Tongue As Navigational Tool

Normally I avoid stories like this as if they will contaminate me with The Plague. This one, however, avoids being either “amazing blind man climbs a mountain” or “blind man proves sight doesn’t matter.” There’s a fine line and this story walks it well.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13358608
I had about six reactions, one on the heels of the next. First, at the title, I thought, “Oh, god, I’m going to want to throw my keyboard.” Didn’t happen. Then, I started betting myself how long until they used a word like tragic, brave, amazing, or overcome. Lost the bet to myself. Next I kept waiting for the heart-string-tugging story of how Eric lost his vision. They restrained themselves to a single sentence about blindness occurring three decades previously.
I have to admit that, since everything is about me, I immediately realized I’d have trouble breathing around something in my mouth, so I would be deprived of any every day applications. Those possible applications, however, are interesting. Once technology like this exists, it tends to be improved upon, so I can easily see a time in the next five years where this device helps you navigate down a sidewalk or is integrated into the car they are developing for blind people to drive. I might actually regret the existence of a nasal airway if I can’t take advantage of such tech.
Last but not least, I liked the matter-a-fact way Eric presented himself. He just goes about climbing using what is available to accomplish what he wants. That’s the ideal. That’s my goal. I want to appear that way to other people. I turn myself into a pretzel trying to give that impression.
Okay, I lied. It’s only 5 thoughts.

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About Jen

After acquiring a degree from Vassar College in psychology, I moved to Western Mass where I ran a peer mentoring network for disabled college students as well as activism and organizing around disability issues. I also conducted research on disabled women’s body image. An Upstate New York native, I eventually followed my heliotropic nature to the sun of Southern California. I divide my time between writing (disability fiction and essays) along with moderating San Diego Bisexual Forum which is one of the oldest groups of its kind in the country. In my off hours I can often be found in my neighborhood live music venue enjoying our local talent.

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