Thses were originally posted as New Year’s resolutions, but I think sighted people should be encouraged to keep them in mind at all times.
by Dog’s Dinner
It’s 2002, and I have finally decided to log-on and find out what all the fuss is about. It’s refreshing to come across an organisation that doesn’t spend
at least 75% of it’s Committee meetings worrying about whether it should be an organisation “for” or “of” disabled people – or is that people with disabilities,
people with impairments, or (God forbid) people with “sight problems” as RNIB thinks blind people wish to be described, (and that, despite RNIB having
several blind people on its Executive Committee).
I thought it might be fun to put forward a few New Year’s resolutions for well meaning members of the public to consider. You’ll understand, given my name,
that I tend to favour the dog-endowed, but where I say “guide dog owner” I do of course mean any blind person (but not people with sight problems).
Members of the public, repeat after me:
1. “When a guide dog and its owner walk past me in the street I will not stop and stare.” It has just occurred to me that, even though the person can’t
actually see me, they can nevertheless tell that I am standing stock still, holding my breath, following them with my eyes and following up the charade
with, “ahhhh”, (albeit in sympathy for them or relief for myself).”
2. “When a guide dog and its owner get on the tube, and there are empty seats further down the carriage, I will think to mention this to the guide dog owner
so that they don’t have to stand up all journey.”
3. “When I am sitting on the tube and a guide dog owner gets on, I won’t say “where are you getting off” and then follow up their reply with a grunt. It
has just occurred to me that this isn’t a particularly conclusive conversation. It has also occurred to me that – if I am a man and the guide dog owner
is a woman – it might not be a particularly comforting thing for me to do. Likewise, if the guide dog owner gives me a vague answer like “Oh I’m fine thank
you I’m not getting off for a while yet” I won’t press it by saying “yes but I asked where you were getting off precisely”.”
4. “When I have kindly offered to help a guide dog owner on to a very crowded tube train, found them a seat, or what ever, I won’t proceed to bore them
with my trivial conversation throughout the rest of their journey. It has occurred to me that, if I helped a non-disabled person, I would merely expect
them to say “thank you” and then I would be on my way. There is no reason why, just because the person I have helped is disabled, they should be interested
in my job, my hobbies, where I live, and what I had to eat last night. It has also occurred to me that still less do they wish to impart this type of information
5. “and finally, when I see a guide dog sitting up on a tube, I will not fart in its face, drop my newspaper on its head, and then compound my felonies
by inflicting my attentions (and thus the smell of my coffee, tobacco and last night’s curry staled breath) all over it and its owner – but
6. if the dog wants to introduce itself to me (which it generally does by sticking its snout in my groin, or up my skirt), I will reciprocate with loving
affection and suitably complimentary remarks about the dog’s appearance, cleverness and behaviour (but without annoying the dog’s owner or imparting any
details of my own dog’s failings in these areas).”
Here endeth the New Year’s resolutions.