As a blind person I get to observe experience and rationalize sociological constructs. One of them is accommodation. When we talk about accommodation we also need to consider the norm. What is the norm what is normal? In my exploration of with is the norm and what is normal I have observed that these constructs are dynamic. Change is the only constant I’ve notice and in the context of change the norm or what is normal is in constant flux. The norm from one point in time to another point in time is dynamic and different.

I don’t fit the norm. I am not normal. Does that make me abnormal or alien or special. I don’t think so. But the word accommodation follows me around where ever I go and whatever I do.

I accommodate sighted people. I try to give the signals that are normal for interacting. Try is the operative word as a lot of the signals mean nothing to me and so I forget or in some cases if no one says anything I don’t do them at all.

In my personal life I use my relationships for accommodation. Most importantly my wife makes a lot of things possible. We do things we go places and live places where I wouldn’t be able to on my own. We share a relationship where we do most things together and go most places together. Thankfully my wife also feels life she is not the norm. She has always told me that she is not normal. Not abby normal or special but just not normal. I think that’s why our relationship works so well.

When I am out and about on my own I will reach out to people to find directions understand what is going on. Get information about my surroundings. To enhance the experience. I use people shamelessly by navigating off of them by using their signals to find my way. When I am out eating and can’t see the menu I will listen or ask what’s good. I talk and interact and monitor to get what I need to be safe and live.

In my professional life I need accommodations to contribute. When I am looking for a job I have to do a GREAT marketing job as I have to be about twenty thousand dollars more valuable to an employer then the next person. Also I have to be more valuable than the others in the competition for the position as the act of accommodation is high energy and not the norm, its not normal.

When I am working the “equipment” the “toys” I use to function to contribute are extensive. I don’t use each one of them every day but some of them I just couldn’t do my job without. The most critical pieces of gear for me is a BIG monitor now a 45” TV an ergonomic keyboard and a great chair. With out anyone of these things I’m profoundly limited in my ability to work or work at a level that I am capable of. However equipment isn’t the only thing that I need to accommodate me professionally. There accommodations I need in communication and collaboration. I need documents ahead of time in soft-copy if I am to contribute. I can’t collaborate around a laptop screen or in a dynamic editing session on content, etc.

There are administrivia tasks that I just can’t do. I can’t do expenses to save my life. I have to have my wife do them for me. I suck at entering time. Its a detailed thing and such detailed things are like sticking pins in my eyes it hurts I don’t do it. So I need accommodation on process.

My performance at work is at best erratic. There are things I am profoundly excellent at. There are a few things I’m as good as the other mere mortals, and there are some things that I just suck at. I must be accommodated by a non normal performance model. I can do great things I can’t do them in the expected way the normal way the norm. I like to think I do them better.

Collaboration at work is hard. I’ve never found a good way to manage it other than being the one with the best idea who can execute on it the fastest. Being the one out in front is the easiest way for me to accommodate myself professionally. Think the fastest the most complete and the most beneficial idea that will work and your off. Then people come to you. I can’t recognize or see people or remember their names. So if I’m the man then they come to me and the problem is solved. Where I have to go and find then I am doomed unless I am a binary life form and have a guide to work with me to make it happen.

In my spiritual life I must be forgiven to be accommodated. I don’t know where religions figured that if your disabled or broken or different in some way that your bad. What a crock of ca-ca. I was wondering the other day about the moral model. About belief systems where the individual has to heal themselves or where the individual is a sinner a cyst a tumor if they are broken or different. In any group I participate in I have to be accepted to be accommodated. The group has to be mature enough emotionally intelligent enough, enlightened enough to embrace difference. Otherwise forget it. Its very hard for me to conform. It just doesn’t happen. Its binary unfortunately it either works or it doesn’t.

As an aside I was wondering how people with belief systems that think you should be able to heal yourself or who believe that you have sinned or are bad because you are broken or different deal with old people. Its a mystery.

In the medical world I am a nightmare. Doctors and dentists to me are like the aliens that come down and capture you forcefully and stick sharp probes in your butt. I can’t work with an inflexible practitioner. I can’t deal with cattle call medicine or doctors that are so high on themselves as not to be questions. I question the medical profession in general at an ethics level on the whole bedside manner thing. If a person is a great technician but can’t deal humanely and empathetically with people they shouldn’t be allowed to work with anything but cadavers or butchered bovines. In my medical life I am chronic as there is no cure for me so there is no accommodation I am a lost cause.

In my own thoughts feelings and believes against all the signals and messaging to the contrary I have to continually accommodate myself and remind myself I do belong here. The universe is unfolding as it supposed to be and god loves me for who and what I am. It helps to have a woman who loves me for the man that I am and being her man makes me whole.

After all of that what is accommodation and why am I the only one who needs to be accommodated? I think all of us as unique individuals with our own quirks and quarks need some level of accommodation in our lives. Even if at the end of the day is consideration for our uniqueness since we all may not be “special” whatever that means but we are all ultimately unique.

Posted in: Everything Else, Living

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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