>Talk About Your Back-Handed Compliment!

>I’ve been told in the past that I’m so young and pretty, what a waste that I’m blind, but I heard a close second tonight.

I went out to this weird sing-along thingy that was happening at a restaurant in Guelph. I thought, as I was going, how is this going to work? We’re at a restaurant, so we feel incline to buy things to eat and drink. But we’re singing! Do you chow down in the songs you don’t know well?

The trick is to arrive early, eat, and then sing. We arrived early, but didn’t get served until the singing was starting.

Anyway, the reason for this long and winding ramble was I was going there with a friend I met through the French meetup group. She was meeting some other friends there who I didn’t know. One of them, at the end of the night, whipped this gem out on me. “Um, er, I didn’t know you were sight-impaired. I would never have known, you’re so beautiful!”

As much as I found it flattering to be called beautiful, the sentence rattled around my head like a pinball.

Hmmm. So, blind people are ugly? We’re all disgusting to look upon? Did the sight of our beastly faces cause our eyes to lose the will to live? Or do we all rock violently, poking our eyes deeper and deeper into their sockets? Or, are we missing the eyes in the sockets and we hadn’t heard of prosthetic eyes yet? What exactly does this woman think the average blind person looks like?

As the ricocheting continued, she seemed to be trying to assess just how blind I was. She could not grasp that I did, in fact, not see any better in the day than at night. “What do you see right now?” she asked me. “A blob in the general area where your face should be. I only know it’s your face, because words are coming out of it.” This didn’t seem to sit very well with her, but I figured I had to get as basic as possible to make her understand blind. She kept insisting that I must see better in the day. No, ma’am, I don’t. It is what it is. Maybe I’ll see a shadow from slightly further away, but it has no greater detail in the day than at night.

Then she reached for Trixie, even though she had been warned not to, and was surprised when I pulled Trixie back to my side. “She looked at me!” she protested. So you’re saying that you, a woman in your fifties, have no more self-control than a 5-year-old lab? I guess that shows in the comment above that started this whole winding path of thought.

It’s funny. Each of those things on their own could be considered an oopsy, an awkward moment, or harmless questions. But when you put them together, they paint a great big picture of ignorance.

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