.Another bus one

At the main bus stop that I use to catch buses in and out of Bristol city centre from home, three buses stop there. The 48 and 49, while coming from different suburbs, both end their routes at the same stop  just short of the Centre, however, the 24 stops at a different stop on the Centre and then goes out to loop around a part of South Bristol. It is therefore important for me to know which bus I’m getting on either because the 24 and 48/49 stop in different places, or because I am travelling further than the Centre. I can’t see to read the bus numbers and even though my phone app is helpful, I tend to check that the bus arriving is the one I want.   A couple of weeks ago, I was the only person waiting at the stop when a bus drew up. The doors opened and I spoke to the driver (making sure my white stick was prominent): Me: “Morning, which number are you please?”,   Him: (with what sounded like an irritated sigh  “they all go to the same place anyway, so it doesn’t matter what bus it i

'They didn't mean anything by it'

I’ve noticed how common it is that, when talking critically about poor behaviour towards disabled people  and other groups that face discrimination - from rudeness, patronising attitudes to overt discrimination - the criticism is often brushed off with the explanation that the person hadn’t meant anything by it. “they didn’t mean anything by it”.   It’s a funny thing to assert, how does anyone know that someone else who has, to all intents and purposes behaved badly to me or someone else, didn’t mean anything by their words or behaviour. Were they perhaps merely an innocent conduit of unthinking channelling of society’s negativity towards disabled people? Is it that the negative attitudes are so ingrained, that people should not be blamed for innocently adopting them? I find it particularly strange that this excuse is used to cover such a wide range of utterances or behaviours – they can’t all mean nothing, can they?   people perpetually draw on the justification ‘they didn’t mean anyt

You have to be one thing or another

My post ‘No half measures’, while exposing an attitude that I’ve had thrown at me many times over my life, showed something of an extreme example of the common belief that people are either blind or they’re not - they can either see ‘normally’ or they can’t see anything.   I have had strangers express that indignant anger at me on a single brief encounter, their realisation that I can see something when they have assumed that I could see nothing at all has thrown them, disappointed or shaken their trust in the purity of ‘the blind’. People often resort to insulting behaviours in such circumstances and I’ve written here before about being sworn at when it has been realised that I’m not  as blind as I might have been, and my last post described a recent incident where a shopkeeper come amateur ophthalmologist waved his hand in my face asking how many fingers he was holding up.   In a world still full of so many rich examples of terrible behaviours to write about, It’s easy to maintain my

One finger too far

In town this afternoon, I called into a large general store to buy some Lockets. Got to the front of the queue and the guy behind the counter called me forward.   Me: “have you got any honey and lemon Lockets please?”   Him: he points, presumably giving  some direction for me to get them.   Me: “I’m blind, I’ll need you to get them for me please”   He comes round from behind the counter, taps me on the shoulder and then gets in front of me with his hand waving in my face.   Him: “How many fingers am I holding up?”   Me: “Fuck off. I’m not playing that game. How fucking dare you do that.”   He goes back around the counter. I pay with my card.   Me: “have you any idea what an insult it is to wave your hand in my face like that?”   Him: “What do you mean?”   Me: “You asking me how many fingers you have up, it’s an insult to do that”.   I leave the shop.   This has happened to me so many times over my life, but not for probably three years. It seems to convey a level of disrespect for me,

At Waitrose

In town this afternoon, thought I’d nip into Waitrose to buy a few things.   During my visit, I had to ask two different shop assistants for help. Both were friendly and helpful, they spoke to me without effect and read out all the details I’d asked for without so much as a sigh.   When I reached the checkout, the woman offered to pack my bag, was straightforward and normally helpful.   The whole thing was a comfortable experience. It was frankly slightly unusual that they all knew what my white stick meant without any explanations needed. They didn’t point, treat me like a child  or someone needing over-indulgence. This shouldn’t feel unusual or like a pleasant surprise.

At the bus stop (from January 2006)

  I loved this one – it has happened almost word for word so many times, but this is probably the longest anyone’s gone without interruption. .   One bus stop episode Me: “Excuse me, would you tell me when you see the 48 or 49 coming please?”   Them: “Do you know where you’re going?”   Me: “Yes, I need the 48 or 49”   Them: “Where are you going?   Me: “Easton”   Them: “Now, you need the 48 or 49. You stay there and I’ll tell you when I see it... Are you going to be alright?... Stay there, it’s not coming yet... It’s alright, don’t panic, I’m not going anywhere... Don’t worry, I’ll tell you when it comes….. Oh, my bus is here now… you’ll have to ask someone else.. I’ll tell this lady..Excuse me, this blind man doesn’t know where he’s going, he needs a 48 or 49, could you look after him, make sure the driver knows about him”.   I still hadn’t had a chance to say anything.    

Playing games

I first posted this on my earlier ‘Sightlines’ blog on 17 th March 2006. I was struck on finding it again that it is very similar to something that happened to me at a gig in 2019 that I wrote about heare in an early post. You see, these things keep coming around.   At a gig on Saturday – dark  room. Walking through the audience.   A guy starts talking to me in an odd way, I recognise his voice. I said:   “Is that “X”?)   “Yes - so you worked it out in the end then”