I’ve wanted to become good at chess for a while. It seems like something I should do well in – I program, I meditate, I love music, all the traits one hears about in good chess players, but I always get my ass kicked by the computer. I heard that the Hadley School for the Blind offered a chess course. Initially, I wrote it off – I wouldn’t want to go to some lame blind institution just to take a chess course. While talking to another blind friend, she said: “It’s online!” It looked great – free, you get to go at your own pace, so I figured I’d give it a try.
I detailed the problems shopping while blind in the previous post, and won’t rehash that. After our harrowing experience with Acme, we decided to give Genuardi’s a try, per my Mom’s suggestion. We had a much better time. They have always prided themselves on customer service, and they lived up to that with us.
Shopping while blind presents several obstacles. The idiot dorks at independent living centers tell blind people that they must behave like sighted people at all times, applying standards which in some cases do not apply. In the case of shopping, this means firstly finding a way there, then standing around for half an hour at the service counter until someone notices a blind person with no purchases obviously in need of assistance. It then means telling the person what you want while they go and get it. Some of the more extremist counselors will even tell you to memorize the store’s layout yourself, since they consider asking anyone for help verboten. As anyone who has shopped at a store for more than a week will attest, the layout can change radically over night. After getting groceries, it then means finding the way back to your place, and let me assure you that carrying a bunch of bags while wielding a white cane presents many issues. Try it some time.
I finally got a serious keyboard. I spent $60 on amazon for the Cherry classic 104-key keyboard with a PS/2 port. I got so tired of typing on crap, and just using whatever crap I had lying around, and knew that I deserved better. Now, I know what it feels like to really type, and I remember the good old days of IBM keyboards. Initially, I even considered purchasing a good old clicky keyboard, but I decided to just find a good one on Amazon and throw it on with the order containing my phone. I didn’t know if I would regret my decision or not, but now I feel good about my purchase.
I have gone through several cordless phones since they became popular. At first, I didn’t use them, then got one, then realized their convenience, and now I worry about the radiation. Anyways, despite the health risk, I still use one. More recently, I began buying telephones with talking Caller ID. This says the name of the person calling, which comes in handy for the blind. I’ve bought all Panasonic for this, I think the only company making such phones. They all have had similar designs. My first one worked nicely, my second one sucked royally, and now I have gotten a third.