Who in her right mind likes to be startled? Surprised like for a birthday party or a present, sure, but startled? Unless I’m in the mood for a creepy Halloween movie, I don’t think so.
Living with a visual impairment means there are plenty of times on a daily basis that I’m startled. People appear of nowhere like they apparated a la Harry Potter from my blind side. I remain grateful to those who announce themselves as I’ve mentioned before on Adventures in Low Vision. The auditory nerd I am awaits the day when our culture embraces leitmotifs (right, Modwyn?) for common greetings. My patience will be tested, I know.
But what about animate things like my pets that can’t announce themselves? Well, that can be a problem. Dogs and cats have a way of moving around without you realizing it, one stealthy step at a time. One minute, clear hallway, the next a yowl as I accidentally step on the tabby’s tail.
The way to get around this is simple: my pets wear a collar with ID tags. I call it a jingle collar for obvious reasons. The gentle noise announces their presence. When the terrier wears his jingle collar, he can never startle me, trip me, or get in the way when I’m carrying something bulky or hot from the oven. Problem solved.
People will still “apparate” next to me, but my pets won’t when they wear a jingle collar. If only I could figure out a way to make jingle collars fashionable for people who don’t introduce themselves…
What startles you? How do you minimize it? Tell me about it.
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I love the idea of people wearing jingle collars! 🙂 Sometimes my sensors of the space around me malfunction and it seems people just appear. I hate being startled like that! The only way I’ve found to minimize it is to yell at family members when they sneak up on me…probably not the best way! I rarely find it a problem with my pets, probably because we have wood floors and they all click when they walk. Plus, my dog’s breathing sounds makes her sound like Darth Vader. 🙂
You have a Dog Vader, Trisha! But what does Scooby the cat sound like?
Dog Vader- I love that! It will probably become her nickname for when she’s begging for food because that’s when she really goes into Dog Vader mode.
Scooby stomps with four feet and clicks with one…. I can’t think of any movie characters that do that! We just call him Stompy Cat.
What a musical home that would be! I am afraid my family wouldn’t cooperate or would find other ways to startle me! Its something they have always enjoyed! On a similar note, I can’t always recognise faces, especially out of doors, but I do recognise Pets. Often when neighbours announce their names to me in the street or park I already know who to expect from their accompanying animal.
Pets are always easier for me to recognize. There are neighbors in Mayberry I wouldn’t be able to identify without their pets with them!
Usually when someone startles me I am more embarrassed that I didn’t see them first than angry. I will just play it off and tell them that the reason I didn’t recognize them is because I was deep in thought! For people I know well I have coached them to announce themselves or whistle or something. For strangers it is just something to endure. They don’t mean to scare me and so I feel silly getting angry at them. Most people when I explain the situation are very happy to gain some knowledge on a subject they don’t usually think about.
Very true, most people who listen/are open to coaching do try to announce themselves in subsequent encounters.
Yes to the jingle collar! My big lab wears his even when he is lounging around my room.
That’s a pro move.
And what about the opposite problem…when people disappear??? ARRgh I hate that when I am left in a room talking to someone who has left without telling me!!
Oh yes, Audrey, the ghosts of conversation. Unnerving.