Archive for the ‘blindness’ Category

pregnancy, disability and culture

September 15, 2011

Before you read this next post, know that all is fine with baby. My Ultrasounds have went well and things seem to be going smoothly.
However, this does bring up a subject that I have written many draft posts about and have to consolidate them into one thought provoking post. As if I just can’t get off of these three topics: it is about pregnancy, babies and disability.
During this pregnancy, we have been confronted several times with the possibility of having a disabled child. First, let me say that my blindness is not hereditary (although who would know unless they asked) and DH’s blindness comes from a recessive gene that both parents must carry. [Which means that his two sighted parents both carried the gene that caused their blindness: but I am not blaming, just making a point]. But, everyone wondered what we would do if the child was blind. Or, worse: what if the child had Downs Syndrome?
[Sidenote: t the BBC presented a documentary called “the education of….” (sorry can’t remember his name) which is about a man who has Downs Syndrom and who is going to college. i have conflicting views on this, but it is an interesting documentary, if you are so inclined].
Anyway, After all, I am an older parent and the likelyhood of a child with a disability increases with the parent’s age (specifically the mother’s).
DH and I talked about it several times. Neither of us even considered abortion. What I did not ask him was: “Would you have considered abortion if I was younger and the possibility of me having non-disabled children was likely?” I didn’t think of it then, but it is kind a “what if,” question and he really couldn’t answer it because it would never happen. Already he does not like playing the “What if,” game, especially when there is no way that it will happen. He said that if the child was disabled, he would definitely want to raise it here in the USA.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would certainly go through the stages that every parent must go through when they are faced with a child that has more challenges than most. I would probably deny, grieve, accept and finally advocate. I don’t know how long i would be in each stage and know that it is certainly an individual experience.
But, When I talked about having the child and then meeting the family for SIL’s wedding, DH felt quite uncomfortable. Although he would want to show off a non-disabled child, he would have a problem feeling the same type of pride toward his disabled child. (my thoughts) He says that it is not a pride issue. He just would not want to deal with everyone’s comments and pity. He also says that other children are not very nice to disabled children. So, I guess you have lots of people who are either afraid of disabilities and/or say stupid things. And, you have unrelenting children whose parents don’t teach them how to behave. Yet, this does not match with the stories about his and his sister’s childhood.
Hearing stories from DH, I find out that he was quite the mischief maker. When they were little, DH and his sister, who is also blind, loved telephones and radios. OK, it was probably more of DH than his sister’s love; but his sister was dragged in by association. DH would not hesitate to scope out a neighbor’s or relative’s house looking for a telephone to call his friends. “permission” and “telephone charges” were not words in his vocabulary. He talks about exploring everyone’s rooftops and jumping/swinging from one house to the next. Before (and even after) he knew about blind cricket, he and his cousins would modify the game so that he could also play. He was fascinated with the light and bright colors surrounding fireworks and on several occasions despite his mother’s protests, burned holes in his clothes because he was not careful while playing with them. Often, he would go out with his cousins or neighborhood friends to the market and with his father to the Mosque. DH felt that many times, his father was more strict on him than on his younger brother. As a result, Dh feels that he is much more disciplined and mature than his brother. His sister, the one who is blind, is the first born. There are family legends about how proud his father was to have a baby girl: so much so that he carried her “everywhere he went.” Their father was not satisfied with the Government run blind schools and continued to search for better educational opportunities for his blind children. And, of course, the two children that received the opportunity to study in America happened to be the two blind children. Yes, there are discrepancies in how his father treats his sighted children, verses how he treats his blind children. Yes, they, his parents, were worried that we would surely pass “blindness” to our child and wondered how we might tackle the challenges of parenthood. And, yes, I agree that society is not very welcoming. But, all in all, his family seemed to rise to the challenge of having blind children. His family did not hide them away in a room or an institution. Yes, there was the many “faqirs,” “healers,” that people would suggest to Abu so that they could heal DH and his sister. yes, blind beggars are not uncommon in Pakistan. I think that there were some family members who blamed the mother for their blindness. (don’t quote me on that one, I am not sure). And, certainly, there is an overwhelming focus on the medicalization of the disability instead of more of an acceptance/independence approach. But, honestly, I see it here, in America, also.
Interesting fact: when I was a child, I was stopped many times on the street and without warning, people (Pastors or preachers or all types of religious folk) would place their hands on my head and/or face and begin to pray for me. They were sure that God would heal me, right then! When a healing was not forthcoming, they either took one of two approaches. 1. Encouraged me to continue to pray for my sight because it would happen in God’s time. Or 2. Chastised myself or a member of my family for having little faith. (what a way to bring souls to God)! Interestingly enough, DH reports that there are times when people have stopped him on the street and asked “HIM” to pray for “THEM” because prayers from a blind person are suppose to be more effective. And Lest we think that America is superior in the disability department, a friend of mine reports that a pastor of a church that she (still miraculously) attends has told her on more than one occasion that she will not regain her sight until she stops sinning and becomes serious about her faith.
Alright, honestly, I admit that many (especially those in smaller villages) Pakistani parents are probably ashamed of their disabled children. Many don’t know about Braille and/or how to teach their blind children. There are not as many services for blind (or other disabled) individuals. There are not that many employment opportunities for blind or disabled people. Remember, Dh still wants to start that Braille library: so obviously, Braille material is not as easy to obtain. Yet, hope still abounds. And, it seems that the challenges center around the lack of information more than anything else. And, honestly, maybe DH wold just have to go through those stages listed above and “right after birth” is just too soon for him to be in the “acceptance” stage. But, we will not really know unless it actually happens.
But, i still ask:
1. Would you/ Did you get any genetic tests to identify an unborn child’s disability? If so, would you have terminated the pregnancy? Do you and your DH have different views on the subject?
2. What are your family’s views about people with disabilities? Is there a hierarchy between physical and mental? Do they differ from your DH’s family’s views?
3. Would you be hesitant to bring your disabled child to your DH’s country?
4. Has your or your DH’s views on disability changed over time? How?

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Eid mubarak! — and other thoughts about the mosque — all rolled up into one.

