Blind Ignorance

Some of you know I have chronic left hip and right shoulder injuries. I guess now a lot of you know, huh? Anyhoo, I don’t go around telling the world about how my hip pain never goes away—it has good days, bad days, and days when I wish it existed separate from me so I could shoot it. My shoulder is worse.

I arrange my life around my hip and shoulder. I try not to lift more than five pounds using my right side. I can’t sit on soft couches. I’m mindful of my posture. I use a roller bag for books. I use the elevator whenever my bag is too heavy. I pack materials in my bag that help me adjust my sitting situations. If I can’t find the right chair, I stand. I avoid writing longhand because the hand/arm positioning upsets my hip/shoulder alignment. 

My roller bag makes a lot of noise. I’ve spent the last few months searching for a bag that is the size of a backpack, has a compartment for my laptop, and has big robber wheels that won’t fall apart in New York City’s lovely sidewalks. Do I mind my roller bag rocket? Not really. I could care less. But I’m tired of people—who don’t know me—getting out of their offices or classrooms asking, “Can you just carry that thing? Your bag is disturbing my work.”

Ive fantasized about picking up the bag and smacking the disturbed idiots with it, but that would hurt my hip, my shoulder and probably get me arrested, so I just move on. Sometimes, but very rarely, I explain. Other times, I have a stupidity attack and pick it up. Then I get home in pain…

What do my crippling issues have to do with blind ignorance?

It’s simple. After I changed my blog comments system to Disqus, I noticed a few of my Wicked Darlings stop leaving remarks. I didn’t think anything of it at first. We all lose one or two commenters every once in a while, don’t we? Then I lost seventeen in three days and I worried. Did I say something to bother them? I wondered, but kept on going about my business. Then, the lovely Tori from Torizworld, emailed me to let know that Jaws, her screen reader, didn’t work with Disqus.

Guess what? I emailed the other sixteen bloggers who had stopped commenting, and the fourteen who replied told me they were blind too. They said they didn’t mention it because they don’t expect the entire world to revolve around their blindness. 

My first reaction was, “Freaking triple damn! I need to get back to Blogger’s non-threaded comment system *yuck, pout, yuck*. Then I thought about how nonsensical conformity is the shortest path to evolutionary stagnation. I decided to compromise… my blind Wicked Darlings comment via email and copy and paste their remarks. They continue to be part of the discussion, and people can click on their name, which I link to their sites.

As you might be predicting, I won’t be able to do this forever, and I won’t. I’ll actually use the next few months to find ways to make my Pagan Culture more accessible to blind bloggers. The American Foundation for the Blind offers great tips on How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers. I’ve already begun to battle my blind blogger ignorance by doing the following:
- Titling my widgets
- Using descriptive captions on my pictures
- Removing my contact form because it required ‘word verification’ and most readers can’t translate the images.

Will my blog look a bit crowded? Sure, but that’s okay. I believe that what I give once I’ll get back thrice. So you see; I’m actually as selfish as they come, if you really think about it. Yep, I’m doing this so that all those jerkholes, who keep on complaining about the loudness of my roller bag, will get off my back.

Lady Justice, sword in hand, ready to smite blind ignorance.


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41 comments:

  1. I like reading that you actually care about your readers. Most blog owners don't even respond to questions left for them. Make me happy to see someone reaching out to help. :)

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  2. Linda Wildenstein9/30/2011

    Hey, don't let them push you around (easier said than done)....blah, blah, blah.....yep I would do the same thing. I hate it when I cave in to some idiot who has no patience, no couth. Oh well, we need to buck up and just learn the "eat shit and die look". tee hee Oma Linda

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  3. Misty Fouquet9/30/2011

    The part about picking up the roller bag and smacking the idiots made me laugh sooooo hard!! I have badly damaged feet and legs from being flat footed and in the military so I sympathize. Some days it hurts to walk and people don't see the pain. Hope you have more better days than bad ones! Blessings!

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  4. Mrs BC9/30/2011

    I had no idea you had such pain in your shoulder & hip :( Hugs to you, & cudos for turning other people's ignorance into a posetive action.
    x

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  5. Ellen Abbott9/30/2011

    I think I'd have to reply gnarl the noise from my bag was distracting them from their work then they had bigger problems. Or maybe just toss a 'so sorry' over my shoulder as I continue on my way without changing anything.

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  6. I do not know what just happened i was telling you about my problems leaving you a comment and how it is all my explorer's issue and then the whole comment disappeared.

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  7. Now, i am sending it in pieces.
    I am sorry about your shoulder and hip. It is really hard to live wih chronic pain. I hope it heals and goes away miraculously as it should for a daughter of the Goddess.
    Brightest blessings, and please do not pick the bag again for any stupid jerk, maybe just pick up a certain finger!

