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?