Today I am interviewing a sighted friend of mine. This will give you an inside look on what it’s like to have a blind friend if you are sighted. I’m of course blind and she’s my friend so the questions will be personalized.
Me: How long have we been friends?
Ariane: I have known you for about thirteen years.
Me: You knew me when I was sighted as well as blind. Am I any different now that I can’t see?
Ariane: No not really. You are still the same person.
Me: Do you have to help me a lot?
Ariane: No not really, you are pretty independent.
Me: What types of things DO you help me with?
Ariane: Transportation, I read things to you, guide you around sometimes. And sometimes I guide you into traffic and I’m like OOPS lol
Me: You have four kids ranging in ages from five to twelve. How do they react to me?
Ariane: Fine, they don’t see you as any different. Half the time they forget you’re blind. My youngest son always wants to know why you can’t just drive over to my house. My oldest son likes to give you crap about it. He likes to joke with you about it. One time we were at a birthday party. You called him over to you and said you wanted to see how tall he was. He said it tripped him out because he was like she can see? It didn’t occur to him that you would need to feel the top of his head.
Me: Do people ever give you a weird reaction when they find out you’re friends with me?
Ariane: Sometimes. I’ve had a friend who wanted to know if it was difficult to be friends with someone who can’t see. They wanted to know what types of activities you could go and do with a blind person. It wasn’t hard for me to explain because I knew you as a sighted person. We know how to talk to each other. I can explain things to you and you get it because you were sighted and have memory of things. I can basically do anything with you that I do with anyone else… except I’m never riding shotgun with you lol
Me: There are a lot of people out there that are afraid to get to know a blind person. If you could say anything to those people what would you say?
Ariane: Talk to them before just grabbing their arm and walking them across the street lol. Don’t be afraid to talk to them but don’t talk down to them. They aren’t deaf or mental disabled or a child.
Me: Is there anything else you would like the world to know about having a blind friend or about blindness in general?
Ariane: It’s not contagious. You’re not gonna become blind with contact. I don’t see you as a different person. It’s not the most important part of you. Once you get to know someone who is blind you will not even notice the disability anymore. Your disability is a part of you but not all of you. It has taught you a lot. You may have doubts and fears but you do things anyway. There are a lot of things that you can do that I can’t do. It’s made you stronger.
Me: If you had never met me when I was sighted… if you met me for the first time when I was blind would you still be my friend?
Ariane: I don’t think I would not talk to you. I might not be as close right away. If I met a blind person tomorrow it’s not like I would be all no sorry I’ve already got one of you. I’ve already reached my quota. I would still talk to them and get to know them.
So as you can tell Ariane and I have a close friendship that allows us to joke around with each other. She would never say something to intentionally hurt my feelings nor would I hurt hers. We both feel that in a situation like this humor is the best medicine.