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  8. I understand where you're coming from with this. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I use a wheelchair. I have the use of my legs, but I can't even walk the length of my flat without taking seated rests, and being upright is very painful. Establishments seem annoyed after having accommodated my chair, when they see that I get up and into the car afterwards. Everyone seems to think that unless you're paralysed from the waist down, you have no business using a wheelchair!

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  9. Gergininaki9/30/2011

    What is wrong? I left two comments here and now they are gone! Did you even get them? 

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  10. This is the first one I got. I checked the spam folder and there is nothing there. Weird...

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  11. Gergininaki9/30/2011

    The frustrating thing is that the first time i tried leaving a message it disappeared and that the last couple of weeks it has been impossible to write you a message. But the problem is with my explorer i should change it to chrome but i never get around it. Pff!
    I said that i hope your pain will miraculously go away as it should for a daughter of the Goddess. And that i hoped you would n't raise your bag the next time, but perhaps a certain finger.
    It does n't sound funny in my head anymore after all the repetitions!

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  12. robin carpenter9/30/2011

    I love your post and I agree you should just smack them! lol. Its a good reminder that just because someone doesn't look like they have pain/disability that it doesn't mean they don't. 
    My Dh has arthritis in his spine and major joints of his body. He's in constant pain plus he's bipolar. So I understand having to take steps to try to get comfortable. I hope you find the bag you want. 

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  13. Dark Mother9/30/2011

    I think you're awesome for making your comments more accessible to everyone.

    As for your rollerbag....I think you should make up a funny story about it to shut people up.  Something like "I'm carrying around the bones of the last person who told me my bag was too loud.  Any other questions".  buahahahah!

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  14. Regarding your roller bag:Funnily enough, if it was them and they were dragging a bag behind them (and I'm assuming right now that they are perfectly healthy people who could pick the bag up without suffering for it afterwards) and you were to complain, they'd probablyy give some kind of nasty remark about how the whole point of bags with wheels is so you don't have to pick them up. So just ignore them, and take comfort from the fact that you're resisting the urge to smack them across the head with the bag.My cane tip makes a noise as it rolls along the ground, and people moan about it. I ignore them, but it's very tempting to use the cane to smack them with, and I find myself wondering if the cane is sturdy enough to be used for such a purpose. I'm not sure it is, but it's very tempting to find out. I know it's fine for ankles... When I first had to start using one (when I was in school) I used to hit the ankles of anyone within reach of the cane who complained about it. Regarding blog accessability:Thank you for trying your best to make your blog accessable to me (and the other blind readers). I'm glad I was able to shed some light on the reason for the disappearance of those other bloggers. It's only a shame that it's an issue. I e-mailed disqus and they asked me for information about my screen reader and internet browser and such, then said they'd pass my information on to the department that needs it... Apparently they're going to be looking in to the issue and trying to resolve it in the future. I hate that "in the future" statement from places like that though; it often means, "if we get around to it, which we may or may not - we'll see - so don't hold your breath." Although, maybe if enough of us say something they might get the hint and fix it? *Looks hopeful* I don't want the world to revolve around my lack of eyesight either, but with a combination of the fact some of my bloggy friends saw me through the final stages of my sight loss, and the fact that so many people post a lot of photos, I feel people should know; I wouldn't want them to think I was being ignorent, or they'd upset me, and I wasn't posting for those reasons; I don't want to upset people by making them think I'm ignoring their posts.

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  15. I think some people use different blogging styles too. There are those who reply only via email, or don't reply at all. I like replying because, well I like you all lol, and because one of the best things about the blogging experience (for me) is the interaction. 

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  16. *stands in front of the mirror to practice 'eat shit and die look'*

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  17. Hm, maybe the pain will get better if I actually hit them ;-)

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  18. Hey, a Witch does what she can, and spells the rest ;-D

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  19. Ha! I'm done the 'so sorry you are such a miserable jerk' murdered between my teeth and walked away.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this!! Now I need to figure out how to move my info from the left side to the right side of my main blog to make my blog more accessible...I assume that's what's meant by "blogroll" in the link you shared.

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  21. People can be such idiots when it comes to injuries and illnesses that don't seem 'terrible' enough to them. One time I was at a meeting trying to get funding for an HIV/AIDS program for young mother who were positive. The politician (whom I hope has developed a case of chronic hemorrhoids) had the balls to say "Well, they don't look that sick. The X patients look like the need the help." I wanted to jump on that podium and beat that idiot senseless!  

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  22. Go Chrome girly! I was having the same issues, and everything changed after I switched. 

    And I think the "certain finger" bit is hilarious! 

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  23. Thanks for the bag wishes. I hope your Dh has many good days, spine and joint pain are terrible, and the medication to calm the pain can be so debilitating. I'm lucky that I have learned to focus my thoughts away from the aches. On good writing days, or while reading a great book, I can almost forget that it hurts at all, but there are times when I must take the meds; I hate the zombie-like effects.  No offense to the zombies, of course.