August 30, 2011

There are many complex variables to worship. Of course, worship should be a time when you do, say or sing to get closer to God/Allah. But, there is a communal part to worship and somehow, (and I think that most people have this expectation or hope) you also want to develop relationships with those who share your spiritual beliefs and are worshipping along side of you. I’ll admit, I was never one for “collective prayer,” it seemed so conscribed. Yet, I do understand the sense of communal oneness in such an act.
I wonder, did I fool myself or is it a myth somewhere: the thought that Muslims are, somehow, quite close knit in their communities and relationships – almost as close as those Amish. (smile) We have attended two different mosques on a regular basis. I wish that I could tell you that I was openly greeted and embraced. I can’t. Now, I need to admit here that I always feel a bit timid and shy and vulnerable when going to the mosque. Sure, you wonderfully assertive people will tell me to get over it and stop being so emotional. Quit whining, you will say. Bla bla bla: it has went through my mind several times. But, it is really a combination of a few things which makes me feel vulnerable.
1. It is still taking me some time to get use to this male/female segregation worship. It is not that I don’t enjoy the company of women. I am “sisterhood,” all the way! It is that I feel that my guide is leaving me at a crucial moment. In churches, I can take his hand, lean over and whisper something in his ear, ask “Tum Theek ho” to gage his comfort level. All this is missing at the mosque. When we have Muslim taxi drivers, they drop me off at the “women’s entrance,” and DH at the Men’s entrance. So, I have to enter alone.
2. All mosques are a bit different and it is hard as a blind person to understand what is expected of me. Where do my shoes actually go? (If I have not taken them off yet, it is not because I am unaware of the rule, it is just that I am not sure where the shoes are being put); I think that the headscarf knows that I am not Muslim, thus, resists my efforts to keep it on; how conservative is the dress of other women in this mosque; during Ramadan, some people are strict about only eating dates and drinking water between the call to prayer and the actual prayer and some include fruit and snacks; someone has to help me with the food because I don’t know “what” is there or “where” it is (consequently, someone always has to serve me which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable);
3. I am not Muslim. I don’t want the sisters to think that I am “playing Muslim” when I am not. Yet, I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and/or disrespect anyone in the process. There are some discussions – some acts – that I am precluded from because of my religious affiliation. Yet, I am never quite sure where the line is. And, I wonder, does my Non-muslim-ness make it more difficult for sisters to bond with me? This is not an ethnographic study and I am not an observationist – or at least, I don’t want to be or to be seen that way. There is a certain objectivity that an observationist gives to the experience and I would rather be more participatory than that. Yet, obviously, there is a line to my participation.
4. I have a guide dog. I don’t take him to the mosque, but if the same friends take us places or want to expand our relationship, they have to be comfortable with the dog — — which many are not. Actually, we rarely get that far. But, I know that many are not comfortable with my dog and this causes all of us some discomfort. There is a limit to how much I can leave him at home and honestly, if I leave him at home too much, it kind of defeats the purpose of having one. However, when we have to depend on rides, I have to put their comfort first.
My hope was that we could knit together a community of brothers and sisters (both from the church and the mosque), as well as some work colleagues — maybe — to be like close family. What church, you ask. And, I must agree, because I have not made much headway there, either. While I admit that the mosque is a bit more accepting than most churches that I have attended, there still feels like a disconnect. Sure, men at the mosque are more willing (than men at a church) to drive us to and from the mosque. They do seem to be “more helpful.” But, I was not just looking for “help” I was looking for a community to belong to – a community of interaction and the sharing of ideas and ultimately ourselves.
[side note: I think that is also what my daughter is looking for and one of the reasons (certainly not the only one, because he seems to be a much better guy than the others), that she wants to marry her ex-morman boyfriend who has tons of sibs and cousins]. The “Ex” is on the “mormon” part, not on the “boyfriend” part.
Anyway, at first, We began attending a very small mosque. The Imam would drive us to and from the mosque. Sometimes, I would talk to his wife. I thought that we wre developing a relationship with the couple. The man went off to study Arabic for three months in DC. I called the wife a couple of times to see if she needed anything. I got no response. The imam did not even call us when he returned. We had expressed excitement about his trip and were generally interested in his progress & experiences. Since we were one of the main families who would worship (and I use that term loosely in my case) at the mosque where he gave lectures, I kind of expected a closer relationship with the members. The second mosque is quite a bit larger. The one thing that I do like about this mosque is that there are lots of different nationalities present. We know men from Somalia, Gambia, Senegal, Lebanon, Pakistan, India and some American born&raised Muslims. The men of the mosque are willing to pick up DH and I and return us to our homes. Our Gambian friend has a Christian wife, but she never comes to the Mosque. There is one bright spot. One Auntie, Shaaesta, does sit and talk with me. I realize that she could very well sit and pray/talk with the other Aunties. But, this pashton woman will sit and talk with me every time I see her at the Mosque. Sure, sometimes, she can be opinionated and she usually worries that I will fall down and/or trip over something on the floor. I wonder how much more intense this preoccupation with my falling will become when I have the baby and need to carry him around. ? Yet, she is kind and when we sit and talk, she really listens to what I have to say. I have not seen her outside the Mosque, however. It is a promising start. And, I must understand that *one* person can make a difference.
Now, DH is celebrating Eid with our Gambian friend and his Christian wife. That is where he was invited. And, I am stuck here at work. Dh has many more personal days than I do. When he works over, he gets comp time and he has been working at the company longer. Besides, whenever we have doctor appointments, I have to take off 30mins before my work day ends. He does not because his work starts 30mins before mine does and ends 30mins before mine does. So, He had the time to take off and still get paid. I don’t. and, frankly, I am a bit emotional about not getting to celebrate Eid with him. So, I’ll stop here with the future hope that next year, we all will celebrate Eid together.

the shackles of innocence and restraint

August 11, 2011

first,
I apologize for no categorizations, I am writing from my email.

