Thursday, February 9

Emersed in Emersion

Greetings. I've started my blindfold, or as they call it "emersion," training and things are going good so far. I started on Tuesday. The first couple of days were tiring and a little stressful, mainly because I was still learning where things were in the building. Today I felt more confident about where things were, or at least the places I frequent, than I did the previous days. I'll be the first to admit that I may not be able to find a room right away, but at least I feel confident about finding it in a reasonable amount of time, instead of getting lost, which is bound to happen several times anyway.

Two things have already come up that are challenging to me. The first happened today where I got chewed out by one of my coworkers about not wearing my blindfold. I've had discussions with a few of the staff members about this very topic, of whether the staff who are blind should wear the blindfold. My thought is no, since it seems redundent for a blind person to wear a blindfold. However, the person that I was talking with today said that we wear them to support the people who are either fully sighted or have some vision, since they have to wear them. A different person I was talking with yesterday at lunch put it well. She said, "Is the point to training people in the skills of blindness, or to make a statement." The staff here are split on this issue, and I'm sure the debate will go on. For my part, I'm wearing my blindfold. Not to support the people who have to or the nonvisual techniques (even though I do believe in nonvisual techniques), but mainly to appease the people who say that it's a statement. And really, after the first hour of wearing it this morning, I didn't think about it. I went through my classes, which are the same as the students take (Braille, cane travel, daily living skills, industrial arts, and others). There were a few times in the day when I did think about it, but only briefly.

The other thing that happened was in industrial arts where I had to take apart and then put back together several locks which are embedded in wood. I should say right off that I've don't considered myself to be mechanically or home repair inclined, so this activity has been very challenging. The first simple lock took me 25 minutes, to disassemble and reassemble. The second lock, which was a dead bolt, took the rest of the time on Tuesday, which ended up being around an hour and a half. Disassembling wasn't hard, but putting it back together and lining up the screws, was very hard. I did the third lock today, and that took about the same amount of time as the second. Today's lock was a standard lock, but with a switch on one side to flip one way or the other, to lock and unlock.

Even though I was royally frustrated by the end of Tuesday's time, after dropping some screws several times, and having to line up the screws, two hours after that, I thought to myself, "I feel like I can now go to a home improvement store, get several screw drivers, and fix the screws on my apartment door." As it happens, next Thursday, the people who have industrial arts are scheduled to go to the Lowes Home Improvement Store, and I now have my chance to get those screws, and perhaps other tools. I might even look for a toolbox for them. I still may not be very home improvement oriented, but at least I will be able to fix some of these things myself, instead of asking for and waiting for someone to come over and do it for me. The next lock is on a make shift door, which I'll have to take apart and then reassemble. I'll do that one tomorrow, and it will probably take the entire 2 hour time too, but that's ok.

Everything else is going fine. I'm gradually getting into the groove of a 5 day work week. I'm still tired at various parts of the day, but that will go away in time, hopefully. I think that I'm going to learn more about my neighborhood from one of my coworkers again this weekend, so that will be nice.

Until then, this is the tired, but satisfied, Wayne signing off.

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