These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


it's funny the things we take for granted in our lives. i know that my vision was something i probably did...until it was gone.

it did return to some extent, but i'm still considered legally blind, since there are a few things i simply can't do.

the way things work for me is i have to adapt to an environment. it usually takes some time. it likes a need to acclammate my brain, rather than my eyes to where i am at all times.

i've noticed on my walks to herrick district library how i've adapted to my environment. when we first arrived in holland and then started going to the library, it was hard. things like climbing the steps up front -- which are difficult to see for me because they blend in -- to waiting to get checked out and even going upstairs to the A/v section. on several occasions, i'd almost trip coming down the outside steps, or i'd have to walk very slowly to make sure i didn't trip.

but more than that, i've mastered the route i take, knowing when to cross the two streets to get there -- pine ave. being a busy one at times. i have learned to listen for cars as well as watching for them and judging distance is easy now. i know the first entrance away from the library on 12th street is an out and the other one is an in. simple, i know. but to me it makes a difference.

i am able to walk pretty much around the neighborhoods and take extensive walks all the way downtown past the knickerbocker or up to kollen park.

one of the hardest things i had to get used to was the crossing signs. at first, i had trouble finding them on street corners. i'd be scanning for them with my eyes as i approached the corner, so that when i arrived there, i'd know whether to cross or not.

i now navigate them easily and know the traffic pattern well enough that i know when it's safe to cross even when it says not to (coming up fro mpine at ninth st. is one place where you can run across if no one is moving east on ninth.)

the office goes without saying. when i first started working, it was hard distinguishing who was who. i used to mistake our former business writer bob for someone else in the office. (if you read this bob, don't ask me who.)

i spent many of my first months at the paper disoriented because of it. sure there were some folks you couldn't miss. i won't mention any names, but those from the office know who i'm talking about.

but slowing i recognized people by their walk, their voice, their smell (perfume not stank) and just where they sit in the office.

also, it was so difficult when i attended meetings in places i'd never been before. i didn't know people or where they sat. finding name plates sometimes was tough. or finding out where reporters sat at their designated table.

when i attended my first holland city council meeting ro study session, i was in a panic. there were about eight or nine of them and i couldn't distinguish them, especially in a study session. but slowly i've learned the voices and faces and other things to distinguish one from another.

and now i walk into most township or city meetings and i know pretty much who's who and what they are in the group.

depending on the environment, i'd say it takes me a good couple to five months to completely adapt to a location. it's a tough process to go through. but once it's done, getting around is pretty easy.


Blogger Jess said...

if you and d ever move again, you should attend city council meetings weeks... no... months prior to interviewing so that you can impress a new employer w/ your knowledge of the council's stand on issues, and their odors...

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