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  24. Ha! You are so good for my health, did you know? You always make me laugh until my body feels awesome ;-D

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  25. I can almost see you getting people's ankles with your cane lol.

    I emailed Disqus too, and I know many others have done the same. They seem to be good about paying attention to their clients, even the nonpaying ones *cough, cough*. Hopefully we won't have to hold our breaths forever.

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  26. You are too sweet. That is exactly it. 

    P.S. I'm reading some Willow tonight ;-)

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  27. MagicLoveCrow9/30/2011

    Magaly, you are a sweetheart, thinking of everyone else! And, the next time someone comments about your roller back, tell them to nicely go shovel it, from me ;o) Hugs ;o) I know I have said this before, but I am truly sorry for all the pain, you have to go through!!!!

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  28. I feel so stupid. I didn't realize you meant literally blind until the post was almost over. I thought it was some sort of super high tech internet terminology I was unaware of.
    I guess people can be blind in all sorts of ways.
    As for the bag I keep hearing all kinds of things about newer and newer prosthetic's. Maybe someday soon you can get bionic replacements and be the worlds first ever cybernetic witch?? 

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  29. I wish I could find a quiet roller bag like that as well. I don't know if I have any readers with challenges like that, but if I do, I hope they'll tell me, so that I can adapt my blog to make it easier to read.

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  30. I'll make sure to accompany the words with some facial expressions.

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  31. Slommler10/01/2011

    Well I hope you find that quiet bag...but for the assholes who complain...just give them a look...you know the "look"....and keep on rolling your bag!!  I have bad knees and a shoulder from hell!!  I feel your pain.  Elevators are my friends for sure!!
    Hugging you very gently
    SueAnn

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  32. Magaly the Cyber Witch, ha! You are too much ;-)

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  33. When I find my bag, and I will find it, I'll tell you where I got it. 

    And just so you know most of my blind readers decline to make their blindness public. They don't like how people react to it. I know what they mean too, as soon as you use the word 'disable' people most people give you that pitiful look that seems common to all... it is annoying and almost insulting. 

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  34. People...uggg....that is all.  :)

    Sometimes Discus doesn't load and I have to reload the page a couple of times, but I can see it.  I like the forum style.

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  35. I have learned to embraced elevators, when I'm carrying something. I'm lucky enough to be just fine going up and down stairs if I don't have a heavy bag. 

    It was hard to get used to elevators at first... I know how silly that sounds. The Marine in me wasn't happy for a long time, then she understood that she needed to stop the nonsense and give thanks for the fact that she had the used of her legs and everything else on her gorgeous body ;-)

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  36. It's interesting that you posted about this. I just had a HUGE argument with some people in my guild in one of the games I play (not WoW because this issue doesn't affect WoW). We have a few blind people that play the game and they have to color their chat font in a certain way so they can read it. Well, enter Mr. Smartass who shows the entire guild (and most of the rest of the game community) how to color their chat fonts in such a way as to override anyone else's chat font colors. Basically, "let's be as annoying as possible and force people to see our hot pink font instead of whatever colors they've chosen for the different chat channels." Well, once he started hearing our blind folks telling him they couldn't read the fonts in those colors, he threw a big fit and started to complain about people forcing him to stop forcing other people to read his hot pink font. 
    Anyway, I hadn't thought about my blog being unreadable for the blind. Thanks for the post and the link!

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  37. What a jackass. I'm telling some people need a severe beating of the brain. Then again, they would have to have a brain to begin with...

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  38. Thanks for refreshing ;-) I know how annoying that can be.

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  39. Mina Crump10/04/2011

    How precious of you to find ways around this issue (the Blind Blogs). As for the jerkholes, smite on, sister!

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  40. Thank you.  Like most sighted people, I didn't give thought to blogs that didn't describe pictures. Honestly, I still don't think of it, not until I figure it something my girlfriend will love, then I sit back and look through it with new eyes to make sure her JAWS can interpret it. I have actually written blogs to spread the word. It takes time to describe pictures, but it doesn't have to be overly-detailed, just a sentence to give an idea. If people could see my girlfriend's smile every time someone had that consideration, everyone would do it.

    - Angela

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  41. Angela, you are so right. Before one bloggy friend pointed it out to me, and I actually did it, many of my followers with sight difficulties emailed me to say thanks. I don't get to see their smiles, like you do, but I can feel the happiness through their words and I can't even begin to explain how joyful that makes me feel. And like you said, it doesn't take all that much, and with a bit of practice (at least for lol) one can start putting the descriptions  in the text of the post too, and that is nice as well.

    Yay for spreading the word!

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