The White Cane and the Gray Area

My sister and I go shopping for shoes. She searches the rows of heels; I study the rows of flats. We both find some pairs to try on, sitting on those benches shoe stores provide every so often next to low, tilted mirrors.

I don’t like one of my picks. I stuff them back into the shoebox and stand to head back over to my aisle of flats. As I take my first step, I sense I’m getting away with something, a little rebellion. I stride over to place my rejected pair of shoes back in the stack, feeling like I’m in on a joke no one else knows. I select another pair to try on and head back to my bench.

I’m walking without my white cane.

It’s for a few dozen steps. I know it’s a flat surface, and we’re the only ones browsing in the store. The saleslady chats loudly enough for me to know her location the entire time we are in the store. With my partial vision, I remain confident enough to move around in brief times like these without my cane.

Anytime this happens, I experience a short thrill. Then, I move into an area where I need to use my cane, and so I do without hesitation. I wonder if anyone ever notices my quick jaunts, my blind sleight of hand. It might be as confusing as when one sees my glasses + cane combo. The fluidity of disability can confuse people. Or, maybe I’m pegged as some kind of faker, like those scammers on the insurance commercials wearing neck braces.

Another day in the gray space of low vision. I ended up buying two pairs of shoes, so I’m pleased.

What’s your gray space?


6 Comments Add yours

  1. April Brown says:

    I’ve been meaning to reply to the last few posts. I’m getting there now. Now legally blind, with hopefully a diagnosis soon. Some days I need an arm, as I have no white cane yet. Though my wooden cane certainly frees me when I physically need it. I so wanted to rebel when she said I needed to think about it today. I can rebel another two weeks, then see where we go from there.

    1. April: Thanks for the comment. I like how my white cane canvasses a new area for me, and if no obstacles are there and I don’t plan to venture out of the area, I can move without my cane with confidence.

  2. Tracy Stine says:

    Sounds a lot like me 🙂 I’m also legally blind, plus Deaf. I’ve only needed a cane in the last 7 years and strange enough I feel naked without it 🙂 People too doubt my blindness when they see my glasses+cane combo LOL

    1. Tracy: Welcome, fellow glasses + cane user! Thanks for letting me know you can relate.

  3. Modwyn says:

    As a glasses + cane user, I can relate to this – both the gray space and the shoe shopping!

    The most amusing times for me are when I’m seated somewhere and the cane is folded at my feet. No one knows I’m blind until I get up to walk around. Then I get to shout, “Surprise!”

    1. Modwyn: Cheers for shoe shopping! And, there’s nothing like that little SNAP of the cane when it straightens out to catch those gawkers.

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