Last week on May 1st, I mentioned an event Tom and I were going to later that day. One I knew he was going to be excited about and enjoy. What I didn’t realize was how much I was going to enjoy it.
Last Tuesday we headed in to Boston to meet up with an incredibly nice group of ladies who also have guide dogs from the Guide Dog Foundation. There is a GDF Graduates group on Facebook where we realized there are an awful lot of us in the Boston area. We arranged a time to meet up and 5 of us were able to make it last Tuesday evening. A couple of the folks had met each other before through other avenues in their lives, but a few of us, myself included, didn’t know anyone in person. We ranged in ages, life styles and types of vision loss. 4 of us had guide dogs, 1 was between dogs.
It was really nice not to feel like an outsider.
What do I mean by that?
Well, for example we, as a group, changed tables 3 times. Why? Because we were all suffering from the angle of the sunlight and glare that continued to move depending on the time. No one thought twice about it. No one had to explain themselves. Or justify it. Or argue about it. It was simply, “Hey let’s move” and we all said “Great!” We all knew why, we all knew what would be criteria for a suitable next location, we all simply got up and moved.
That might sound like a little simple thing, and it was, that’s what I mean. Never before have I been in a social group where I wouldn’t have had to internally wrestle with myself before saying “hey can we change tables?” because I’d know someone would want to know why, or make a big deal about it, or make an apology for choosing a spot with bright light, or say something rather personal about me to the wait staff, or ask me ‘how about here? is this good? why not? what about this spot?’ Where changing tables would be a reminder that I was different, asking everyone in the group to disrupt and move because of me. Last Tuesday, none of that happened. We all just got it.
It was really nice to be around people who just plain ‘get it’ but who do so without making a big deal about it. Blindness and vision loss was just a part of life for each of us. It was really nice to be around a group of educated, intelligent, very interesting people who also get fully life with disability.
As a bonus, their guide dogs were lovely too.