Bored And Determined

Gill is back to talk about the time she snapped her ankle and had to figure out how to drive a wheelchair whilst not being able to see. I sometimes wonder how well I would do at something like that, but I don’t want to have to wreck an ankle any further to find out.

It has been said that you don’t want to leave people to their own devices or that boredom can be dangerous. I look at boredom as a time when my mind is at its sharpest and I come up with my best ideas.

Wheels Of Boredom

On June 23rd, 2016, I had to give up some of my independence thanks to a freak accident. I broke my ankle, which meant I needed a lot of help. I had to wear an air cast that looked a bit like a ski boot. It wasn’t easy to deal with, and as a result I had to ask for assistance with things I had thought little of prior to that day. People had to actually come help me remove the boot and stocking so I could shower, and then reverse the process when I was done. I also had to do physical therapy, which required someone to remove the boot but not the stocking.

But the biggest change was having to spend the majority of that summer in a wheelchair. Needless to say I couldn’t go far, which lead to some boredom at times.

But Gillie plus boredom can sometimes lead to awesome.

I lived in the not-so-great wide yonder of suburbia at the time, and with few options that didn’t require some kind of accessible vehicle or the same amount of planning as a royal wedding, I decided to teach myself to roll down the streets to the local strip mall.

Figuring It Out

Thankfully I lived in an accessible home, so my first step required simply rolling up to the door at a good speed so I could go over the lip to the outside. Next I would roll on down my driveway and then use the accessible section of sidewalk until I had to maneuver to a hillier section. To avoid going out of control, I would use my uninjured foot as a slowing mechanism. Closer to the strip mall there was a rather angry incline that took a lot of strength, and sometimes even help. When finished at the strip mall I would either have the shop assistant put the bag with my purchases on the back of my chair or set it on my lap. Then my homeward adventure down the angry hill would begin once more.

Angels Around Me

During this experience I lived six weeks in the life of a wheelchair user, which meant having to actually think about stuff I’d only heard from people who were wheelchair users E.G. considerations of doors, ramps, and smooth versus bumpy ground. I also learned that there were people who didn’t mind helping in a pinch. Mr. Patel, a convenience store owner, went out of his way and out from behind the counter to help me in through the narrow door. There was also an Indian restaurant in my old neighborhood where the staff would bring my food out to me on the sidewalk.

Reactions

My mom was a little upset with me not asking for more help, but my sister was rather proud that I took the initiative to figure something like this out.

Since Then

I was eventually allowed to walk again, and regained my ability to dance around six months after my accident. I do get occasional pain, but it’s not overly bad. Most days it feels like I never injured it.

Three Percent Of The Time

Since she spent some time the other day talking about some of her experiences with the public as a blind person, Gill is back to tell you how much she can actually see. But contrary to what she says below, Carin does have some usable vision. It’s helpful enough that she’s able to do things such as sort laundry or mistake the occasional fat person for a garbage can.

Here’s another opportunity to get to know your friend Ms. Gillie. I am, like Steve and Carin, visually impaired. Unlike them, however, I do have some usable eyesight. I have a condition called Axenfeld Syndrome, which means that while I was in my mother’s womb something went wrong with both my eyes. My left eye is rather weirdly shaped, and my right eye basically didn’t form. I also have Nystagmus, which has rendered me with an inability to focus my good eye for any longer than a second or two.

What Do I See?

Well, here’s where the situation turns on its head. I can read the numbers on a digital clock or microwave, however when I was first learning to read I learned braille. I see better on cloudy days, and see buildings and large objects from further away than I can people. I can see colors and shapes, and can recognize people’s expressions if I’m close enough.

How Do I Feel?

It is what it is, we all have something that’s a royal pain in the backside. Sometimes I’ll even forget for a second or two and nearly leave my cane behind.

Two Meals In One

You enjoy this wee bit of strangeness from Gill while I make lunch, get back to catching up and continue mildly disliking technology. As the tag says, computers are great when they work.

Do you like breakfast? Do you like lunch? Combining the two often makes brunch, but not always. Have you ever had an interesting food combination? A friend of mine, teaching in Asia, said that recently she tried salad with cereal on it in the school cafeteria. She told me it might have been Frosted Flakes.

Question

What’s the most interesting food combination you’ve ever tried?

Dude. Salad with what “might have been Frosted Flakes” on it? I bet that “might have” been gross. Hard, hard pass. Not to mention that if this is me, unless I’ve just come from being stranded in a desert or lost at sea and this was the first time in a long time that food had not been scarce, I’m making good and goddamn sure that those really are Frosted Flakes. There’s no “might” about it.

