10.12.2009

Someone's eyes

In addition to working in DreamSchool's admissions office, I also have a job being eyes.

Yup, eyes.

There's a visually impaired student within my major at DreamSchool, and whenever he has an assignment to go out into the city and observe/talk to people/etc., I go along to be his eyes. I describe our surroundings, help him navigate the area, and facilitate conversations between him and strangers.

I did that for the first time today, and wow: it was (no pun intended) eye-opening. He's not completely blind -- he has one prosthetic eye and one "real" eye, but he has horrible tunnel vision so it's quite difficult for him to see and focus, especially in large crowds (which we were in today).

(He also has a seeing eye dog named Harriet who, quite frankly, rocks my socks and flips my flops. It takes every ounce of strength I have in me to not be petting her constantly while she's "working." I have to wait until her harness is off to pet her and puppy-talk her.)

But this guy is really cool. He's very sweet and very smart. It was a bit awkward at first while I was trying to figure out exactly what he could see, so that I didn't just tell him things he already knew. But we quickly got things figured out and I had a blast today! Honestly, it made me pay so much more attention to the little things just so that I could tell him about them. I usually don't notice things like that.

I also feel so, so lucky that I have correctable eye sight in both my eyes. I may joke that I'm blind, but honestly, I can see just fine with contacts so I have no business complaining! While he and I were talking I found out he has to use a special computer to read, and he's had to change out of several classes at DreamSchool thus far because teachers have been allergic to Harriet. He can't ever drive, and I had to help him find the spot to swipe his subway pass and grab onto polls on the trains. It's just an entirely different way of life.

He also taught me football! When we got back to our dorms, we went to his room so I could pet/play with Harriet and he could "watch" the football game. (If he sits right up close to the screen, he can see vaguely what's going on. But he relies mostly on hearing the announcers to follow the game.) So now I feel all smart since I know what "first down" and "2nd and 9" mean.

He'll have several more assignments like this throughout the semester, and I'm already excited about what's next. It was an amazing way to spend the morning -- observing and describing every bit of this city's beauty. And I'm getting paid to do it!

6 comments:

Kait said...

Too stinkin' cool!!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS!!

Mary in Michigan

Stephany said...

That sounds like SUCH a cool job! How do you always find the coolest jobs around? I'm jealous! :) (But happy for you!)

Anonymous said...

A certain pupster is now officially extremely jealous of this Harriet bitch.

Wait... What Max?

Oh. He says that, actually, he'd really like to meet her.

You and and the Pook need to have a talk with that boy...

Pops

The Nanny said...

Stephany--someone from the disabilities office emailed me, she found me because I took that class last semester and got an A in it :)

Monica H said...

That's such an awesome thing to do!