It seems like most people have a desire to rid children and those with strict morals of the shackles of innocence so that they can taste all of the bitter sweet delicies that the “real word” has to offer. I am not sure “why” this is, but let me give you two separate situations to illustrate my point.
**Situation #1:
I am on a listserv for blind parents. We were discussing the virtues of Stephen King novels and *if* they were appropriate for 9-12 year old audiences. To my surprise, many parents agreed that they definitely “would allow their child to read a Stephen king Novel.”… … after all, “at least they are reading!” Now, I am no prude… Wait, maybe people think I am, but these books are not depicting real life. there are vivid gritty sex scenes, candid descriptions of violence and inappropriate vulgar language amd actions that I would not want my child to be exposed to at the ages of 9-12. Most people extol the virtues of “exposing the child to the real world,” and argue, “they are going to do it anyway, so, we might as well know about it.” I have always found this argument problematic. If we permit such behavior, aren’t we silently (or at least tacidly) condoning it? I think it says more about people’s parenting style and maybe their willingness to be confrontational. Have we taken freedom too far? should we not be surprised when a 12-year-old girl sues her father because he punished her for visiting porn sites on the internet? (Yes, this really happened last year). Again, I am lamenting that I am not more tech savvy, so that I might post the exact link. Call me a “lazy poster,” but don’t accuse me of being a “lazy parent.” (smile) I had a more elloquent response in my subsequent emails, but I won’t bore you with all of the details. I do understand that others might have a different view; after all, most thought that “lolita,” by Nabokov was a masterpiece and I thought it to be a piece of crap. (and I rarely use that word, but could not find any other word without using profanity which adequately describes the book).
**Situation #2:
Last Saturday, I attended a Beepball banquet with DH. We were pretty disappointed that he only played 4 innings out of 96. The other older team mates weren’t that good, they just wanted to selfishly play. Strangely enough, the coach is actually a fulltime player and regardless of his stats, he plays constantly. I am not sure how he can coach from that advantage, but I don’t want to discuss the team, right now. I would digress too far from my point.
So, I wanted to support DH and go to the banquet with him. After all, he was fasting. He gave me his ticket. In a strange turn of events, the food did not come until 8:20, so I ate half and saved half of the meal for fast breaking time: about 30mins later.
the “world Series,” which is the largest tournament for the
beepballers (much like the world Series in Baseball), was held in our city. DH had the option to stay in a hotel room with two other guys. He would be installed on the pull out sofa; compliments of his low seniority. The guys were real partyers. Each night, they could not wait to end play so that they could drink large amounts of alcohol and smoke a bit of weed. DH stayed home. Honestly, that was a “no brainer.” I did not have to twist his arm. But, in at least one conversation between DH and a team mate, they commented “your wife has you on lock down.” Similarly, while we were at the banquet, a different team mate remarked that next year, DH would have to stay in a hotel with them because the “world series” was in a different city. So, they would initiate him into the ways of real partying. the team mate understood me wanting DH to stay at home this time — with the baby and all. But, (and especially since DH has never touched alcohol before), next year, DH would be able to experience the good life. It bothered me that DH did not object — neither to the stereotype that had been thrust upon me, nor to the much anticipated initiation. UGGG! Some might take that as a sign that he felt (at least a twinge of) agreement. But, DH has had ample opone team member realized or cared that this special time was even upon them. portunity to do these things. And,
If he wanted to stay at the hotel, I would have supported him. DH does not want to drink and he does not want to smoke weed — especially not during the time of Ramadan. Not and, he has seen him team mates get drunk and frankly, they don’t make alcohol look appealing. I know that there are some differences, but there are some parallels to these two stories. why do people think that “exposure,” is always a good thing? why do people feel that innocence or restraint is always a bad thing? Must everyone “want” to be corrupted? Why is it that people always want to champion for the “freedom “to *do something” but rarely support others in their decision to exercise their freedom “*not to *do it?”
And, to the Muslim women in France and Belgium, I feel you on the burqa ban.

2 August, 2011 15:21

August 2, 2011

So, it occurs to me that We do actually ride paratransit with quite a few Characters," in their own right. And, yes, for all of you non-pc people, it is like riding "the short bus." But, as an adult, with other disabled adults who are all not able to drive for a variety of reasons, yet must get to work and other various places. But, I am just too old — and obviously, disabled myself, thus, hardlycare what people think of my associations, etc. A perk of age is that we tend to get less embarrassed by the trivial things — or at least, some of us.

Maybe it is because I am pregnant, myself and emotions are high. Maybe it is because i realize that after December, DH and I won’t be riding paratransit together. Or, who knows, but this has started me thinking about paratransit.

Some drivers want to be very personable and really try to get to know their riders. Some drivers have been driving paratransit for **years and remember the ones who ride often. some drivers are quite talkative and like a good discussion with their morning drive. Sometimes, it is the normal rants; such as the pros and cons of progress&technology, an evaluation of the most recent changes to paratransit (which is never good), the disappearance of manners or the least expensive place for a specific activity. No, I don’t get all “BBC/npr” about things and we generally stay away from religion, politics and hot topics. Once, DH and I had an argument and in a rare moment, DH engaged the driver and riders on the bus to see what they thought. I still disagreed, but the driver, a very animated woman (and you don’t need to see to know this) gave a very impassioned sermon for DH’s cause. I wasn’t offended. From this alone, I correctly guessed her religion as pentacostal! (smile) It was an old argument and DH was just surveying the people to see if they thought he did the right thing — which, kind of means, that he he might have been reconsidering the whole issue. It was an issue of ethics / right and wrong. And, I had to smile at the woman’s obvious ferver for the topic.

There are drivers who arrive 30minutes early and expect us to be willing and ready to ride early. There are drivers who won’t let us eat on the bus, even if they pick us up earlier than our pick up time and we have to ride the bus for 90minutes+. There are drivers who drop us off at the wrong house. There are drivers who don’t want to listen when we try to give them directions. There are drivers who talk to us like we are children. There are drivers who don’t talk at all. There are drivers with loud annoying cell phones. There are drivers who get off the bus at every pickup, so they can smoke a cigarette. So much for getting to work on time! There are drivers who take no care when driving over speed bumps and pot holes. Sometimes, I worry if Paratransit is going to send me into an early labor.

There is a worker at DH’s building, who works in production. He also often rides the same bus as we do. He had to go to the bank. It was close to closing time, so I let him go to the bank first. It was my call, because we were slated to be dropped off first. I was so nauseous, it was not funny. But, I know that paratransit would have dropped him at the bank, whether the bank was closed or open. Then, he would have had to wait for another ride. And, to top things off, it was raining outside. DH protested, but I was trying to be empathetic to a 70-yo man’s needs to go to the bank. So, he gets dropped off at the bank… just in time… … .. and what did he do???? Stand outside and smoke a cigarette! I went home, vomited and the next time I saw him, I really let him have it. Needless to say, now, he is super nice to me. But, DH always says: “Hi W., Are you going to the bank today?” (smile) Oh, and the next time paratransit took him to the bank, he actually went in.

There are times when people talk so loud on their cell phones that I almost wonder if they want to engage us in their very private affairs. I even have to elbow DH several times because he does the same thing when talking to his family/friends in Urdu. People are even more agrivated because he can talk very loudly … … the entire 90minutes to work, yet, they “don’t” get the added benefit of knowing his business. (smile) In his defense, due to the time difference, our mornings at about 7:00 is a good time for both he and his family.

The company that DH and I work for employs quite a few blind people. Now, I must admit that most of the blind people are in the lower positions and the higher you climb up the ladder, the more sighted the employees are. I think that there is even a distinguished difference between totally blind and partially sighted or low vision. Nonetheless, we do have a significant amount of employees who are blind.

