I mentioned earlier. I remember the first time I beat him in football he shut off the game before I got the official win. We were pretty even when it came to playing all though he probably won more. We would play baseball a lot as well. They had a basketball hoop in there drive way so on nice days we’d play basketball.
His sister Brittany was a little younger than us, but Dan always thought it would be great if we dated. One day we went to a play and we decided to play a joke on him. We came home and we told him we were dating. He was so happy. We let him believe that for about 2 weeks, and finally we told him the truth. He still kids me about it today. Brandon stayed pretty far away from that one.
I’m hoping to go home in June or July for a weekend and say hi. Unfortunately to see Brandon I would have to go to Wisconsin, so that is out of the picture. He has a child now, and I hope to meet him one day. We text, but we both stay way to busy. I know I’m a lot different of a person than I was back then, because I can get out and do things on my own. Having to depend on people for rides, or just not having the confidence to go somewhere alone has changed the most. Anyway I thought it was long overdue to write a peace about them. I love them all, and I’m glad they invited me in so easily to their family.