A Good Point

A Good Point

Posted on Sep.16, 2013, by , under Educational, Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision

A recent commenter brought up a very good point. He spotlighted one of my all time pet peeves.

As a person approaches a person with a visual impairment it is that person’s responsibility to announce who they are. Even if they are well known to the person it takes the edge off of everyone involved.

If the visually impaired person is with someone else and when they see someone approach they might fill in the name prior to the person’s arrival. It is not the companion’s responsibility but the person coming into the conversation to announce their name.

I once held a forum on proper etiquette with respect to interacting with and to the visually impaired.

When I explained that it is the right thing to do when you first start a conversation to say your name.

A member of the audience said that she could never do that as it would sound awkward. It might sound awkward to HER ears but it is a lifesaver to the visually impaired person who is now quickly rolodexing through the voluminous possibilities of who it might be standing in front of them. Guessing wrong is even worse for all involved.

I can say this, and don’t take it the wrong way but….

I moved down here from the north. Here is a clue…. you all have accents. Or should I say yu’al have accents. Or at least most of you.

How am I supposed to discern who you are with a one word greeting of “Hey?” Dare I say it, but at that point you all sound the same. In fact the only thing I could tell is if you are male or female and then sometimes I can’t ascertain even that from that one word.

Before the days of special ringtones for different people and caller ID’s you would never have hesitated when calling someone to tell them who you were on the phone.

The conversation went something like this.

ring, ring, ring,”Hello”

(caller) “Hey, it’s Susie calling about the church bake sale (or whatever).

But you get the point. What makes that so hard in public?

Now I have been able to through familiarity tell quite a few people that there voice is registered in my memory banks and they no longer have to announce their name to me.

That would look awkward every time my husband came up to me and said “Hi honey this is your one and only beloved” I know who he is.

But when I worked in the school I saw this time and time again. they would approach my student and I and say “Hey Cindy, guess who I am?” then poor Cindy would stand there and you could see the terror this question broached as she stammered “AAAHHHH…” and then I let the poor child off the hook and said (In front of the offending person)”Do you know who this person is?” and the student would feebly admit “No.”

This is where I would do the real educating and tell the offending duffus that they ought to tell them who she is and not try to play pin the name on the donkey at her expense.

So unless you are all playing a name it game and all the participants have agreed to the rules of engagement and all the participants have blindfolds on PLEASE do not put the visually impaired person on the spot by asking them to guess who you are.

Unless you are some noteworthy person and have an ego as big as your mouth, let us off the hook.

Try the game yourself. Have a friend take you to a mall were there is most likely going to be a random chance of you running into someone. Wear a blind fold the whole time and see how annoying it is to play the guess who I am game. Now if you are in a very familiar place and you get a few right you will start to feel smug and wonder what in the hey I am talking about as you find this game of treachery easy. Wait, it does get harder as your circle of friends and acquaintances expand.

A recap as I tend to ramble.

Please when you are approaching someone who you know to be visually impaired please tell them your name. And while I am at it, I will give you another nugget free of charge. You don’t have to say your name louder or to the other person standing there. I am not deaf or incapable of understanding spoken words and I will be able to apply that you are talking about you and you are talking to me.

Gosh that brings up another pet peeve but I have peeved off enough for now and that will have to be another day’s issue. (Whew).

Tell me your name unless I tell you that I know who you are by your voice and we can just have a conversation without my lack of vision being the center of the awkward space where comfort should have existed.

Blessings, Denise

from the writer of seeingdifferences.com