A Matter of Letters

Gaining low vision encouraged me to consider brief, daily interactions. Mundane chores take ony significance as I marvel at my adapted perspective. Ordinary, routine tasks now become case studies for: how can I do this better?

Don’t forget, my visual impairment cuts down on my depth perception and awareness. But I circumvent this inconvenience by using a white cane to move independently, wearing a brimmed hat to avoid things such as low hanging branches, and changing habits as needed like when I hold doors for nonexistent people as I blogged about before.

When interactions come up that make me pause and encourage me to figure out a different habit, I do so.

At my job, if I’m up front, I’m the person who takes the bundle of company mail from the letter carrier. The door bell chimes; I buzz in the USPS employee. I scoop up the outgoing mail from the reception desk as she shuffles through her stack, sorting my office’s mail from the other building bulk. I stand, waiting for the moment of exchange.

I smile at her to ease the trade I anticipate. I hand out my stack as she offers her stack, stopping in midair. I reach for the incoming mail and she takes the outgoing letters. Sometimes while in this stationery DMZ, I flail a bit, grasping empty air, botching the rhythm. I offer a greeting in hopes this distracts from my flubs.

I contemplate, I analyze, hoping to learn. I reverse engineer, deconstruct moments to understand them. I decide that as Giver, I should offer my letters only to a certain point and wait for the Receiver to take them.

As Receiver, I should–despite my mistrusted visuals–do a grab/dash to accept the envelopes coming my way like a running back accepting the football from a quarterback, no time to waste.

I still prefer transactions when the Giver is too busy to notice my missed efforts, but not so busy to hear my Thank You as she pushes open the door, exiting the office in a blur of government issued uniform and envelopes. Neither snow, nor rain–you know.


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