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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.

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Seeing at 16 - A post by guest blogger David MacBrien

David MacBrien is a long time friend of Checkered Eye Project Founder Libby THaw.  They worked together at a same day courier in downtown Toronto in the 1980s, and at least once a decade, celebrate their August birthdays together.

This photo depicts David playing an acoustic guitar.

My first encounter with the blind occurred when I was a fledgling guitar player in a Christian folk rock choir in the 60's. His name was Clint. Clint taught himself to play guitar overhand, which is an accomplishment on its own.

 

It was sort of a rite of passage when I was asked to take Clint into the concert for the first time. Aside from leading him past various patch chords, chairs , music stands and mic stands , it's important to remember that many of the churches we sang in were built when people were shorter. Clint, being a good six foot six, was always at risk of bumping his head. This gave me another dimension to worry about.

 

So once seated I thought, " What do I say to a blind guy?" Turns out, pretty much what you say to a sighted person. Clint and I developed this little joke, where I would whisper "cute girl looking at you 20 degrees left" and he would turn his head and wink.

 

I have found, though, that being funny can be be insensitive. I often open my mouth to change feet. Nobody likes being treated with pity but at the same time you can't ignore a disability. So where is that fine line?

 

Beats me! I just try to be kind and go from there.

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  • Comment by Sheena France on Jul 30, 2014

    Excellent article! Thank you for the excellent perspective.

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