I Didn’t Expect My Driver To Admit This To Me

I am sitting here with a package of chile-lime mango slices and a cold Stella Artois beer.

What motivated me to put myself at risk for heartburn and indigestion with this dicey dietary decision?

My Lyft ride home tonight. That’s what.

Yep. My evening ride home proved to be a wee bit challenging for the Lyft driver, (let’s call him Driver Dan) and myself.

The ride started with chatty Driver Dan asking me all kinds of random questions. So many questions that he missed the street he was supposed to turn on. Realizing this, Driver Dan paused and asked me where he should turn to head back in the right direction.

My inner voice said:

Really Driver Dan?!? Don’t you have a GPS going? Last time I checked, my name wasn’t Ways, Google Maps, or Thomas Guide.

(What’s a Thomas Guide? Google it kids! And yes, I realize I just dated myself to pre-historic times!)

I politely told Driver Dan I was visually impaired and I wasn’t sure which street he was currently on. I thought it was best for him to turn up the volume on the GPS and follow it!

I was a little annoyed by his preventable navigation fail — and now his pungent bad breath, which released with every word he spoke, was flowing into the backseat. Wow!  That smell is aggressive! Hopefully, Driver Dan will shut the hell up and keep his halitosis to himself for the rest of the ride!

We rode in sweet silence until we hit my neighborhood and turned onto my street. I told Driver Dan that my house was on the left side of the street, near the end of the block. I repeated my address number and asked him to look for it. Driver Dan started to slow down and look around, like most of the drivers do, as he got closer to the location of my house. He comes to a stop and says, almost jokingly, something I was not expecting.

Brace yourself loves!

He says, “So, uhh, I can’t see too good at night. I mean, I can’t see the numbers on the houses that well when it’s dark. Can you see the numbers?”

My inner Voice said:

Are you fucking kidding me Driver Dan? Did you just admit to me that you can’t see that well at night, which includes honing in on home address numbers?? Omg. Yes. Yes you did and it’s kind of a big deal!

With a bit of disbelief in my voice, I reminded Driver Dan that I was legally blind AND, I can’t see the addresses either!

My inner voice said:

Oh, this is just fucking great! We BOTH can’t see the numbers on the houses. Shit…What is my Plan B going to be?!?

Driver Dan then decides to stop the car in the middle of the road and ask me if I could see my house, or better yet, could I call someone to come out of the house? I said, no. I explained again that I can’t see the houses and I was not about to tell Driver Dan that no one was home.

“How do you know which house is yours if you can’t see it?” he asked.

I replied, “Well, Driver Dan, EVERY other driver I’ve had CAN see the address and pulls up to the front of my house. Once I am out on the sidewalk and walk closer, I can tell it’s mine with the little vision I have.”.

“Oh”. That was all Driver Dan could say. And with breath that smelled like ass, I didn’t want to hear anymore!

Since that conversation got us nowhere (literally), he gets the brilliant idea to pull over and get out of the car. Driver Dan starts galavanting down the street to get a closer look at the house numbers, whilst I sat in the car wondering if this was really happening.

Totally annoyed now, I decide to step out of the car to hear Driver Dan yelling out address numbers to me. It was pretty clear we needed to go a few more houses down the street to get to mine. I yell back to Driver Dan that I was not going to walk about my hood in the dark and he needed to come back to the car and drive further down the street.

My inner voice said:

Seriously? WTF Driver Dan! How long is it going to take to get me home! I should think about carry one of those little mini boxes of wine in my purse for ttimes like this!

We both got back in the car and Driver Dan pulls away from the curb. He proceeds to inch his way down the left — yes, the wrong side of the street — in hopes he can see my address some way, somehow. Luckily, the street I live on is not that busy — so no headlights were coming our way.

Within a minute or two, Driver Dan excitedly says, “Hey! 10936!!!! Here it is!!”.

He was so happy to find my house, as was I. I told him that he really should wear glasses if he chooses to drive at night. Relying on the passenger to find an address may not work out in his favor in the future. And if I, or any other blind person for that matter, had been going to an unfamiliar destination with him as the driver, it could have become a very uncomfortable and nerve-racking situation. It could be quite scary too! I continued on a little more about what I thought reasonable expectations of a rideshare driver were. You know, like having good vision — day or night — with or without glasses — Ya gettin’ this Danny Boy!? I won’t bore you with the rest of it. Let’s just say, I drove the point home. Pun intended! Driver Dan began apologizing, but all I could hear was a lot of backpedaling and excuses. With every word spoken, his atrocious breath flowed towards the back seat. Oh, hell to the no! I was not having any more of that from Driver Dan at this moment.