[side note: there are four departments in my building. In the customer service department, there are two out of five people – one totally blind – who are employed. In the Accounting department, there are two partially sighted people and five totally sighted employees. In the Call Center, there are five employees: one is totally blind, three are partially sighted and the supervisor is sighted. In the sales department, there are two totally blind persons out of the seven employees. There are people in the warehouse and housekeeping who are sighted. The building is expanding and we will probably have more and more of the factory workers over here. All of the blind workers in our building, except the factory workers, are college graduates.]

The factory jobs consist of glove packaging, auto parts packaging, medical kit assembly and packaging, a document solution/printing shop, And a sign shop. We also provide brailling for signage and documents. Most of this work is done in the building DH works in; which also houses their “rehab department.” DH works in the rehabilitation department, where he teaches computer skills to newly blind individuals. That specific department is staffed mostly by blind individuals. Anyway, some of those employees also have other disabilities. This company use to be a “sheltered workshop,” but now it has expanded and no longer pays workers by the piece. In any case, they employ many different workers and although they do have quotas, there are some workers who are just not capable of making them. They still make the same amount of money, etc. I believe they make $8 an hour. But, they have the same amount of benefits that management has.

[another side note: the top two workers in production, as it relates to output, are from Africa: Eritria and Sudan, respectively. And, just to further enlighten those who believe in Stereotypes, the very top worker, is Aweti, a *woman. She has held this title for more than a year and doesn’t plan on relinquishing it anytime soon].

I try to be respectful and kind to all of the riders, regardless of how much they annoy me. There is the woman who uses her loudest baby voice to ask me the same questions about my dog, every time I see her. I think that she secretly likes (although argues with incessantly with) the guy who boldly and tactlessly tries to bed almost every woman he meets. There is the narcoleptic who remembers every number under the sun (of course, when she is awake and alert). She can also remember the exact date and time that someone stole her pencil in the first grade. Her and her best friend like having the same conversations and trips down memory lane on a very consistent basis. Repetition makes the heart grow fonder. There’s the diabetic woman who, after seeing my yellow lab guide under my seat, went into a full blown speech on the benefits of making the Pit Bull an endangered species by means that Hitler would certainly be proud of. I Thanked God that my Ghetto fabulous pregnant seat mate, who owns a cute and cuddley harmless pitbull was a bit more serene than usual on that particular day. There is one guy, C. who is kind of an autistic genius. I don’t know if he is autistic: (that diagnosis gets thrown around about as much as ADD), but he does have some mental limitations. Yet, he knows greetings in many many different languages. He always says “asalam–o– laykum,” to DH. He is always asking about Hebrew language. He knows greetings and words in German, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Zulu, Tagrinia, Sudanese and now, Urdu. He is not good with pronunciation; he sounds like his dentures are constantly slipping – although, he doesn’t wear dentures. but he makes up for it with his memory. I have met C. a few times because the company sponsors a local “ToastMasters” group that I have attended. He has taken on roles such as grammarian and Toastmaster. He is the Sergeant of Arms and does remember all of the rules. He can be annoying. Like when he insists on being the ToastMaster’s timer. He does not know how to operate a stopwatch and can’t write in print or Braille. Consequently, his duties as “timer,” consists of repeating the times that the actual timer loudly whispers in his ear. This annoys me because, honestly, if he doesn’t operate the stopwatch, and if he doesn’t write down the specific times of each speech, then, really, he is not the timer. Nevertheless, I was just impressed with his memory and interest in DH’s language.

Concluding, have you ever felt like you are surrounded by characters from a compilation of books? Well, that is just our lives.

family expectations: the objective view

April 1, 2011

everyone talks about the added stress put on women when they meet their southAsian in-laws. This is a challenging issue and I am not trying to minimize any experience of any woman. In fact, as I plan my trip to Pakistan, I know that it is quite possible that I will be in the throws (all emotions included) of a similar situation. Yet, I am trying to be objective!
I do need to point out that there are certain pressures on the southAsian men that they might not otherwise have, had they married a southAsian woman and lived in their native country.
1. Financial responsibility. DH’s brother was married about two months after we got married. His family’s wealth is his own. N’s bride, N2, came to live within a family structure of a mil and fil and N’s younger sister. And, this, they admit, is a small family according to the members who could be present. In any case, N2 has yet to make a meal by herself, do a load of laundry or take note of the family finances. N, himself has never read his electric bill, haggled with AT&T over phone charges, searched for the best bargain for a specific product, contemplated the financial consequences of a purchase, reconciled receipts with his bank statement, filled out “head of household tax forms,” analyzed Health and life insurance plans, or comprehended and absorbed the specific tax deductions that are taken from the paycheck every two weeks. These activities and the worries that seem to accompany him has eluded N and is certainly not a part of his marriage experience. Yet, DH and I have to take on these responsibilities. These tasks are not optional and failure to take them seriously will have swift and heavy consequences. In addition, he has to deal with landlords, immigration, immigration lawyers and other government entities, filling out more forms in one week than he has ever had to do for his entire life.
2. DH must go to work everyday and he must be prompt. He also must arrange transportation. OK, now, of course, the transportation arranging part is not his responsibility alone. But, N’s work schedule is fluid and much more forgiving. Some of this is because N works for his father, so the work environment can be much more relaxed. N does not have to worry about time schedules or work policies.
3. There are certain cultural norms concerning expressions of LOVE and maintaining the relationship. This might not be cultural, but then again, who knows. I ask DH one day: “Did your Father ever bring your Mother flowers?” “did they ever want “date night” or some time for themselves?” “What about Valentine’s Day?” To DH and many of his friends and family, marriage maintenance is ridiculous. Sure, husbands should bring a gift to the wife upon return of their travels. But, in many cases, they didn’t date before the marriage, why would they do such things after? Furthermore, these “couples quizzes,” and “relationship checklists,” are just “Bukwas,” – “nonsense.” Early in our relationship, I wanted to subject DH to any “couples quiz,” that I could find and compare our answers. After twice indulging me (and he felt that he was being quite compliant) , DH put his foot down and committed never to do another. I guess, there is no “newlywed game” for us, although I would find it quite fun. In a strange turn of events, “preparing for our immigration interview” is working quite nicely as a stand-in for a “Couple’s quiz.” It does seem that the public wants to know all about your relationship and they want to evaluate it against their preconceived notions of what they feel a relationship should be.
4. In addition to DH’s work, my family (and I) expect him to pitch in with the housework. I admit that my family (like most Americans) sometimes scrutinize men’s (particularly SouthAsian men’s) actions to make sure that they are treating their women with respect and giving their 50% to the relationship. To some women, Not including myself in this statement, equity and equality are synonomous terms. Sometimes Americans (even Americans who are not close to our family) feel the need to sternly advise dh to cook, clean and sometimes (give her everything she wants). They are already under the assumption that he does not do these things and he is berated for what they assume he does not do. Is their any parcel of truth in their assumption? Sure. But, that is for he and I to work out. Before I started work, my mother would routinely ask me three questions.
A. Is he still working? My sister, the successful nurse who is going back to get her Masters Degree (even though she is pulling down a serious chunk of change, already) has four children from the ages 6-12 and a husband who finds working at home much more appealing than putting his degree to use; And my younger blue collar working sister who finds working a necessity (yet, is finally attending a technical college to get an office job) and who has four children from ages 16-3 and a husband who won’t remain employed for more than three months at a time; both must be the breadwinners of their family. Both husbands have the same first name and both husbands also inhail illegal substances which seems to enhance their laziness. My sisters are more alike then either of them want to admit, but I keep silent on this one. My mother was, herself, employed for most of her life either as a factory worker or a truck driver. For the most part, she doesn’t respect those who are able to work, but choose not to do so… … especially when they have a family to support.
B. Who’s doing the cooking and cleaning? Before I started working, my mother would constantly remind me that it was my duty to have everything in tiptop shape for Dh because he was working. Now that I, also, have a job,, she asks: “Is he cooking?” “Is he cleaning?” “What is HE doing to help?” My mother likes to be the boss, so she almost orders me to “make him cook and clean.” Actually, DH is helping out. I am certainly not giving him any excuses. But, since he is male, it does feel foreign for him to “consistently” do housework. I say “consistently,” because his father will cook and clean “occasionally.” But, certainly not on a regular basis. And, since he is blind, he feels like he isn’t sure what is involved in such tasks and these tasks just seem daunting. Admittedly, none of his blind male friends (especially Pakistani blind males – even if they do live in London) do any type of housework at all. Yet, he is learning to do more and more around the house. The key is that “we” work together. And, we both benefit when the housework is finished quickly. But, I do recognize that DH has pressure that his other blind friends don’t even experience. Our marriage and situation provokes DH to be responsible in ways that his Pakistani counterparts (brother or friends) are oblivious to and if they do understand such responsibilities, it will be much later in their marriage.
C. Are you pregnant? …. … different topic entirely, but while both of our mothers might request this particular piece of information on an equally frequent basis, their desired responses to this specific question are polar opposites. As of the last conversation, my mother has been quite content (almost gitty) with my routinely accurate response. It has only been six months, hardly enough time for DH’s mother to claim “patience” as a long standing virtue. Yet, it could happen.

