Curiously Awkward

Gill returns to talk a little bit about some of the different people that blind folks tend to run into in our travels.

Having limited eyesight has made me become quite used to having to swallow my pride at times and ask for help. Unfortunately, not all help is created equal. Here are a few examples of some of the different types of people I’ve dealt with.

  • The Touch Happy person – This is that person who feels that in order to help me they must touch me at all times. Not ok. If I did that to you you’d call the authorities.
  • The uncertains – These people are often younger, and while they usually have good intentions, they have limited experience with blind people.
  • The Baby Talkers – These people boil my potatoes. I mean you try to have a normal conversation with them and they say something like “I didn’t know you knew that!” in that obnoxious children’s entertainer voice.
  • The Follower – This name is self-explanatory, but for those not in the know it’s someone who literally follows you around, and even though you’re kicking the tasks rear end they still won’t leave you alone.
  • The Forgetter – These are the types I love best. They’re more interested in the “you” than the “blind you” and will treat you and talk to you like you’re sighted. E.G. I was at my church yesterday, when one of the other congregants handed me a bulletin. I remarked “thank you, but I can’t see the writing.” She thought for little more than a second and replied with “I’ve never thought of you that way.”

And since we’re here and it kind of fits the theme, she also sent this along.

Being visually impaired, I’ve dealt with many questions and declarations from people in my lifetime. Little kids with their unfiltered cuteness and curiosity make me smile, but it’s those uneducated adults that have me shaking my head and sometimes getting angry. If you have any kind of disability, you’ve probably been subjected to some of these.

  • Where’s your worker? – Here’s the situation. You’re out doing some fairly average things, and you stop in at your favorite bakery to pick up that Italian herb bread that tastes like all sorts of more. You’re standing in line to place and pay for your order when someone asks, “Where’s your worker?”

    Note from Steve: The best response I’ve heard to this one came from my brother, who simply replied “Where’s yours?” That shut things down right quick.

  • Who sings that? – This is that assumption that all blind people know all things about music. Even my parents sometimes do this to me. #stereotype!
  • Can I pray for you? – As an Evangelical Christian I debated writing this one for fear that some of my fellow Evangelicals would see it. It’s one thing to pray for something, but it’s another to assume that the person is a “very filthy sinner” for having a vision issue or any other type of impairment. My feeling is that God made us a certain way for a reason.
  • You’re very smart for a blind person – This assumes that all blind people also have intellectual disabilities, which is obviously ridiculous.
  • Who dressed you today?- Come on people! I put my socks on one at a time like anyone else, and most of the time they even match!
  • You’re so special! – This is usually followed by a hand or head pat.
  • How do you wipe your butt? – This one boiled my potatoes and made me laugh at the sheer knuckleheadery of the question all at once.


What’s the most embarrassing or degrading question you’ve been asked?

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