Saturday, January 29, 2011

Great things about being blind. The novelty of braille.

I was going to write about something else today. I had it all picked out and everything. But, you'll have to wait for that entry as I saw in my inbox a message from a friend about great things about having friends who are blind. She said, practicing and learning braille. Everyone is fascinated by braille. they want to touch it which is good as that is what you are supposed to do with braille. People always say, "How can you tell the difference between those dots? They are so small?" When I first touched braille in grade one, I was shown my name on a card and told it was my name. I thought, "No way. They all feel the same." But I learned braille quickly as I've always loved to read and to write and that was the way to go about it. I loved and still love braille. These days, although I use a computer with screen reading software (my software reads what is written on my screen and what I type) and although I listen to audio books from the CNIB library
and from and although I am adicted to podcasts from
selected shorts from PRI
the tobolowsky files,
the newyorker fiction podcasts,
I am especially fond of the Ouch podcast on bbc about people with disabilities
I love to read braille and to write with braille.
When I am creating a story to tell or an article, I like to edit and write using braille when possible.
I have a braille notetaker but would dearly love a braille display for my computer all the time so I can read everything in braille.
They are very expensive though.
But in the beginning, we had huge bulky braille books.
One book could be from six to twenty fat volumes of braille.
When traveling to and from school for the blind, or on vacation, I carried heaps of books.
When finishing highschool in my home community, I didn't have a locker. I had a storage cupboard filled with books.
Many of my friends have wanted to learn braille and some have done so. I am always touched when they hand-braille a card for me.
One time in University, all of my residence floor mates had those little message boards outside their room doors. They used to leave notes for each other. "Are you going to dinner at 5?" Etc. I complained jokingly that I never got any messages. I went off to study and when I returned, found a piece of paper taped to my door. It had bumps on it. But they didn't seem like braille. Not having a brailler to use or even slate and stylus, they had punched holes with a pin and used a ruler or something I don't know.
I couldn't read it. They said, "You'd better figure it out. It took us hours to do." I tried my best.
Another friend once borrowed a brailler and brailled me a short story for christmas.
It took him many hours.
I read it in about five minutes and said, "That was a good story."
"you're done already?"
I appreciated the time consuming effort it took.
My mom learned braille when I did and put notes for me on the fridge, wrote me notes from Santa, the easter bunny (I never figured out how a rabbit could actually hop around on those brailler keys) and even the tooth fairy.
I am touched when I am handed braille business cards.
I hope all young children who are blind will always learn braille.
I hope that braille displays come down in price so everyone who wants one can have one.
I love braille.
Thanks Louis Braille for your wonderful invention.

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