I’m not asking you to ride the pity wagon for DH. I am just reminding everyone that when two different cultures come together, there are bound to be adjustments made from both individuals. Furthermore, family members who are firmly planted in either culture have expectations that feel strange to the spouse and in some cases seem harsh or frivolace.

A shout out: to the blogging community

February 24, 2011

OK, so ai read a few — more than a few blogs and try to post my comments.

Sara, at
http://www.alittleofthattoo.wordpress.com

and i have conversed often. I was so elated! She lives in my state too and it was one of the first positive responses.
I find Lucky Fatima’s blog:
Wwww.luckyfatima.wordpress.com
quite insightful and enjoy commenting.
and i want to thank her and Jubee at:
http://www.myusalife.wordpress.com
for their comments on my blog.
Sakina at:
http://www.sakina08.wordpress.com
also has some interesting blog topics and i enjoy corresponding with her.
The Dosa Girl:
http://www.thedosagirl.wordpress.com
and Andrea at “milwaukee Masala,”
http://www.milwaukeemasala.wordpress.com
have very interesting posts about food, great recipes and speak to the frugalness in me!
And, i visit Neokalypso’s blog “the Milano Has landed,”
http://www.neokalypso.wordpress.com
(even though i have not heard from her in a while).
But, there are many blogs that i just can’t comment on because of a variety of reasons.

for example,
when I try to check on Grace, I get the error:
“The blog http://badbhabi.wordpress.com was marked private by its owner. You need to be invited to view this blog.”
Ok, so she has not invited me!
Understood!
But,
Michelle’s blog “complicated,”
at:
http://crysmissmichelle.blogspot.com
is one that I regularly read. But, when i try to comment, i get this capcha “word verification” thing. When i type the numbers i hear, they never match and I can’t comment.
Oh, the many things I have wanted to say.
Same goes for
the Gori Wife life at:
http://www.thegoriwifelife.blogspot.com
and
Mandy and Shomic’s blog “India loves Texas,” at:
http://www.mandyandshomic.blogspot.com
and
http://www.southernmasala.blogspot.com
(At least, when she was posting)
and the Award winning and thoughtful:
http://www.susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com
Although, I have talked to her and she emails me her posts and we correspond through email. — {THANKS}
And Queen’s:
http://www.thewifeofabengaliwife.blogspot.com
and I have yet to comment on Kayla’s blog “Kya Dekh Raha hai,” at:
http://www.whitegirlindianboy.blogspot.com
or Heather at:
http://www.indianties.blogspot.com
….
do you see a trend.
Most of the wordpress blogs I can access, but the blogspot blogs, i can not.
Until I read Roshni’s blog at:
http://www.deadlylightshade.blogspot.com
From what I understand, she has disabled the word capcha part! Way to go Roshni!!
Now, Dh says: “that audio capcha thing is a joke.” The best thing is just to try Firefox. But, I can’t get Firefox on the computer here, anyway.
And, I can’t upload media and pics and other fun things to make my blog more interesting. Furthermore, changing the theme — does nothing for me, (so I don’t take time to do it much).
If I could get you all on a blogroll (I don’t even know where to find it) I would. That would not assist me in responding, but it would be interesting, anyway.
I can’t get Firefox at work. (Besides, We are not suppose to view and write on people’s blogs. But, I will occasionally do just that when my work is very slow]. The alternative is sleep.
And, I’m using my daughter’s computer at home and can’t install firefox.
So, I guess my thoughts, suggestions and well wishes will go unwritten. I read lots and hope that someone else says what I want to say, so at least, it gets said. Sometimes, it feels like a clique that I am only allowed to experience and observe from afar. Or, maybe like characters in a book: you can read about their lives, but you can’t actually enteract with them.
(ok, I read too much).
[side note: I’m starting “The Hindi Bindi Book Club.” And, need to have it read by Sunday for a book club discussion].
Just FYI for you blogspot bloggers, know that I am reading, even if you don’t hear from me. I’d like to respond. If you make it possible, I will! It is all up to you.
And, now that I have said my piece on the subject, I need to let it go and move on!

