How many of you have noticed “that moment?” You know, the moment when someone realizes that you have a disability and it somehow changes their perception of you (for better or worse).
The “moment” can be at a store when a sales associate greets you from behind and pauses for (what many would deem as an imperceptible) moment and the eyes widen when they see your cane. It could also be when a greeter in a store (lets take Anthropologie in Lenox Mall for example) sees three blind people come in and disappears completely (how could we have seen her run away?). This moment could also come at a restaurant when the waiter comes over only to realize I have been given a Braille menu (which I can’t read) and then is suddenly relieved when I ask for a printed version.
My favorite example of the realization kicking in was a couple of years ago at a popular sci-fi convention here in Atlanta. I was walking at a very brisk pace to get to a panel and was not using my cane “properly” (I was Moses walking with it, using it more like a walking stick than a blind cane) I see what appears to be an open door and head toward it full tilt. The only problem: it wasn’t a door, it was a window. I run into the window at full speed and bounce off; my cane goes flying off to the right (I wasn’t using the wrist strap either) I land firmly on my behind and a few people start laughing, until I got my cane back, then the small crowd who witnessed it went silent for second before asking of I was okay. We went from comedy to tragedy in about 2 seconds flat.
Feel free to share your own moments of realization here. I look forward to hearing them!