Where Do You Go On That Bus Every Day

It is interesting to reflect on how much power language has, both in shaping our perceptions and in conveying them to others. These perceptions are present not only in the actual spoken words, but also in the tone and inflection in one’s voice as they are spoken. As a blind person, I have perhaps a lesser appreciation for the visual aspects, but acknowledge that they are extremely important in message transmission. I think maybe this post is a sign that this Master’s program in Communication is slowly taking over my brain.

Anyhow, here is the impetus. I was speaking with a woman who works for the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital here in Durham, as I’ve met many of these individuals at my Erwin Road bus stop in the afternoon. She told me she has been a nurse there for several years, and thoroughly enjoys her job. She also noted being impressed with me as I zip around, an observation that I know gets under the skin of some folks who are blind but it does happen. Knowing this, that whether I want to or not I carry the mantle for blind folks, I usually try to act “presentable” (whatever that means) when in public. It took me ages to understand that I’m always being watched, whether I hear others around or not.

What really got me thinking though was when she posed the question in this post’s subject line. “So, where do you go on that bus every day!?” It was said with a definite quality of disbelief to it, probably both that I hopped onto the bus, and that I had some sort of regular destination to reach on the other end.

I wonder to what degree this sort of thinking affects our ability to be employed? Just the impression that maybe we are not, or at least shouldn’t be, capable of a degree of independence. Now, I have said several times before that “independence” does not mean a complete lack of need for assistance. What it does mean, at least in my own, perhaps twisted mind, is the ability and willingness to attempt to adapt to one’s environment and move around even in new places, and to be able to ascertain when help should be sought. It is more of a spectrum that includes some interdependence, just as it does for sighted people. I readily admit, after all, that I am nowhere near the most independent blind person out there. But fortunately this does not have to be a competition.

I told her how I navigate on the bus, and a little about the job I attend on the other end, each day departing at 5:30 like clockwork. The incredulity continued to seep into her voice, but I hope maybe in the end her mind was expanded a little bit with regard to the possible. I know also that others have the same sort of question(s), and always welcome them and will try to answer them to the best of my ability. For that is how people will learn, and I hope, slowly begin removing barriers for us all that exist because of a lack of understanding.

And you wanna know the irony of this post? As you’re reading it, assuming nothing totally unexpected has happened between its writing and publication, I’m sprawled in bed, enjoying a long weekday sleep! Because just as hard as I might want to work, I need time to vacation as well. I hope the job, and my gaggle of bus stop companions, won’t miss me too much.

Summer Time: Travels and Vacation

I know that as you read this, I’m sitting in the sun and basking in the happy end of yet another workday. Probably people are cavorting around me as I rifle through grad school text, attempting to absorb as much as possible on the first go so that the citations I will have to do later for Discussion Board will come to me more easily. Is that on page 150 or 161? It’s all blurring together.

Why, you ask? Because it is high time for me to hit the road! Every year since 2004, well other than during the madness that was 2010, I actually took to the skies at some point between June and September. And while it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen this summer, short of some very nice anonymous benefactor, I hope to at least go to the beach for the 4th? time in less than a year. That would top the amount of times I had gone previously in all of my life. Fascinating. It’s still a thrill to hear that body of water roar though, and even nice to sit on the sand in beach chairs and/or take a stroll along its shores.

In any event, one thing I’m definitely looking forward to is a few days off of work. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that I still have 19 vacation hours available that will expire on the 28th of this month. Yeah I could allow them to cash out, which would probably give me more dough in the end. But the reality is I need some downtime more than that slight bump in pay. I saw a stat somewhere that 41% of American workers take no vacation time at all. This is just unfathomable to me.

Other than time off, what else am I looking forward to? Well, all of your standard stuff of course. Ice cream sundaes, watermelon, a real, grilled burger! More books than I can cound or probably should even be reading at the moment (I will hit 20 by the end of the month, so 40 could still happen?) Who knows. And freedom from heavy clothing, except on the buses where merciless drivers will continue to insist on cranking the AC as high as it goes.

So here’s to the summer, and whatever it holds. In reality, it makes me miss the joy of camps and making new friends while sprawled out for weeks away from home.
Related: Summer Time, Current and Past
My favorite silly summer camp story

Yay, my favorite time of year! Do you have any special plans? A big summer trip? Or at least some time to just take it easy, which is equally, if not more, important. After all, even after a big trip, one usually needs a vacation from one’s vacation. Tell me about them.


I’m no scientist, but I would venture to say that humans are the only beings that spend 90% of their lives in the past. Why is this? I’ve never been able to say, but it seems related to the real challenge of living in the present. We like to try to convince ourselves that it was “better back then,” even though a simple, realistic pondering usually reveals that this is, at best not true, and at worst a complete distortion.

So am I the only one who checks the Facebook “On This Day” feature with zeal each day? I don’t know when they instituted it, but after a few of my friends shared their own odd memories I went ahead and tweeked the settings so I would be notified anytime there were previous statuses to view.

It’s actually kind of fascinating to look at these old posts, because in many cases they have revealed unexpected themes that run through a specific day. For example, I could see that on a couple of June 8ths, I reflected heavily on who I am or want to be. I guess this isn’t surprising, because it was during my first go-round of grad school, and in the middle of the Summer, when I had nothing to do but sit at home and think.

I was also recently reminded that this month saw my introduction to Wi-Fi, (June 2, 2010), and text messaging, (June 11, 2008). Given how completely both of these technologies are now integrated into my very existence, it is amazing that they were almost unknown to me only a mere eight years ago.

I will probably always enjoy reflection, as my musical tastes still reside in the 90’s, I read books that remind me of books I’ve read before, and I lament that one shot or pass that would have propelled my sports teams just a bit farther than they were able to go. I think that this is good, but can it start to get in the way?

I think it can to some extent. The importance of realizing that where we are now is ok cannot be overstated. I may never have had the kind of life I currently do, with the ability to work and play all according to my own choices. Easy access to restaurants, the bus, and other amenities both are a wallet suck and a relief that make it possible for me to survive the long days at work.

And let’s be real, I probably don’t want to be 18 or 19 again, despite my oft-expressed feelings to the contrary. I would say maybe I would like to if I could still know what I do now, but then I would hate the fact that I had no money and a resultant limited freedom. Not to mention the sometimes intense bouts of depression and such that I had experienced. It would have been really interesting if Facebook had existed then, back in the days of stone tablets and horse-drawn carts. Too bad I have to just pull them up on the slowly fading mental record in my own dome.

I am still sometimes hounded by my more recent past, and especially as I work my way through grad school. Things are looking up there too, with me now more than halfway through my third class and finally starting to get stronger. I can see that I had for a long time been effected by the jitters as a result of what happened to me during 2009-2011, but the important thing I have to remember about that was I hadn’t entered a program that was really along my career path. It’s all good though, because I had learned a lot from that attempt as well.

So have you played with that Facebook feature yet? Do you ever notice any weird themes running through a particular day. If that Back to The Future car were invented, would you opt to go back? To which year?