More rain checks than pay checks! … … ranting again!

February 6, 2011

Raincheck —
Due to unforeseen circumstances, a proposed offer or ticket to a sporting event is resended and will be renewed or reasserted sometime in the future. A promise that an offer or ticket (that was either bought or accepted) will be re-initiated or available for use at a later determined date.
This term comes from baseball, where in the 1880s it became the practice to offer paying spectators a rain check entitling them to future admission for
A game that was postponed or ended early due to bad weather or other circumstances beyond normal control. By the early 1900s the term was transferred to tickets for other kinds of entertainment,
And later to a coupon entitling a customer to buy, at a later date and at the same price, a sale item temporarily out of stock. Today, we often use a “rain check,” to postpone an offer until a later date.

Lions Club meetings… … Check check;
Pakistani General Shahid’s visit sponsored by III… … check;
And…. … It happened again. We, DH and I, were supposed to go to a “super game event,” (inspired by Super bowl Sunday). The event organized by the “Hindu Philosophy and Indian Cultural meet up group,” started at 2:00, which meant that we should have left by 12:30, but I scheduled to leave by 1:30. We would have gotten there after 2:00 (maybe even 3:00), but we were ok with being fashionably late!I packed my braille cards and scrounged around (to no avail) for the accessible chess board and pieces. DH would just have to secure another time to develop his atrophying chess skills. At 11:45, the group organizer sent an email ensuring us that the event was still on. At 12:30, she changed her mind. I did not find out until we got a call from the organizers, just as we got on the bus. In any case, we placed our spring rolls back into the freezer and had to reinstall ourselves into our desk chairs, busying ourselves with phone calls and computer activities. Lately, when DH and I play games with just us two, the end result was not very favorable.

One of the perks of having a vehicle is that you get to choose (on a moment’s notice) where you want to go, when you will leave and return, how long you will stay and it is easy to adapt your schedule at your own convenience. There are many places that I thought about visiting. There is a tabla and percussion demonstration at the Indiana Percussive society. (Maybe I’ll get to try playing it for myself), various meetup groups hosting non-alcoholic activities, museums, festivals, etc. When riding paratransit, called “open door,” [a part of our public transportation system called IndyGo], it is not that easy. We have to schedule at least 24hours in advance. That means, I can’t just decide to go to Wal-Mart because I forgot to pick up a snow shovel or to the International grocery because I did not realize that I was out of ginger/garlic paste or to “on the spur of the moment” pick up some cream puffs as a surprise for DH, or replace my boots that just happened to come apart as I was walking. I can’t delay a return trip if the restaurant was abnormally packed and we just got our food or if we are involved in a rather pleasant conversation that was unanticipated at the time of scheduling. in addition, if we finish our business 45minutes earlier than we had expected, we must still wait to be picked up at the scheduled time. It also counts against us if we cancel more than four times in one month without giving at least 24hour notice. A round trip counts as “two cancelations.” If we have an appointment at 3:00, it is advised to schedule our pickup at 1:30. Last Friday, I needed to go to the bank. The driver picked me up at 4:25 and we got to the bank at 5:50 – 10minutes before the bank closed. The driver said that she would make use of her lead foot to get us there before it closed. We felt grateful. But, paratransit does not stay and wait. We have to schedule a pickup to be no less than 90minutes from the time we were dropped off.
I know that I am complaining about transportation again when most people are maybe grumbling about
shoveling their vehicle out of a place where weather mandated it stay, Getting snow and ice off their vehicle, tire traction and visibility on the road and increasing gas prices.
But, I really think that some people don’t realize the consequences that others face when they flippantly cancel an event. Now, maybe the cancelation was not as flippantly decided as it appears…. Yet, we were willing to endure the cold lengthy ride for socialization and entertainment. And, it seems that some people just don’t want to be bothered by a little snow to make their commitments!

And, I can’t remember who it is,
But a friendly Desi ring [at least I think that they are in the ring. At the least, they write on similar subjects]. Blogger (or is it Bloggee, for females), has a DH who is a taxi driver. In Indiana, taxis cost $3 to get into the cab and $2 per mile. I know that drivers have to pay a daily or weekly rental for the cab and they don’t have insurance through work and need to make a living. But….. … That gets awfully expensive for us!!!! So, to Mrs. Bloggee with a taxi driver husband: encourage him to give his blind patrons a good rate. After all, they are more likely to use taxis on a regular basis and they are likely to recommend him to their needy friends. The only downfall for the taxi driver is that they might have a guide dog and that will mean that there will be lots of dog hair left behind. (Sorry) [I try to remember to bring a sheet]. I have only been denied a taxi once (In Washington DC, no doubt) [It was almost exactly 1year ago], he did not want to transport my guide dog. Ironically, I was in DC to lobby for accessible legislation in technology and thought that the taxi issue was a “no Brainer.”

The day shaped up well and we just chilled (Am I too old to use that terminology???) at home.
We caught up with friends and calls. Even though his sister calls every day, he usually talks to her and not me. So, I got to talk (for hours) to my SIL, today. I was reminded how much alike we are – in our desires and personalities. I was going to say that she is shaping up to be lots like me! (But, she probably always has been like that). And, we do agree on quite a few things! It was good to connect with her.
I am just venting about paratransit, again.

“B” is for “Ball”

January 26, 2011

A is for “ALWAYS”,
B is for “Ball.”
Before we get into the post, DH is now worried about identity. I was responding to someone’s post about “cultural identity,” while he was waxing eloquently on internet identity and security. So, I can’t refer to him by name anymore.
I can’t rightly call him the optimist”
Because lately, he is at best “security obsessed,” and at worst: “showing early signs of schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder” without the visual or auditory hallucinations, of course.
He doesn’t realize that only about 4 people read my blog and he is not working for the CIA; so no boss is going to look up my blog to see what they can find out about him….. … But, in any case:

