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.