I think it is time to talk about some of the things that really can annoy blind people. If you can add to this list please let me know.
- Those tiny little stickers on every single piece of fruit you buy. I try to remember to look for them and even when I do I miss them more often than not. I wonder how many I have eaten. Are they harmful to my health? Will they find hundreds of them in my coffin fifty years after I am dead? I try to pretend I don't notice my friends and family picking them out of the food I served them. Although my family likes to make a point of telling me they found them.
- Pieces of paper taped to the outside of the stall door in a public bathroom. What does this little note tell me? Is there a County Fair going on this weekend? Has the bathroom been recently painted? If I flush the toilet will the entire bathroom flood? I think there should be a law stating that you can only put these notes up in case of an emergency.
- Flight attendants who nicely tell you to wait in your seat and they will come for you if there is an emergency. These are the same people who can't remember to bring you your drink change or the water you asked for. Now why would I think that when the plane is falling into the ocean that they would come back to my seat and help me? If something happens I am out of there! I am not waiting for some overworked person to remember that I am in seat 24 F and then buck the tide of rushing humanity to come and help me!
- Car door handles. When I become president of the United States I am going to pass a law that all door handles must be located in the same spot on every car door. I hate looking for car door handles! I don't think the car manufacturers have to worry. My past is far too colorful for me to ever consider running for president. The only way I could be president of anything was to start my own company.
- Phone numbers that use cute little words instead of numbers. All right say you need to dial 1 800 help. The 1 800 goes without a snag. Now you get to H. You might remember that there is no letter on the 1 so you move to 2 and say, in your little mind, A B C. Now you move to 3 and do D E F. By the time you get to H you are cut off because you took too long! The problem with cordless phones is that they are too easy to throw across the room. Actually blind people can't throw things when they are angry because then the thing is lost until someone else finds it and then they know you threw it so what is the point?
- Significant others who leave their socks on the floor. If you are blind and you like a clean house and your significant other looks at clean in a slightly different way, you have a problem. I have tried to give my husband certain spaces that he can mess up. This does not always work. (What a shock) My husband is encouraged to put all the junk he wants on the coffee table in the den but some times he gets creative. Last week he was out of town. Some day in the middle of the week I decided to sit in his recliner. Tucked nicely in the corner I found one of his socks. I knew they traveled in pairs so I had a little search for the second one. During the search I found the second sock on the floor, the shoes that went with them and a half-filled coffee cup of three-day-old coffee.
- I think we have gone over the edge with packaging. Most bottles of things like vitamins are sealed at least three different ways. I mean each bottle is sealed three different ways. I have no complaint about the box the bottle is in as long as it is not shrink-wrapped. I don't mind the paper seal under the lid. I run into trouble with those plastic bands that fasten the lid to the bottle. They have a nice marking that indicates where to tear but if you can't see that marking well, then you are in for some fun. First of all you have to make sure you are somewhere that you can't be seen. Then you should wash off the top of the bottle because you are going to need your teeth. Teeth work well for lifting that plastic on the lid up just enough to try to get your fingernail under it to rip it. Of course the entire top part; the part of the ring that is on the lid separates from the part that is on the side of the lid and actually holding the lid on the bottle and now there is no place to grab with your teeth. This is when you find a knife and stick it under the part that is left and try again. After you get this evil piece of plastic completely off the bottle and open the lid you find that you are still kept from the aspirin that you really need, at this point, by that little seal. Never fear, you still have your knife.
- Travel offers a vast variety of things to hate: Any blind person who has traveled alone will be able to tell you at least three things they hate.
*How about when you stay in a hotel by yourself? You leave the room with the curtain closed. When you return it is dark. You probably don't need a light but you put one on anyway. You know you left that curtain closed so you begin to get undressed. The maid has cleaned your room, they like open curtains.
*Those lovely credit card type door keys are a lot of fun. Some of these have little holes in them and you can remember how the little holes are oriented when you insert the card into the lock. A lot of them are totally smooth on both sides. You have four chances of getting it right. For some reason I have never done it in less than three tries. (I actually have a solution to this problem. Ask the person at the front desk to cut one of the corners on the card. Be sure to have him or her cut the corner that does not go into the lock.)
*Have you ever noticed how all floors in a hotel look pretty much alike? If you are blind you count landmarks. These could be lights, soda machines, doors, or hall turns. More times than I can count I have landed at the wrong room because I got off the elevator at the wrong floor. This is not a big deal if the door you try to open by inserting the card about eight times does not open. However when some one you don't know opens the door the fun begins.
- I can't stand it when someone comes up to me in a crowd and says "guess who this is?" Why do they think that we blind people can remember everyone's voice and know who they are from just those four words. We have a special place in our memory where we file away a mental recording of everyone we have ever met saying "guess who this is". I always want to come back with some smart answer like "I know, you are Daffy Duck".
- Here is a combination helpful hint and thing I hate. I know everyone has left something in the refrigerator long enough that they completely forget what is in the container. Now, if you can see you can gently open the lid, hold your nose and peek in. If you are blind you have to really stick your nose in there and figure out what it is. I store everything in old glass jars. If my husband is there he can look through the glass. If I am alone and heaven help me, cleaning the refrigerator, I just toss the jar without ever opening it. Clear Ziploc bags also work and then you can recycle your glass jars.