I quickly got out with a “Thanks” and shut the car door. I took a long inhale of the fresh night air. It was glorious.

My inner voice had one more thing to say:

Omg. That was sooo ridiculous!!

Driver Dan, you’re dead to me.

I got into my house, dropped my bags, and promptly reported him to Lyft. I wrote the details of what Driver Dan admitted to me and the fiasco that transpired because of it. I will never be matched with Driver Dan again and I hope he gets his vision checked out as I strongly, very strongly, suggested!

And in case you were wondering, chile-lime mango slices and a cold Stella Artois beer pairs nicely together! Cheers!! X

Relying On Others | Madisyn Taylor

A deep feeling of gratitude can emerge, as we open to the experience of being helped.

Most of us pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We like to be responsible for taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. This is why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to rely on someone else. This can happen as the result of an illness or an injury, or even in the case of a positive change, such as the arrival of a newborn. At times like these, it is essential that we let go of our feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others.

The first step is accepting the situation fully as it is. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should or by lapsing into feelings of uselessness. In both cases we run the risk of actually prolonging our dependency. In addition, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. In needing others and allowing them to help us, we experience the full realization that we are not on our own in the world. While this may bring up feelings of vulnerability, a deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.

It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our own helplessness and to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations. The gifts of surrender are numerous. We discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate and surrendered in the world.

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*This blog and featured photo were originally published on Daily OM. Read more about the author here: Madisyn Taylor.

Things Us Blind People Really Wish You Knew | Angela Fowler

Dear Sighted Reader,

First a little disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend. I’m a tell it like it is kind of girl with a wicked sense of humor, and I want to both make you think and make you laugh.

With that said, here it goes.

The things I, and countless other blind people, really wish you knew.

Our level of skill at a given task probably has nothing to do with our blindness.

I’m an excellent writer. I absolutely suck at organizing. I know blind people who are super organized but aren’t good writers. It’s not a blindness thing, it’s a human thing.
We have developed countless ways of perceiving the world that doesn’t involve eyesight. We may be at varying stages of learning those ways, but once we learn them, those ways enable us to live a full, productive, and independent life — just like you.

Unless of course, things are designed in such a way as to necessitate eyesight. For example, when at the airport, an overhead sign that says, “flight 158 to Denver will be leaving from gate C13” is not helpful to us — particularly if we’re not even aware the sign exists. If we’re hanging out at gate B-32 because that’s the gate we were verbally told to go to, we’re not getting to Denver. “Welcome to flight 905 with service to London…” “Wait… no! What do you mean we’re already taking off?” Ok, I’m sure it wouldn’t come to that, but you get the picture.

We have the same rights to personal space as you do, and frankly, we’re really getting sick of having to tell people this.

It’s like dealing with children — “No, don’t grab. Don’t touch. Don’t pull on the white cane.” Ask yourself, would you touch or grab a sighted person like that?

We have interests that don’t involve blindness.

Some of us like football. Some of us hate football but love to watch movies. Some of us like to knit, while others love to cook or work with wood. The point is, just like you, we have varied and fascinating interests that don’t involve blindness. If you want to get to know us, ask about those first.

However, sometimes it is relevant to ask about blindness. Go ahead and ask us “How do you do this,” or “What techniques do you use to do that.” This implies that you believe we can do it, but you just don’t know our methods. We get that. We are a small minority after all. Avoid saying, “CAN you do this?” which implies that you don’t believe in us, and that may make us feel sucky and not want to interact with you.

Stop doing things for blind people.

Ok, pick your jaw up off the floor, I didn’t mean it like that. But what we really need is collaboration, not charity. Do things with us, not for us. Find out what we need and help us help ourselves. That’s empowerment. 

When we ask you to help us in certain ways, please respect that. When we ask that products or services be made accessible, we want nothing more than to participate equally in society. Involve us in the process and I guarantee you that accessibility for us will benefit everyone, including you.

We are human just like you.

Remember, we all share the universal experience of being human. We struggle with bills, experience financial success, love our children, get mad at our children, do great work and make mistakes. Blind or sighted, we’re all riding a big spinning ball through the solar system and just trying to figure out life!

So, let’s grab a coffee! – Angela

About Angela:

Angela lives in Northern California with her 13-year-old son, her dog and her cat. She works for a community college and makes and sells several flavors of beef jerky. She loves football, grilling, and is quite the true-crime junkie.

20 Signs You’re Successful Even If You’re Not Feelin’ It

This is not the typical blog topic you would find on my website. It isn’t centered around losing vision or living with blindness. Nope. Not this time.

