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Finding Humor in the Unseen: 10 Unexpected Things That Annoy Blind People

Living with blindness or vision impairment is not a laughing matter. It presents challenges, both large and small, for all who live with it on a daily basis. We at Industries for the Blind, Inc. understand this and strive to generate awareness about the realities of living with vision loss whenever possible. On the flip side of things, our team likes to have a little fun with it too, which is why we wanted to draw awareness to a different side of living with blindness – the things no one talks about – the annoyances!

Blind or sighted, we all have pet peeves so, when we came across an article titled, “Ten quirky things that (really) annoy people who are blind” written by Gayle Yarnall with Perkins School for the Blind, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some of them with you. In seeing this article, we dug even further and found a list of things from one of our favorite visually impaired authors, Nicole Kear, who also shared some of her daily struggles with an air of humor she is best known for.

The lists are funny, quirky and, according to our staff, relatable. Here is a list of our favorites:

  1. Tiny little stickers on every single piece of fruit. Who would’ve thought such a small thing could present such a big problem? Gayle jokingly explains her inability to locate them and wonders if her family will find “hundreds of them in her coffin 50 years after she is dead.” Pretending not to notice her family constantly picking them off fruit being served at her house, she is certain she’s eaten hundreds of them over her lifetime.
  2. Pieces of paper taped outside the stall door of a public bathroom. What does this little note explain? Is there a County Fair going on this weekend or will the entire bathroom flood if the toilet is flushed? Gayle’s solution? A law stating these notes can only be up in case of an actual emergency.
  3. When someone comes up to you in a crowd and says, “Guess who this is?” As Gayle explains, blind people “don’t have a special place in our memory where we file away a mental recording of everyone we have ever met.” In order to prevent an embarrassing situation, simply stating a name will make the exchange run a whole lot more smoothly.
  4. Mystery leftovers in the refrigerator. According to Gayle, sighted folks have it easy here. You come across a container that’s been crammed in your fridge for weeks, you can gently open the lid and peek in while holding your nose. If you are blind, you’ve got to get down and dirty with the sniff test. Not worth it. In the garbage it goes.
  5. Car door handles. Can manufacturer’s please put them all in the same place to prevent the embarrassment of a full-on pat down for blind folks?
  6. Looking at things people want to show you on their smartphones. Everyone loves a good YouTube video. A funny photo? Sure! Nicole explains that she would love to share in the excitement just, “don’t quiz her later” because – she can’t see!
  7. Operating a remote control. Simple right? Not exactly. Now that your “standard TV can turn into a rocket ship and do brain surgery” the, roughly, hundred buttons each one holds make it a much larger task than it once was.
  8. Ordering from a dinner menu. Nicole prefers to expand her palate by simply having “what she’s having” to save herself the grief of trying to navigate a menu.
  9. Signing credit card receipts. Or any document for that matter. Good luck deciphering a blind person’s John Hancock that certainly doesn’t end up neatly on the dotted line.
  10. Applying eye makeup. Eye liner? Lip liner? It’s always a gamble for people like Nicole who suffer from color blindness. She’s thankful for her husband and friends who always let her know if she’s got it all wrong.

We hope you found these as thought-provoking as we did. If you’ve got something to add, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Also, if you’re interested in hearing more about Nicole Kear, take a listen to our recent interview with her on Blind Living Radio.


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