I am excited about the Athletic twist that our lives are taken. I use to be a runner and avid sports enthusiast. I went to a residential school – kind of like a boarding school for blind people. We were encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. I joined almost everything. I learned to play the piano and was in music contests. I joined the track team and … … ok, I’ll admit it, I was a cheerleader. That does not mean that I was good, though. I think I got put on the cheerleading team because 1. I was good in track and had pretty good stamina and 2. I had decent rhythm (yet, not a pre-requisite for our cheerleading team). [Smile, but true] Yet, truth be told, I was pretty good at running. One Highlight of my teenage years is when I got to go to Sweden to participate in the Blind Olympics (with USABA [United States Association for Blind Athletes]) and ran the 400 and 800 (2nd and 4th respectively. Actually, I preferred long distance, but they needed me on the sprints. To put it into prospective, I joined our school’s swim team and did so miserably that I made 0 points for the team the entire season and was forgotten several times by the coaches. My best friend and I made a pact that both of us would try it. She quit after three days. But, I made a goal to make at least one point for the team. A goal that was never accomplished(Blush blush), yet I stuck it out the whole season. Did you know that many blind people don’t swim straight? It is just hard to follow the rope or wall and swim at the same time. , that was a long time ago. Yet, my family has always been a bit competitive and athletic. Over the years, my children have participated in tennis, soccer (because we all know that Soccer is its true name), American football, wrestling, track, basketball and volleyball. I enjoy tandem cycling, but it is pretty expensive to do.
Actually, in 2009 i wrote a piece for Associated content about adapting sports for the blind and visually impaired. If you are just a real sports enthusiast or really want to read more of my stuff (hahaha) you can check it out at.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1857737/adapting_sports_and_recreational_activities.html?cat=14
Keeping with our family tradition, DH is running the mini marathon—something that he needs to start workout for. I’ll try to work the water station when the marathon approaches, so I can cheer them on. It is not just for DH, but i am excited to help out. Besides, i want to see all of the fun that goes on there. Supposedly, there is a man who dribbles three basketballs, simultaneously, the entire 13.2 miles. (I wish i had a pic of that to show — but even if i did, I could not upload it here! – smile)
However, one sport is just not enough.
There is another sport in full swing. It is “Beepball! Now, Beepball is kind of like a blind man’s version of Baseball. Because there are different degrees of blindness (from those who might need glasses/other corrections to drive to the totally blind athlete), everyone wears sleepshades to be equally competitive. the object of the game is to bat a beeping ball, then run to either one of two buzzing bases. If the player in the field catches or finds the ball before the batter reaches the base, it’s an out. If not, the batter scores a run. the field is broken up into five sections and sighted people called “spotters,” broadcast the section of the field where the ball is coming. Actually, I could have done a better job at making the game blind friendly without needing the assistance of sighted volunteers…… But, no one asked me for my suggestions. Some colleagues in his department are also playing. This makes it more fun for him.
So, we had a bowl-athon to raise money for his Beepball team, “X-TREME.” Yes, he bowled so he could bat(haha). Funds are needed for uniforms, balls, sleepshades and expenses when they go to out-of-state tournaments. the blind players have to pay a fee for playing. But, the volunteers (who are spotters or helpers) pay nothing and get to go to the tournaments for free. Anyway, bowling was interesting and he met tons of people. I think that he liked bowling, but he (WE) won’t join the “blind bowling league,” because it is $15 a week plus other fees. …. …. Where do all of these unemployed blind people get the money????
Anyway, He will play against blind individuals from other states.
You can go to
wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Beep_Baseball_Association
or
http://www.nbba.org
To learn more about beep baseball.
He is a very good fielder. he says that the “spotters” just complicate things and he could do better if they would just be quiet. He tunes his ear to the ball. Soon, they will be playing in different tournaments at different states. I am excited for him. I would post his picture and tell you that he is always looking for sponsors; but I might expose his true identity. (Shame shame). Hmm, wonder how we can fund raise. I am just not good at asking people for money for anything! Maybe dh knows some of those Pakistani doctors or engineers. (MAYBE). (smile)
DH has been to a few practices and (although he thought that he would find it boring) he does enjoy the game. He was a bit disappointed that it was not more energy/strength intensive – like blind cricket. [did you notice that I left out a link to “the Blind Cricket league,” as if anyone really wants to check it out anyway — smile]
I can tell you that beep baseball is not as long as blind cricket. It takes only a few hours to finish a beep baseball game. The start of the game and the results of the game happen all on the same day. And, speaking of cricket, it is playing (on the laptop, of course) lots this week. I think that he misses playing blind cricket and even watching it with his father. I am no replacement for his father… … Just in case you were wondering. I think that India lost to South Africa, which made my DH quite content. (Smile) Although, in India’s defense, it took South Africa several hours just to win the game!!! (I think that Cricket is the longest game ever invented).
DH is also talking about getting a “goal ball,” team started. This is kind of like an indoor soccer court with people diving on the floor to stop the harder than basketball, with bells in it, ball from getting into their goal. The ball has three pea-sized holes and some large bells in it and it is kind of a rough sport because the ball can travel 50-60 MPH coming down the court toward your goal. For a link about goal ball, check out
http://www.usaba.org/Pages/sportsinformation/adaptations/goalballadapt.html

I am feeling nostalgic for basketball. I stopped when so many guys on the Pacer team were traded and it just got way too confusing. I followed IU and Purdue college ball for a while, but could not keep up with the player changes, either. I have been out of touch for a while, but I think that I will have to add my own “ball to the court,” so to speak.
In any case: whether the ball has bells, beeps, bounces, is bowled or is batted, it is getting X-Treme attention from the members of this house.

B is for “Ball,”

January 24, 2011

Making some noise about “The silent but deadly!”

