The last time I climbed on this soapbox was about the story on public radio about echolocation. Now Radio Lab has a story about a gal seeing with her tongue:

To me both these pieces make us blind folks look like freaks, or at best “interesting specimens”. I get the fact that media does not report on normal people doing normal things, but this makes me worry. If you were an employer, would you hire a blind person to teach, do your taxes, run your nursing home, etc. if these images were all you knew?

Contrast them with my journal of my weekend:

I think fall is my favorite season in Wisconsin. Summer and spring are runners up however. Take this weekend for example:

I went to some friends’ house to help make cider, taking some of my own apples to put in the mix. First the apples go through a bath to sanitize them and someone cuts out any bad parts. Then I got to feed them through the press which was a two stage process. The first stage was grinding and the second stage was pressing. Actually there was a pre-stage which was convincing my friends that I could safely feed apples into a grinder powered by an electric motor! In addition to the cider, pomace (apples minus the liquid) was produced. The pomace will be fed to the friends’ goats so nothing is wasted. Imagine standing outside on a sunny crisp day, joshing with friends, pressing and then drinking cider. The good life indeed!

Saturday was full with grocery shopping with another friend, a nap, and Mass. The first week after I do my monthly shopping is full of wonderful fresh choices, so supper was eggroll, sushi and cukes in cream. In addition to getting to watch several babies in church, my guide dog was rewarded with a chew stick after Mass. She knows the drill so well she comes home from Mass about twice as quickly as she goes to Mass.

On Sunday, there was the usual brunch with another friend who reads the week’s cartoons to me in trade for my cooking brunch. Some must cook and some read! Then in the afternoon we took my retired guide dog and my active dog to the Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis Day. Afterwards two dogs and three humans enjoyed treats.

A weekend full of fall, friends, food and frolic. More reliance on friends to help accomplish tasks than if I could see possibly more enjoyment of sounds, smells, and kinesthetic cues than if I could see. Not as exotic as “seeing with your tongue” or echolocation, but much more typical of life for typical blind people. I wish these realities of life as a blind person were on NPR and other media outlets so that when somebody thinks of becoming blind o r hiring a blind person they’d have them in the back of their head as well as the tongue-clicking, “seeing with their tongue” images. It would make their lives easier!