With 2019 being such a challenging year, I found myself gravitating towards personal growth and reflection — struggling to understand if I was doing anything right. Am I doing too much or not enough? Am I headed in the right direction or completely lost? It’s been messy and I’ve questioned many of my decisions and undertakings. I suspect I’m not alone here. Perhaps some of us have had that day, week, or month in the last year where we felt we simply have nothing good going for us. It’s easy to fall down into the proverbial rabbit hole – wishing we had the confidence and courage to DO more or hoping for the patience and perseverance to BE more — keeping us from seeing our successes. 

This lack of clarity can make it easy to believe that we are failing horribly, even when all the evidence in our life points to other conclusions. If we are too busy in life battling the bullshit, managing the minutia, or dealing with drama, we may never take the time to realize our own success. We could already be successful and yet we’re just not feelin’ it.

If you haven’t taken notice of your own successes heading into 2020, then this is the blog for you! Here are 20 signs you’re successful even if you’re not feelin’ it!

1. You are not afraid to ask for help anymore.

I doubt many people have ever succeeded in isolation. Sometimes it takes a team effort to accomplish tasks and there is nothing wrong with that. Asking for help does not mean you are weak, it is a sign of strength and shows that you have grown as a person.

2. You say “yes” to new opportunities.

New opportunities don’t come around every day, but when they do – you say “yes:!”.  Maybe you have no idea what you’re getting into, yet you go for it. Successful people take those leaps because they know one good opportunity can lead to bigger and better ones.

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior from other people. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “Debbie Downers”, “Angry Andys”, Nasty Nellies”, or F’d up Freddys” in your life anymore. Successful people have no tolerance for them.

4. You let go of things that don’t serve you.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love and self-respect is a success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t work for you, serve your purpose, or drags you down. 

5. You don’t seek praise.

If you aren’t hanging around waiting to get the proverbial pat on the back at work or at home, you are more successful than you might even know. Being able to do your part without constant praise or a thousand “At-a-boys” is an internal success. If you choose to wait around for others to tell you have great you are, you may be waiting a long time. 

6. You have learned that failure is a part of personal growth.

Failure can be the point needed to succeed. You need to hit the bottom before you can reach the top. Being able to crawl back from failure and try and try again, is a sign you are successful. 

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who don’t, then you can add this to your list of successes. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal and smell the bullshit, you can stay away from those people. They do not deserve a place in your tribe.

8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you have gone through a debilitating diagnosis, unimaginable loss, or a traumatic experience, most of what we all go through on a day-to-day basis is just the small stuff. Successful people don’t sweat the small stuff and strive to live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more positive energy you will create for yourself. Jealousy has no place in success.

10. You are driven.

Anybody without an engine and a willingness to get through the hard times and the difficulties will struggle to succeed. If you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves    and getting down and dirty, you are better off than you think.

11. You have things you look forward to.

If you don’t have some cool things going on or planned out in your life, in which you are eagerly anticipating, then that little pep in your step may soon fade. Successful people create activities, goals, and plans that they are excited about. They let this excitement fuel their spirit.

12. You wish to help others.

Giving is a gift you give yourself. If you are able to provide people with guidance, compassion, and act as a pillar of support when they need it, success is in your corner.

13. You offer mutual respect.

Success tends to come from your own experiences in life, including going through stresses and difficulties. If you understand the value of treating others with respect, you already have a grasp on a bit of success.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, without fear, you have a heart full of passionate success.

15. You refuse to be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are the co-creator of your life experiences and outcomes. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life’s bad days or play the “victim card”. No. They rise up and carry on.

16. You don’t care what other people think of you.

Successful people know they can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people can be unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You learn from negative experiences.

Life can be full of regrets and dismay – and some choose to hang onto them in a negative way. Successful people convert what happened (or didn’t happen) into learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You are assertive.

You understand that simply saying yes or no is not enough. Explaining your reasons in a clear manner is essential for others to understand that you are an individual with your own thoughts and boundaries. This does not mean being inflexible, but while being understanding, successful people still stand their ground. 

19. You practice patience.

Patience is a virtue that successful people practice on a daily basis. Without patience, it can be hard to ever make the type of impact or influence you want to have in the world. It also takes patience to learn new things as needed to keep up with your professional or personal path. Successful people know that obtaining new habits, new skills, or, umm, losing those pesky extra pounds, doesn’t happen overnight.

20. You are happy.

This may be the ultimate success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how many luxurious vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life. And, life is too short not to be happy.

Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few of them. In time, the rest will come. Keep moving onward and upward — taking note of success when you create it.

Alrighty loves, let’s make 2020 our most successful year ever! ❤️ ~ GGB

I Ordered From White Cane Coffee And This Is What Happened

If you know me really well, you probably know I am a coffee lovahh! As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the nectar of the gods!

With today being National Coffee Day, I thought I would share my recent experience with White Cane Coffee.

I follow White Cane Coffee on social media and I have wanted to order coffee from them for some time now. I mean, let’s think about this. White canes, coffee love, and supporting the blind community. I am so here for it!!

Because life gets in the way, I finally placed an order with them last week and this is what happened.

For a small business, White Cane Coffee has a nice variety of coffee blends to choose from in both bags and K cups. I thought their website was simple and easy to use. I wanted to buy the Sample Box, and unfortunately, it was out of stock. (Must be a popular item!) So, I chose two blends for my order. I received my box of coffee within a few days which was awesome. I opened the box and inside were two boxes of K cups. Oops, that’s not what I ordered.

I ordered a 16 oz bag of French Roast and a box of Dragon’s Roast K cups. Receiving the order the way it was would not have been a big deal, except I had specifically ordered the French Roast bag to give to a V I friend and she does not have a Keurig coffee machine.

That evening I emailed the folks at White Cane Coffee and kindly told them of the mix up on my order. By the next morning, I had a response from White Cane Coffee, and this is what it said.

Maria,

Please accept our sincerest apologies for the mix-up. We are sending you the 16 oz French Roast priority mail to you. I have included a 1 pot pack of Dark Roast also. Once again, we apologize for the error in shipping to you.

Cheers,

Bob Willma

White Cane Coffee

Wow!!

Now THAT, my friends, is excellent customer service!!! In the business world, it’s not always about how great a company’s product or service is — but how well the company handles mix ups or mistakes that will keep customers coming back! Bravo, White Cane Coffee! Thank you for making good on my order!

I brewed a few cups of the Dragon’s Roast this morning and it was really good. I hope they get the Sample Box back in stock soon. I would love to order and try more of the blends White Cane Coffee has to offer!

Like me, you can follow White Cane Coffee on Facebook and Twitter!

GGB Note:

I did not write this blog as a collaboration or in partnership with White Cane Coffee. I just love coffee and support their mission to make lives better for the blind and disabled.

Sight Versus Vision | Madisyn Taylor

Vision comes from within and shows us how to navigate the realms of thought, feeling, and emotion.

Sight is the ability to see the physical world while vision is the gift of seeing beyond it. Sight enables us to take the physical world in so we can participate in it with knowledge. It brings us pleasure through our eyes, which perceive the colors and shapes of all the myriad expressions of nature and human beings. It helps us feel in control, allowing us to see what is coming toward us, which way we are going, and exactly where we are standing at a given moment. We are able to read signs and books, navigate the interiors of buildings with ease, sense and perceive how a person is feeling by the expressions that cross her face.

As anyone who has lost their eyesight can tell you, though, there are things that are clearer when you cannot see the world through your eyes.

One of the reasons many meditation instructors advise sitting with the eyes closed is because we automatically become more in touch with our inner world when we are not distracted by the outer world. It is in this state that vision becomes our mode of seeing. Vision comes from within and shows us how to navigate the realms of thought, feeling, and emotion. It enables us to see things that aren’t yet manifested in the world of form, and it also connects us to that part of ourselves that exists separately from the world of form.

As we age, even those of us with perfect eyesight will generally lose some of our acuity, but this loss is usually replaced with inner vision. This is the time of life when we are meant to turn inside and take what are sometimes the very first steps of a journey that cannot be traced on a map. We call upon intuition and feel our way along a path that ultimately carries us beyond the realm we can see with our eyes and into the land of spirit.

About the author:

Madisym Taylor is an amazing and insightful writer. I follow her words of wisdom via emails from DailyOM. Learn more about Madisyn here.

If you like this, you might want to follow DailyOM on Facebook!

Original article was published on DailyOM – September 2019.

Supporting A Loved One With Vision Loss – At Home, With Better Communication, And Riding Out The Emotional Rollercoaster | An Audio Recording

I spoke at the Foundation Fighting Blindness conference last year and thought I would share the audio recording here on the blog. Now, it’s cataloged on my website – which makes it easier for you to listen, learn, and share it with anyone else you feel needs to hear me tell IT – Tell it like it is.

Below is the audio recording of the session I presented at the FFB VISIONS 2018 Conference. (The play button is an orange circle at the top left side of the embedded audio from Soundcloud.)

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