By Ademola Adeleke
The blind marry themselves. I mean; blind men marry their female counterparts.
But guess what? As impossible as this seems, the blind couple often lives comfortably and independently to a reasonable extent.
They both assume every responsibility as apportioned traditionally by their individual gender and raise the middle finger at whoever maligns their happy union.
With the influx of assistive technologies, it’s even much easier for a blind couple to live together in an apartment without bothering their neighbours for sight intensive assistance. They can wash, iron, sweep, cook and do all other house chores originally, and for exercises that require eye-sight, all they need to do is point their devices at the required spot and the artificial intelligence will do its usual wonders.
Well, I don’t want to talk much on blind couples raising infants though. You know, you and I wouldn’t enjoy imagining a floor asphalted with baby’s poop and a couple blindly walking right into it.
Gross, right? But such is avoidable with the availability of a nanny in the house. Financially capable blind couple, often times, ensures to hire one most especially to assist them raise their children to a manageable age from which they can take over the parenting responsibilities.
It’s really not an enviable life- you see. But what else would they have done? The blind has only a few special schools scattered across Nigeria. The blind students live and study in these special schools for years; get to know one another, play, muse, bond and share their bitter stories with one another. These schools are usually unisex, and with the unlimited time the students spend with one another, romantic feelings start to creep in.
Naturally, the only one who can exactly relate to whatever you’re going through is that person who has also been there. Therefore, a blind girl tends to feel freer and more original with a man who is in same condition as her, as she wouldn’t be inclined to always fit into a sighted spouse’s expectations; and vice versa. Or better still, perhaps the blind husband has faced a lot of disappointments and rejections in his attempt to secure a non-disabled woman and hence resorted to marrying his kind.
The above is my theory though, and my theory alone. Meanwhile, should you want to have a feel of programmes which help blind persons with sight-requiring tasks, you can check “Seeing AI” on App Store or “SuperSense” on Play Store. The two are undergoing some modifications at the moment, but you might want to play with them, especially for those of you who never had toys as kids.
A self-conscious blind person, especially a young adult, often puts a lot of work into making people see him or her differently.
You know, blindness is that disability which makes you appear helpless and unintelligent. You’re perceived as less privileged even when you are financially buoyant. So, in order to earn a little respect from the society, an average blind person proves his relevance by living ostentatiously. Consciously dressing in expensive clothes, acquiring enviable properties, using princely gadgets; and for the broke ones, displaying academic sagacity to meet a warm reception.
Don’t blame us. We only receive friendly hands after having flaunted some admirable qualities. Those of us who have nothing to show are still feeling alienated because of the neglect suffered from the society.
My partially sighted friend would have been catapulted by his in-laws if not for the ingenious idea proposed by his girlfriend. The lady, knowing his parents’ wahala, had to make his boyfriend assume a big boy personality. The young man simply went to the lady’s house with a rented SUV driven by a chaufffeur, passed the car off as his, and the lady’s parents who, initially, were vehemently against their daughter’s union with a ”half-blind guy”, sized him up on noticing the car and gave their blessings. Mind you, the guy was partially sighted, not totally blind.
The blind wash and iron their clothes, sweep the floor, wash the plates and cook like every other person.
They can feel the brim and container of the bowl, so it will be stupid to ask how they wash clothes. The only reasonable question will be to know how they know when the clothes have been cleanly washed.
Anyway, they usually don’t know. All they do is keep squeezing and scrubbing till their instinct tells them to stop. They need not to be told that the collar and armpit absorb the most dirt, so their focus is often on those parts. They wash for a much longer time till they’re convinced the clothes are clean.
Sometimes, when there are people around, they really do not have to waste much energy washing an already clean-washed fabric.
What the blind cannot see, they feel. Lion, fire, booty, just name it. That’s why all they need while sweeping is their bare feet and a little concentration. Their bare feet inform them on how dirt free the sweeping has made the swept area, and the concentration is needed to know which area has been attended to and which area has not.
Although a little onerous and time-consuming, especially for a lazy ass like me, but the floor will eventually be tidied up. Yoruba people will say; ”elede mi ad’oyo, ariwo e l’apo”. This somehow translates to: ”I might have taken a longer route, but I’ll definitely reach my destination”.
iii. It’s much easier to wash plates. Scrub, scrub and scrub till there’s no oily feeling when you touch the plates. Even you can do it with your eyes shut.
Ironing of clothes can be deceiving sometimes. Although we try to press the iron on the fabric as hard as we can, but we often have our focus on the gators forming, thus losing concentration on the crispness of the fabric in whole. So, often more than not, we succeed in making peng gators on our clothes but fail to get rid of the creases completely.
The iron men among us don’t make such mistakes though. All they do is keep ironing till they are convinced it’s been properly done. Feeling the surface of the fabric for visible creases doesn’t give accurate result. In other words, our palms can be insensitive to some creases on the fabric.
The blind cook just like every other person. The only difference is that we’re often exposed to some mishaps in the kitchen. We sometimes burn our hands, cut ourselves with the knife, knock a few things over or spill some stuff.
We simply ensure to place all the condiments and utensils at a familiar spot for easy access. With that, we can easily reach for whatever we need and finish the cooking without anybody’s help. In fact, I know a few blind ladies who can cook professionally without needing an extinguisher or first aid kit on standby.
An authentic blind person will never see again.
And when I say ”authentic”, I mean a medically diagnosed blind individual and not one faking blindness for a healing drama at some church crusade. The only reason a blind person can have his sight restored is when his eye defect is medically reversable.
Example is when the lens is covered with cataract, thus blinding the patient. If the cataract isn’t chronic yet, a simple surgical replacement of the lens should make the blind person see again. There might be other redeemable eye conditions which I’m not aware of.
But you have to believe me that no amount of speaking in tongues or saliva spitting will give a blind man an extra pair of eyes. Nollywood and our fake clergymen have been the cause of your confusion. Please, don’t be a gullible human being in your life.
The blind see in their dreams. Yeah, we see within the dreamscape, just as we see in real life.
Many blind people are not conscious of this fact, but the blind do have the illusion of sightedness even in real life. When a blind person faces a particular direction, he imagines all the things that are supposedly within sight in his head, and the mental picture adjusts to accommodate the new discoveries he makes everytime he comes in contact with the real objects around.
For instance, I’m lying on my bed while typing this. I can imagine myself lying on the bed, I can imagine myself holding the phone, and I can imagine a standing fan right in front of me. That’s because I’m familiar with the room though. All the afore mentioned imaginations are just like normal human sight to me. It’s an illusion anyway. But if I go straight to where I know the fan always is, gropes around and finds no fan there anymore, then my imagination of the room will immediately change to a room without a standing fan.
See, I can’t exemplify it better than that. Let the brightest minds grab my point. Anyway, we do experience a similar illusion in our dreams, thus giving us a sense of sightedness.
PS: All the facts discussed in this article are products of my interview with a few blind individuals; therefore, I didn’t just write out of personal experience.