If This Isn’t Where The Term Criminal Court Came From, It Maybe Should Have Been

I’d have to go back and check to be absolutely sure, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that this, by far, is the oldest Master Criminals story we’ve ever featured here. It dates all the way back to 1725 and involves two robbers taking each other to court for fraud after their partnership went south.

How the case even ended up in court at all is unclear, although one account claims that it was, in fact, Williams who made the first move: After a quarrel over the value of a gold watch they had acquired in a recent robbery, Williams sued Everet for £200. When Everet failed to show up to court (perhaps understandably, given the true nature of their business, although Everet would claim he was in prison), the action against him went undefended, and Williams won not only the case but Everet’s share of the spoils as well. In response, Everet—presumably aggrieved that Williams had won the case—then raised his own case against Williams. He took the unusual step of hiring a pair of solicitors, William Wreathock and William White, to represent him. Wreathock and White, in turn, hired legal counsel, a barrister by the name of Jonathan Collins, who drew up an official complaint and took the highwaymen’s case to the Court of Exchequer.

The bill Collins compiled—which requested that Williams account for the value of the goods in question, and repay any money owed to the plaintiff—is a masterclass in legalese. At no point are the criminal aspects of Everet and Williams’s business alluded to, and instead Collins merely wrote that:
“… pursuant to the said agreement, [Everet] and the said Joseph Williams went on and proceeded jointly in the said dealing with great success on Hounslow Heath, where they dealt with a gentleman for a gold watch … [Williams informed Everet that] Finchley was a good and convenient place to deal in, and so they dealt there with several gentlemen or divers watches, rings, swords, canes, hats, cloaks, horses, bridles and other things to the value of £200 and upwards.”

Yes, lawyers were already shifty in the early 18th century. Thankfully that tendency had not yet spread to judges, and the one presiding over this case was not having any of it. He not only dismissed it, but he also ordered that lawyers Wreathock and White be arrested and charged with contempt, and that barrister Collins pay every cent of the costs associated with the case from his own pocket.

As for Everet and Williams, they both wound up arrested and hanged a few years later, an outcome aided in no small part by police knowing what they did and where they did it thanks to the lawsuit.

And because some folks never learn or because leopards don’t change their spots or because whatever expression you want to use, William Wreathock wasn’t done getting himself into trouble. Five years after this case finished up, he himself was convicted of robbery and run out of town, or “sentenced to transportation” as I was surprised to learn that they called it back then.

Ordinary Heroes

Gill is back to remember some tough times and thank the people who helped her through them.

You’ve probably heard that “local heroes` segment on your local news report, the one that talks about the paralyzed drunk driving victim that goes around to schools around prom, or the local mother who gives Bible studies and a safe place for the neighborhood kids to come and hang out. I’d like to take a second to share with you one of my heroes. She maybe didn’t know it at the time, but her words saved my life.

How It Began

Like I told you in a blog about mental illness, I am bipolar and was not diagnosed until my mid twenties. I did show the signs (extreme moods, anxiety and depression) as early as my mid teens, but I along with many others did not recognize the seriousness of the issue until I was seventeen.

No Way Out

In 1994, I was fifteen, struggling in school, and bullied. One Friday evening in November, fed up with being called things like “retard,” I decided the only way to deal with the issue was to locate the defective section of my heart, pierce it with one of my dad’s steak knives and hope for a quick and painless demise. At the moment the knife was about to stab my chest, my then 13-year-old sister walked in, forced me to put it down, and told on me.

Words And Lifelines

In 1997 I was in a relatively mild but still traumatic bus crash. On that January afternoon the school bus I was riding in slid off the road and hit a snowbank. Although I wasn’t hurt physically, psychologically everything went swirly. Within six weeks my life had virtually fallen apart. I had lost interest in skiing and track, not to mention my grades had slid considerably. Adding insult to injury was the prospect of another year of “slow learning classes”. Again the abyss loomed with out any solution, or so I thought. I wrote my self-harming plans in a journal for 11th grade English class. At the end of the period the teacher pulled me to the side asking “is this how you really feel?” I admitted that I saw no other way out, and that getting some help might not be the worst idea.

Where Am I, Where Are You?

It’s been 20 years since I admitted needing help, and I am doing quite well. Medication, supportive friends, faith, and understanding have guided me. I do still have bad days, but the medicine, faith, and supports all around help considerably. I would also like to take a moment to thank the teacher who saved my life. Mrs. Hood, if you’re out there, thank you for helping me find my way out of the abyss, and getting me the help I needed all those years ago.

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.

