Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A Day in the Town - Dave

When I have the need to go in to town I walk quickly up the road and get on the bus, usually upstairs if a double decker is running on my route on the day. I know where the nearest bus stop is to where I need to go so I am ready to get off and head off into town.

I know the quickest route from A to B from where I am to where I need to get to, so off I go dodging round numerous people with numerous bulky shopping bags and around all the street furniture (which is the council's correct name for such things as lampposts and any other type of post) and the large refuse bins for communal use and the seating areas and the large square concrete planters containing pretty colourful seasonal flowers.

I arrive at the large store and know what I want and where it can be located, so I make a bee line for the desired area, get what I went for and I am away on the return trek home.

When I take my partially sighted daughter on exactly the same journey, we have had to learn "how to cope". I walk slower up the road whilst holding my daughter's arm and along the way I am letting my daughter know when we are approaching a section of uneven pavement, although my daughter does know our particular road layout pretty good now. On other roads I mention whether the upcoming curb to cross the road is a deep or shallow step and at the same time I am looking out for a dropped curb of a driveway, which does make crossing the road easier.

I find the nearest seats on the bus and try and sit down before we are jostled about, having our shins and arms and fingers bruised on the backs of the seating or the metal poles when the bus is in motion, although some bus drivers do wait for us to be seated before driving off when they acknowledge that my daughter has a white stick.

When we get near the bus stop to get off the bus I start looking around to see if anyone else appears to be getting ready to get off the bus and if so I look to see if they are going to be pushing pushchairs or going to be in our way for any reason that may prevent us from getting off the bus safely.

So, we are off the bus and jolly well off into the town. The first thing that I think about is that we are now walking two abreast with me needing to hold my daughter's arm to guide her past the hundreds of people walking towards us who in some cases are reluctant to give up even a few inches of pavement.

I hold my daughter's arm for reassurance, especially when it is a sunny day when the glare of the sun can make the going difficult for my daughter and the same if it is rather gloomy, but inbetween weather conditions is not too bad.

I am constantly looking far ahead for the most convenient route to take that has space for us to move unhindered and has even ground to walk on to get to our destination and at the same time looking for any immediate obstructions in our way whilst letting my daughter know what the state of the pavement is like ahead.

The first obstacle at the store is the door. Some you push, some you pull, some are automatic and some doors can be very heavy to open. Either way, I judge if the opening is wide enough to allow two people to get through side by side.

Then you are confronted with the aisles. Some are wide and some are narrow, it is easy to knock items off off a shelf if not careful and there is usually a display stand across the aisle to get around whilst negotiating the store full of people.

After making our purchase we most often find somewhere uncrowded for a sit down and a drink before we set off for our trek home, which gives me time to sit and reflect on how proud I am of my daughter, and how we most certainly have learnt "how to cope".

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