I Have been grumbling a lot about things lately, so I thought I’d share some of the things that really irritate me and my family. Some of these will be generally familiar and some highlight some of the particular narks we have with the way the modern world works.
1. People who knock on the door collecting for charity. If I want to give to charity I will choose how I do it through ‘give as you earn’, through friends just giving pages etc. I might put a few coins into collecting boxes in the street, in supermarkets or pubs etc. I DO NOT need people to knock on my door when I am serving up the dinner in order to ask for money.
What makes it even worse is that, sometimes, when we have got up from the table and opened the door they then spot that myself and my partner are visually impaired. We then get an “Oh Sorry, I do apologise” and turn to go away. So, what is it about being visually impaired that means that we are not worthy enough to be asked to donate to charity?
So first prize goes to charity door collectors for disturbing us and for being patronising.
2. People who ring up and cold call to try to sell things or to inform us that we are entitled to make a claim because we have been mis-sold financial insurance or other such sales and marketing people. I am sick and tired of the number of times we have tried to stop these calls, but they still keep coming. It is getting to the stage where I can’t answer the home phone during the day when I am working. I leave it to go to answer phone and then check the messages and have to call back if it is actually a genuine call.
Indeed, as I was writing this very post I received a call (11yo answered the phone, so no ignoring it!). It was someone from a market research company asking questions about donating to charity. She went through a whole list of worthy causes asking if I would consider donating to each. The answers were No, Yes or possibly. I answered ‘No’ to every single one. This isn’t because I don’t care, but if I’d given any other answer I would be likely to receive more calls and /or junk mail.
3. People who tell us ‘oh I wear glasses too’ when we have occasion to explain that one or all of us are visually impaired. I have no idea of the intentions of some of these people, but it is very frustrating when people think that being visually impaired is simply a matter of being a bit short-sighted and needing glasses. If you have read my previous post ‘Dear Maria Miller’ you will have a little bit of an inkling that being visually impaired is little bit more complex than simply needing to wear glasses.
4. The people who say to me ‘Oh I didn’t know there was anything wrong with B’ This is what we get sometimes when and if we mention that B has aspergers syndrome. Well firstly, there is NOTHING WRONG with B. Asperger’s is part of him and can often be an explanation for some of his different behaviour and reactions and may be a factor in particular decisions and plans we make as a family or with others, but that doesn’t mean there is anything WRONG and I really resent people who imply there is.
5. The people who gush and tell us how fantastic we are and how amazing it is that we do what we do. Now, everyone likes to be appreciated and we all thrive on a bit of praise and recognition, but what I am talking about is when people go over the top. I have explained that our family is quite unusual in that we are all visually impaired and B has aspergers. This blog is partly about our experiences and the things we do. This is to show people what is possible. It is not to have people think we are extraordinary or amazing. Yes, we face challenges, and yes, we try as many things as we can and we try to give our children the same opportunities and experiences as their friends. But this does not mean we are super-beings. We are just doing what others do. Everyone faces challenges of different types and we all need support, but we don’t need to be patronised!
6. The ‘Discrimination in the name of Health & Safety’ Brigade. Now this one I really, really hate. You go out with your children for a treat / day out. May be to a water park, a theme park, a swimming pool, or you’re just in the park and there happens to be a bouncy castle. Your children get excited, they are looking forward to their treat, they want a go on that bouncy castle they’ve just spotted. You agree, you plan what you are going to do, you talk about the rides and the slides etc. So, what happens when your children get to the front of the queue and are then told ‘you can’t go on with your glasses’. ‘It’s Health and safety’. How do you explain to a child that something they have been looking forward to and have queued up for is now not available to them? ‘Oh its not discrimination’ they say. They could go on without their glasses. Well. I’m afraid they can’t. They wear their glasses so they can see. You try being told that you can go and bounce around with a load of other children but only if you do it with some frosted glass goggles on. My daughter is just now beginning to give some things a go without her glasses, B can’t do it. I’ve mentioned before, his glasses not only are for seeing, they are also his ‘comfort zone’ they are what makes him feel in control. Take them away and his anxiety levels soar. There is no way he would attempt these things without glasses. I could probably write a whole blog post on this. But I hate the fact that my children have been denied so many simple childhood pleasures that other children and families take for granted just because someone has decided on a blanket rule of ‘no glasses’.
7. This one is tame in comparison with the last, but it still get’s my goat. We do our shopping on-line and have it delivered. Mostly this works fine, but occasionally there are some really daft decisions made by the people who pick the shopping. You can get some bizzare choices of substitutions for things you ordered, but were not in stock. On the whole I can deal with this. If the substitution is hopeless I just say we don’t want it and they take it away. The thing that I find more irritating is sometimes when a product is ‘not available’ and no attempt to substitute has been made. If this is something unusual like herbs or spices I don’t mind, but on more than one occasion the shopping has arrived and really basic items are missing. For example potatoes. Now I find it impossible to believe that there would be no potatoes available of any description that could be substituted. A chicken, again you can’t tell me that a large supermarket would be completely devoid of chicken. It has also happened with washing powder, toilet rolls etc. These items are all staples and they are all bulky and some are heavy. We do our shopping this way because we can’t drive, so these are the worst things for them not to turn up with. I really would rather have a different colour or brand of loo roll than none at all!
8. Forms such as passport applications where you have to write within the boxes and keep within the lines. Filling in forms is a constant drag in our house, but these type are the worst. They always make me nervous that I will get it wrong and that makes it even harder to fit my writing into the boxes and then we have to make and create stencils for D to use as a guide for his signature. I know this is all for the benefit of computers, but I really think these agencies should start to develop alternative means of form filling that are not quite so precise.
9. Self service / counter service cafes. These places are absolute rubbish for us. I know they are cheap(er) and quick(er) than going to a sit-down cafe / restaurant, and I do wish it was easier to get a quick, cheap snack while we are out sometimes, but this option just doesn’t work. Imagine standing in a queue at a counter or self-service place. You can’t read the menus up on the wall behind the counter, you can’t see what the snacks are in the cabinets behind the glass. You get to the front of the queue (4 of you, including 1 very precise aspie) and you ask the server to tell you what’s available. There is still a queue behind you which is getting longer, the sighs are getting louder and B wants to know everything that might be available and what it comes with, whether it is on white or brown bread, whether it is hot or cold – you get the idea! So, we don’t do it. We have to go and find a place where there is table service or we find a supermarket and buy pre-packed sandwiches and sit on a bench, or (my usual solution) we take a packed lunch / bag of snacks. This is all fine except that, again it bothers me that my children don’t have the same experiences of popping into the likes of MacDonald’s or KFC after a trip to the Cinema or while we’re out shopping. I just wish these places could have some printed takeaway style menus that we could look at before joining a queue so that at least we have the option without feeling we are annoying the server and the other customers.
10. This one is nothing to do with being visually impaired or with aspergers, but it constantly bugs me. Why does Facebook have to keep changing its design, settings etc. I just get used to doing it one way and then they change it. Why can’t people just leave things alone for a bit?
Anyway, enough groaning for now. Does any of this ring true for anyone else or am I just an impatient grumpy mummy?
Thanks for reading.