The Phoenix (thepheenixeyri) wrote,
The Phoenix

[lj idol] week 2: Uphill both ways, barefoot

I lay back in bed listening to "Jack and Jill" Only it wasn't a CD: it was a record. One of those flexible kind the Library of Congress sent out with Magazine subscriptions. Eric liked Ranger Rick. So did I for that matter, though even then I'd never admit to that. The year was nineteen eighty-five: I was in Kindergarten.


The braille Writer sat in front of me. I was in 2nd grade, and was writing out spelling centences. I would have strong hands from this, or would I? I'd been using a Perkins Brailer ever since I was practically in Kindergarten. The noise hasn't changed, even to this day, even with the newer electric Braillers.


I hooked up the Braille N speak to the printer and was elated when I didn't have to scribe stuf to someone anymore: I could do this all on my own. It was something that would last a while then fade. I was a senior in high school then. This was my first foray into technology that made me seemingly like everyone else. I could turn my homework in in print, like the rest of my sighted friends and peers.


But the real battles didn't start there. They started in college. I know what it's like to have, and not have. I'm in the generation that actually knows what the flying frak a record is. I'm in the generation where CD's were introduced. I'm in the generation where we still had to...

Click ! the tape stopped as I wrote down the quote for my paper, hoping to God that I'd gotten the punctuation right. Rewinding to make sure I heard it write, editing in the few words I'd forgotten, then rewinding it to catch the page number the quote was on. It was 2000 and I was still in Indiana, going to Indiana university north west. I had a computer! My very first computer! I had books. I had internet. But the internet was dialup. The computer was one of the first pentium 3's Where the MHZ's were still in the nine hundreds and 512 RAM was just being introduced as was the 56K modems. My JAWS (Job Access With Speech) version was 3.7. I was on the computer a lot, but then I was more a writer/editor back then than I seem to be now. My novel about a girl who lived free in Chicago was one of the main things on my mind. Publishing had never once entered into my mind: My writing was my escape. I didn't do near the role play back then as I do now. Or not on such a large scale.


Fast forward to three years later, and now I'm at FGCU. FGCU who had a T1 connection. FGCU who had an adaptive Services Office who handled getting my books for me. In electronic or CD format. FGCU that had online databases that I could pick through then Coppy/paste quotes out of the articles I wanted. No more worrying about trying to get punctuation right. No more having to worry about whether or not I misspelled an authors name; I could just paste that, too.

No more waiting for the slowness that was dialup to pull up a page. Now it was only seconds and it was there. I got spoiled by FGCU in a lot of ways. There would be *no* freaking *way* I would be going back to dialup after way in hell. It was bad enough that I had to put up with it durring the summers of the years I was there. After graduation? No more dialup.

No more having to carry a record player around: Now it was a CD player I needed to worry about: A Telex Scholar that could read RFB and D books, MP3 CD's and regular ones, too. No more having to rely just on tapes for my notes: Out comes the trusty PAC (Personal All-purpose Computer) mate, and I could type with the best of them.


In some ways I feel bad for some of the younger generations of blind kids out there. They're not on the cusp of the generation like I am. They'll never realize what it's like, unless they advocate for themselves, to do homework the way we did, worse yet, they won't realize what people even older than I had to go through to get through college. Many of us, myself included, had to climb uphill both ways, barefoot in order to keep up with our sighted peers. We have to do things more carefully, better, seemingly faster, stronger, than them in order to be recognized by them as even being half a person, a being with half a brain. Even then it doesn't work but half of the time. We are often seen as "amazing" or "superpeople" for doing what we do, when all we do is do things differently. Sure it may take us a bit longer (Although in some instances that is not the case at all) but at least we get it done. At least many of us are willing to try.

We grow tired of trudging the hills, but we continue to do it because it is what we must do in order to strive to be the best many of us can be, it is what we must do if we wish to survive to become productive members of our society, our comunities, and our world.

this my entry for week 2 of therealljidol thank you for reading
Tags: lj idol, lji s6, ljidol week2
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