pragmatics

Pragmatically Blind

A few months ago I listened to an episode of a podcast called Invisibilia and the topic was expectations. They recounted how expectations can have both positive and negative results, and talked to a blind man named Daniel Kish who has a remarkable sense of his environment.

What struck me most about the discussion was not the discourse surrounding sight or the lack thereof, but on the arguments in favor of or against the use of 'clicking' for blind people to navigate their world (referred to as echolocation). Many blind people are discouraged from clicking, it seems, as they are told that it is not socially appropriate. By whose standards is it not appropriate? By sighted people.

I find it appalling that individuals out there "helping" people are limiting functional behaviors which can foster independence because people with sight may not understand it or somehow find it uncomfortable. In this case, it's not blind people who need to adjust, but everybody else.

★ Lessons From Furniture Stores

I realized today that one of the kazillion things I love about Ikea is the following:

No one follows you around and tries to ask you if you need help finding anything and tells you their name as if you were actually interested in knowing it.

I went to three separate furniture stores today with the sole intention of doing some window shopping. At each one, a salesperson materialized from thin air and peppered me with questions.

It was incredibly annoying.

And now, I shall forever think of the annoying salespeople when I walk into a patient's room and start rattling off a barrage of questions.

"Make it more casual," I'll tell myself. "Maybe it'll pay off to let them do some of the asking once in a while."

I just have to make sure I refrain from asking something like, "Oh, hi, what brings you here?" lest there be blank stares and glares for days.