My vision has been stable my whole life. I learned to use a cane at 20, but avoided doing so for a variety of reasons, including the way people treated me when I used one. This is not, by the way, a good enough reason to put oneself in danger. Don’t do what I did. Eventually, I moved back to the area where I grew up, and took a fabulous job, but it was way harder to navigate, and the drivers were meaner. (Yes, really. In Boston, the drivers are flaky and grumpy, but not malicious. In DC, they’re out to kill you, and extra points if you have a long white cane). I applied to GDF for a dog, and when I came home, I was, at 31, suddenly a lot safer and more confident. Not only that, but I realized how much trouble I’d had finding entrances to buildings, empty seats in crowded rooms, landmarks (elevators, turnstiles, elevators in specific directions, etc.) – my dog can do all that. I have more energy now, because I am not constantly expending it trying not to bump into people or things. And I am so much safer overall.
I’ve been back in Boston for three years now, and while it’s easier to navigate here, I am still safer and more confident than I have ever been, and I can find things much more easily.
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