January 12, 2011

Today, as usual, imran and I caught the bus for Work. It arrived a little after 6:00. Many times, we can hear the beeping noise (as many industrial vehicles) make when backing up. Lately, we hear nothing as the bus approaches. But, It is winter and the mantra “Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow!” has been chanted by almost everyone from those who wanted a white Christmas to those wanting to experience a respite from school or work to those who want to make a few extra bucks by overcharging an elderly couple to shovel their driveway. Hey, I confess that in my desire to interject the experience of snowball fights, cocoa and snuggling[Where’s the fireplace when you need it?] into my blossoming marriage, I have been known to belt out the all-too-familiar holiday favorite sometimes on an hourly basis. However, transformation is afoot. I have joined the less than 30% of blind people who call themselves “Employed.” Adorning the label and assuming the accompanying responsibilities also means that I am forced to reevaluate my perspective, as well as my willingness to embrace and dare I admit “encourage” such climental occurrences.
blind travelers everywhere are aware of the challenges that snow provides. {if ever I have someone help me with this blog, I will insert a blind person traveling in lots of snow].
I am not saying that blind people can’t or don’t travel well in snow. They certainly can and do. But, they adapt to overcome such challenges as:
1. One of the most annoying difficulties lay right on the ground. There are Blankets of snow that cover sidewalks and make it difficult to distinguish differences between ground surfaces such as pavement, grass, gravel and that manhole that serves as a landmark, or those truncated domes that are present at street corners. We can no longer use these textural changes identified by our feet to give us clues about where we are. Not all, but many blind people have difficulty walking in a straight line. I have my own theory about this one. I think that it has to do with not being able to find our focal point. But, I have not discussed my theory with a certified mobility instructor and have no research to substantiate my claim. Whatever the reason, it is doubly challenging to keep a straight line when you have very few clues from the ground that you are walking on.
2. Many times snow plows and other snow moving equipment relocate the snow from the street to the curbside. Often these mounds of snow cover the indication of the curb. Thus, we have to navigate around the snowdrift at each curb side and through any blockage at the corner walk. . Sometimes, those cane travelers have to attempt to use their cane to clear a path in the snow before moving forward. Many times, guide dogs see these snow banks as obstacles and attempt to guide the blind person around the snow. Yet, sometimes, the best course of action is to plow straight through the snow bank.
3. It amazes me that no matter how much snow falls to the ground, you can barely hear its descent. “White noise,” has a whole new concept when talking about snow. It sounds like you are walking on cotton. Sometimes, it crunches a bit, but it feels as if some of that cotton has been stuffed in your ears and you can only hear the snow. Everything feels … and sounds muted in the snow. It is difficult to hear echoes, your cane tapping on the many ground surfaces and sometimes, you have to strain to hear the traffic. We blind people use the sounds of parallel and perpendicular traffic to A. determine when it is safe to cross the street and B. help guide us on a straight course. “Friends, countrymen, lend me your ear…”

***Enter the silent, but deadly hybrid!
[insert image of hybrid car with a poison sticker looming over the top].
There have been many documented (and many more that have yet to achieve such a status) stories of accidents due to these sneaky vehicles. Some people are hosts or carriers (one who possesses the hybrid by surrendering to their materialist tendencies and/or yielding to their addiction of prestige) and there are others who become unwilling victims of the hybrid. Sometimes, someone is putting groceries into their trunks or waiting at a traffic light and without warning, is confronted with the reality that they have experienced an injury by a hybrid. To avoid the risk of contact, one should stay away from the infamous parking lot. This is one of the places that a hybrid can do the most damage. While a parking lot seems harmless and quite conducive to “on the go socializing,”, I feel that it is my civic duty to warn you of the dangers that lurk just out of earshot. hybrid is most dangerous in the stages directly before and after acceleration. It is easiest to detect when it is most active. during this stage, it can be discovered and the proper precautions can be taken. But, between stages of acceleration, it lays dormant and auditorially unidentifiable, which is frequently During the time a host or a carrier that is at a stoplight or navigating a parking situation. In these times, others aren’t aware that a host possesses a hybrid. Thus, the hybrid surges forward and makes a sneak attack on others.
Many have suggested that we should abandon the activity of walking. While once seen as a healthy exercise, research has shown that the life risks might just outweigh the health benefits. For blind people, however, disengaging in such an activity would have devastating economic, social and emotional consequences. The fear of coming in contact with a hybrid would relegate the blind person to exclusion from employment, bill paying, shopping, their spiritual development, banking, maintaining familial bonds and socializing. Certainly some of these things can be performed via telephone or internet. However, hybrid hysteria (some of which is warranted) would exile the blind to become secluded prisoners within their own four walls.
Yet, Hybrids are spreading across the US due to alluring packaging and competent advertising. Car manufacturers exploit the unhealthy prestige addictions of the wealthy by masking the harm done by the hybrid and marketing it as a much needed, environmentally conscious status symbol for the elite class. Most often, the one who possesses the hybrid is unlikely to feel the damaging effects. It is similar to being exposed to TB or being a carrier of a recessive gene of a disease. In the case of Tuberculosis, the one who has been exposed (but has not actually had the disease), is immune to the damage it can cause. In this case, the person who has enough finances to purchase the hybrid in its pretty packaging and loaded with beneficial bells and whistles also becomes a “carrier” or purchases his immunity to the harm that it can do.
Many will remember Senator John Kerry as an embarrassment to the democratic party and a failure. Have no fear, John Kerry, your legacy has been redeemed by the one act of giving your support to the Pedestrian safety Enhancement act of 2010. And, before you think that Kerry had an ulterior motive of “just wanting to stick it to automobile manufacturers,” let it be known that Senator Kerry, himself, is immune to the damage of the hybrid. Apparently, he sees no conflict of interest and I don’t feel compelled to be his beacon. I am bursting with gratitude to learn that his predilection for materialism and prestige has not effected his commitment to social justice.
So, how does this “Pedestrian Safety Enhancement act) effect the common people? Basically, his bill mandates that there be noise generated devices on all electric vehicles, hybrids, and other silent-running vehicles. In this way, the car manufacturers will be removing the Hybrid’s venom and renders the hybrid harmless to all, but one’s pocketbook.
Blind organizations such as the national Federation of the Blind(NFB) has been instrumental in setting a good example by making lots of noise to congress in the hopes that the hybrids will soon follow suit. The strategy of sound worked. The “Voice of the Blind,” will be remembered through the “sound of the hybrid.” “To all who have an ear, let him hear…”

Lest we feel that the Government has been left out of this newest development, Ray LaHood, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, will assume the arduous and most likely long suffering task of developing a range of safety standards for noise reduced vehicles. Such standards will include: ” minimum level of
sound emitted from a motor vehicle that is necessary to provide blind
and other pedestrians with the information needed to reasonably detect
a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle operating at or below the
cross-over speed,” and the tone, volume, and speed at which
the noise-making pedestrian safety systems would be most effective. Hmmm, I think that a panel of “pedestrians,” themselves, would be a good advisory board to the DOT. Might I suggest that there should be some blind individuals on the board.
I wonder if each company will decide on their own tone. That might be interesting. In this way, we can detect the model, make and manufacturer of a car just by its sound. Nissan, either out of an empathetic conscious or a looming suspicion that the bill would pass, has outfitted the new “Leaf” with a noise generator installed. While, rumor has it that Chevrolet is developing a similar system for its hybrid “Volt.”
If I still worked at the animal shelter, I would name all stray dogs and cats Nissan cars, in tribute to this proactive manufacturer.
Those of you who are considering a hybrid should have no fear. “quickly” is not a word that is recognized by government agencies. And, are you now wondering if you will be paying even more for that environmentally superior vehicle? My guess is “yes.” Take heart, though, it is less likely that you will have to pay court costs and damages.
I shout a “WOOHOO” into the snowy silence and know that Imran and I both value John Kerry’s efforts to keep America safe much more than the efforts of the Transportation Security Administration. .