Computer challenges, metaphor for blindness challenge

Frustrations from computer inaccessibility and software incompatibility can almost be a metaphor for the fiercest challenge of blindness. Few techies, no matter how sharp, know the intricacies of making this visual medium attainable to someone blind.
I’ve said occasionally that my hope is to live an ordinary life, and most times I manage that without struggle or courage. But sometimes ordinary life takes both.
Trying to access my Chatham e-mail very often takes enormous struggle. I’ve been unable to receive any messages on my Chatham account since May 31. Today I contracted with an independent blind guru and made several phone calls to the university help desk. After two hours, I ended up in worse shape. My guru hopes to dig through the university website, plus speak again to the help desk person and call me tomorrow.
Meanwhile, my class is 5 weeks away, and I’ll be on vacation two of those weeks. And my on-line students syllabi are due in a month.
The Chatham M.F.A. students make all this hassle worthwhile, but the psychic drain can be depleting. No one I know with disability wants pity—just acknowledgment of the extra effort to pull off normal life.


About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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