Action for Blind People asked for contributions about the funniest or most ridiculous things someone has said or done to a person with sight loss. This is a selection of some of the responses.
I had a journalist visit my house once and she immediately started running around the place looking about. I asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was amazed that I had “stuff”. She thought my house would be empty because I was blind!
One time, my partner and I – we are both blind – were sitting in a taxi after a night out. We were discussing what to eat and that we had received a huge batch of dog food for our guide dogs. The taxi driver asks: “Do you ever mistake the dog’s food for yours and eat it?”
While waiting for a bus with my guide dog by my side, the bus is pulling up and a lady says: “Isn’t it wonderful how they can read the bus numbers, such intelligent dogs.” I replied: “You should read some of his poetry, it’s amazing!”
My son who is seven gets asked why he’s carrying a golf club.
Being sat on a flight and hearing an air stewardess ask: “What do blind people eat?”
One Saturday afternoon, I was walking through my local shopping centre and I came across a car on display, so I decided to take a look. The woman who was in charge of the display asked me what I was currently driving. I indicated my cane and dark glasses to her and she replied: “That’s discrimination; blind people should have the right to drive like everyone else.”
When I moved to my new house, my neighbours didn’t believe I was blind because they saw me doing things like gardening or weighing flour, which they could see me do in the kitchen window (talking scales). One man took special offence saying directly to my face that I was faking being blind. One day when I was mowing the front lawn, he felt the need to express this view up close to me. Rather than get into an argument with him, I said: “Oh sorry, I have something in my eye.” I then proceeded to take out both my prosthetic eyes and clean them. Not had a problem since.
One I always get is: “Why don’t you wear glasses?”
“So, how much can you see?” People don’t ask folk in wheelchairs how much they can move, or people with portable oxygen how much they can breathe. So why is it okay to ask a visually impaired person such a private question?