Question

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

I Have Loose Lips, Doo Doo Doo Doo…

Ever since Dave left CJOY, we haven’t had the desire to listen to it in the mornings anymore. I’m sure the guy who replaced him is trying his level best, but he’s just not Dave and it shows. So, we started listening to CKWR, and it’s kind of fun because they have so much more freedom. I have heard some really wacky stuff in the mornings, some of which I’ve never heard before, and it gets the day started nicely.

Among the songs I’ve never heard before is this one by Alfie Zappacosta called “Start Again”. We have previously had the poor bus stranger, now we have the poor long-time friend.

Here, have some lyrics.

I don’t believe it, how have you been it’s been a long time
Nice to see you again
What you been up to, you look well to me
Come down to my place
I’ll pull out some cheer and we’ll talk again. it’s nice to talk again
My brother, he was doing o.k. he worked in plastics
Made a good wage
Too much pressure to be faced everyday and so his problems
Got carried away
And he gets to the booze once too often
Don’t know why he wants to get so high.
He stays up, while things go down
In good time he’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
I can’t seem to stop him he just starts again
He just starts again
Did i tell you, bout the love of my life
You know she left me, it cut like a knife
Another story, so you can see
Though we’re apart now, she’s still dear to me
Can there still be respect for one another
And can we still sleep together once in a while
We stay up, while things go down
In good time we’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
It seems when we’re broken
We just start again
We just start again
It’s nice to talk again
As we start again

Wow! Can you imagine getting that onslaught? “Hey! Nice to see ya! You look good. Let’s go have a drink! Oh by the way, speaking of drinks, my brother drinks too much and he’s cracking under the pressure, but everything will work out somehow. Oh, and my wife left me. But I still want to sleep with her. La la la la la. So nice to catch up!”

I wonder if this poor long-lost acquaintance wrote an answer song. Hopefully their life hasn’t been nearly so turbulent.

I Will Go…Nowhere Near This Ever Again!

I was in a cab, and this atrocity assaulted my ears.

Uuuuuuuuuug!

I could end this post right here, because that is a horrible version of a beautiful song, but there is so much more I have to say.

First, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the original.

I’m not usually a fan of opera-like stuff, but this song has a very special place in my heart that starts with neighbour Cam who passed away nearly 13 years ago. Before he died, he lent me the Andrea Bocelli Romanza album, simply saying he liked it. I listened to it, and though it wasn’t my style, I gave it a chance, and some songs did sort of crawl into my head. You know how I feel about merrily singing foreign songs without knowing what they mean, so I read translations of the lyrics. From what I understand, although Con Te Partirò means “I will go with you” if taken literally, its true meaning is something like “We have to part ways, but I will be with you in spirit.” When they translated the title, they changed it to “Time to say goodbye.”

When my neighbour passed away, this song was played at his funeral, and I learned that he would listen to that whole album while he was getting radiation treatments, and he said it sounded like he was being sung to by angels. I went out and bought the album, and sometimes I listen to it and think of him. Do you see why this version made me want to scream?

I understand that anybody can cover a song any way they like, and some covers are really cool. This, to me wasn’t an example of cool. Not only did it sound cheap, but the words came straight out of opposite land. If you don’t believe me, read the translation of Bocelli’s version.

When I’m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.
Time to say goodbye
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer.
It’s time to say goodbye…
When you are far away
I dream on the horizon
And words fail,
and, Yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me,
with me, with me, with me.
Time to say goodbye
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you,
I with you.

Now, here are the butchered lyrics that were set to that techno garbage that I heard:

Stranded alone on a sea of emotion
You found me
Your love was a light
In the darkness that shone
So profoundly
Say that you’ll stay
Do not be afraid, afraid
You, you’re my breath
The air I breathe
You are my imagination
Su le finesse
Song of my heart
Secrets I’m not afraid to whisper

Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me
Wherever you are
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together

Stranded alone on a sea of emotion
You found me
It’s you who first found me
Come here, come here
Put your arms around me,
Come here
It’s you who surrounds me
Come here, come here
Come here
Come here
You, you’re my breath
The air I breathe
You are my imagination
Su le finesse
Song of my heart
Secrets I’m not afraid to whisper

I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me
Wherever you are
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together

Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me,
Wherever you are
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
In my…
Heart!

Um, barf! One is saying they can’t be with someone anymore and they may never see them again and the other is just being all “smoochy smoochy I’ll follow you like a loyal puppy.” Barf!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, in some places, they channelled their inner Ken Lee, farted in some ducks, and just made up words. I am pretty sure there is no reference to “say that you’ll stay” in the English translation of the Italian, but the Italian lyrics sure kind of sound like that. also, all the “come here”‘s to sub in for con me, which means “with me”, annoyed the living hell out of me.

Am I the only one who cares? Have I become an old woman who is out of touch? Does this bother anyone else? Or should I lighten up?