Driving

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Not being able to drive was the most painful thing in my life.   For the first time in my life there was no way to pretend to be like everyone else no more illusions.  I am legally blind.   I was definitely different.  It didn’t matter how high functioning I was or wasn’t or how well I did or didn’t do anything.   I couldn’t drive.  It was devastating.

During my life there have been many people who let me drive.  Crazy yes. I actually do know how to drive.   But it has always felt like a bit of a side show.  Come and watch the blind guy drive.   Its like on the movie “If You Could See What I Hear”.

Alternatives were always presented Oh get a moped or get a motorcycle oh get a little car.    I had an off road dirt bike for a while which I had a blast on but nearly killed myself on a number of occasions.  Including driving through a barbed wire fence, not at all a recommended experience it hurt a lot and I thought I was dead.

The worst most damaging disastrous alternative was my sister being given a car, “for both of us”, and the expectation put on her to give me rides.    Was not a good solution for anyone and probably had a negative impact on my sisters and my relationship.   Having siblings put into a position of having to take care of a disabled sibling isn’t good for anyone.

I had a girlfriend or two that actually let me drive.   One actually let me drive long enough for me to decide not to drive.   To this day I think this is the right solution, me not driving.    Being able to decide actually probably saved my sanity.  It made it O.K. for me to choose to be legally blind and not drive. Fallacy yes as I really didn’t have a choice.

When I moved to Seattle from Toronto the option to drive was once again available.    In Washington State there is or was an option for low vision people to drive with bi-optics or little binoculars on your glasses.   I find the notion very scary frankly as the telescopes limit your field of view etc.   None the less this stupid notion of driving and the decision not to drive had to be made again.  Was a very hard time again for nothing.

I’m glad I don’t drive.

Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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