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.”
I’ve 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.