I opened up my cane the other day, and as usual, it was ready and raring to assist me. It didn’t ask why, it didn’t ask when, it didn’t complain or criticize or make fun or complicate things. It just calmly and collectively unfolded and started helping me along my way. It was a congested way too, all cluttered up with everything that made up the day. It was a touch of this, a pinch of that, a small order of something other than what I could see, and all of the things that I thought I new where they were, but had been inconveniently moved. Silly little things, always sliding over here, or rearranging itself over there. How do they do that anyway?
Well, there I was, once again, with my obedient cane, ready and almost raring to go. You see, I have a little more difficult of a time with some objects than my cane does. My cane smacks them and sweeps against them and locates them and clangs up against them and points them out to me without any quarrels or fuss. Me, on the other hand, well, I do tend to fuss and complain a little. Ok, sometimes, a lot, but it’s justified and sometimes when I smack and clang up against things it really, really hurts. My shins and forearms and elbows and shoulders and knees and toes and chest and fingers and forehead and nose can testify to the matter. My nose has been broken enough times and is big enough already, my fingers are all crooked, and my toes are all numb, so man oh man can I justify.
It’s amazing how something so narrow, so sleek, so thin and long and white can help a big lug like me rumble around this crazy place we call home. It’s just incredible how something so simple can make things so much better and manageable for a blind billy goat like me. I remember the first time I held a cane in my hands. I felt so silly holding it. I felt like I was never ever going to be able to manage anything out of the stick. I thought that my life would never allow me to wrap my fingers around its handle. I just never thought.
I know, I know. I have people in my life tell me that I never think, all the time, ok? So back off! Now then, let’s proceed.
Note: Abnormal tangent offshutes are fully incoherent and cause no bodily harm, unless a glass wall is placed between the inflicted persons and a bag of chocolate.
I still feel very uncomfortable at times using my cane. I know it’s been three years and I have had ample time to adjust to my new life, but it still feels so strange that I liken it to walking on the moon. Every step feels like a weightless attempt to make it just a little farther. Each step feels like I am stepping towards the edge of the cliffs in Acapulco, or walking towards the end of a pier, or stepping to the edge of a flight of stairs. Man, that’s the strangest feeling of all, walking towards the top of a set of stairs without being able to see it. Hello baby steps or what!
I keep plugging away though. I keep on keeping on, and with each new adventure I go on, it does get a little easier, but not so you would notice. The anxiety levels are still there, but I am able to handle them with decision instead of doubt, with faith rather than hope, with confidence rather than coincidence. It’s no coincidence that I am able to maneuver around with my white cane, rather it’s a greater confidence afforded to me by a lot of hard work and a lot of amazing help along the way. I have swept the miles and smacked down through the aisles, but with constant encouragement and support, it’s been a well developed learning experience for me.
I will probably be using a cane for the rest of my life, unless they come out with an amazing brand new breakthrough that will make it obsolete, like perhaps a GPS micro chip implanted in the tip of my nose. I doubt it though.
A lot of folks ask me if I would be interested in a guide dog, but I really don’t think I have the right mental attitude to have a guide dog. I am not wired for it me thinks. Perhaps that will change in time and I might give it another thought, but for now, I will stick with my little white friend, Mr. Cane.
I’ll keep getting antsy. I’ll keep getting nervous. I’ll keep getting attacks of panic and I’m sure that there will be times when I will want to throw the cane into the trash, but I won’t. I won’t and I’ll work through it and figure out why it will continue to help me more if it’s in my hands, and not in a trash can. It’s not the cane’s fault that I can’t see, and it’s not my fault that I don’t enjoy using it sometimes. That’s just the way it is. I’d much rather be grabbing hold of a leash and walking one of the dogs than hanging on to a mobility cane, I mean, wouldn’t you? I don’t take things for granted, especially when it comes to my mobility. I thank God that I am able to get out and about. I still try to hold doors open when I think someone else is coming in through a door. A lot of the time, there’s no one there, but you just never know. I realize that when I walk down a sidewalk, or through a crowded hall, or in through a lobby, I tend to clear a path just from my appearance. Blind Billy Goats on the loose! A big one at that too. grin Good, let them get out of my way. I appreciate not having to trip them up with my staff. That’s another thing I always worry about, causing a domino avalanche of unsuspecting trippages. I’m usually the first one that shouts out, “Whoops! Sorry!” It doesn’t happen much, but boy is it an eye opener that snaps me back to reality as quick as a cricket.
I’ll just keep holding my head up and forge on through the ocean of crashing waves and tidal surges. I do so love the ocean, so I don’t mind too much.
A short, cute mobility instructor with a baseball hat once told me that I am what I take on. I am what I manage to accomplish. I am the better from the obstacles I have worked through. I am a capable, independent traveler who just happens to be blind and carries a white cane.
Sweep to the left, sweep to the right. Oh, excuse me. Umm, you don’t by any chance see a bag of chocolate sitting around here anywhere do you?