You’ve Got to Laugh Sometimes: ABAPITA Moments #2

This is a second installment of stories that have to do with a wonderful expression in the blindness community: ABAPITA. That stands for “Ain’t blindness a pain in the anatomy.” Dialogue Magazine has carried a column by this name since the mid 1960’s. It sums up those experiences that are both frustrating and funny as blind and visually impaired folks encounter a sighted world and vice versa.
For example:

Theresa writes:

I was hosting company in our winter home in Arizona. We decided to take my cousin and her husband to the “Dolly Steamboat” in Tortilla Flats. While we were in line for the tickets that I reserved, my cousin told me she wanted to pay for the tickets, but I had told already told her that it was on me. So she spoke up in a loud voice to the person behind the ticket window, “My cousin is special needs. She is blind and can’t see!” The ticket taker then handed my credit card back to her and looked at her and said, “Ahhhh… the poor thing.” Obviously my cousin does not know me!

Judith writes:

When I was a student at UW-Madison, I worked for a while answering the phone at the McBurney Disability Resource Center. One day I was told that people who were deaf would be coming in and out of the office because a deaf speaker was on campus. After other staff members left to attend the event, I heard someone come in and go into another office. Then I got a telephone request for the exact location of the event, but I did not know it. Not knowing sign language and assuming the person who came in was deaf, I wrote a note asking for the information I needed and held it up in front of her. Using my white cane, I returned to my desk thinking that she must have recently lost her hearing because she spoke so softly and with no trace of the type of speech sometimes characterizing long-time deaf speakers. I answered the telephone caller’s question. Then the woman in the office said, “Oh, I didn’t know you’re blind. I thought you’re deaf and signed to you!”

Frank shares:

Not long after I lost my sight, I decided to make lunch for my young children while my wife was out. I proceeded to ask my son Andrew, who was age 5 at the time, to tell me if the two cans of soup I pulled from the cabinet were both the same kind of soup. He said that they were. I then poured each of them in a pan and began to warm them up. While the soup was warming up I made some grilled cheese sandwiches. Ten minutes later I called the kids for lunch. I served them each a bowl of soup and a sandwich; feeling rather accomplished at the time. All of the sudden I heard a number of moans and groans from my children and immediately asked what was wrong. My daughter said that I had mixed pea soup and tomato soup and it looked yucky! I then asked Andrew, “I thought you said that they were both the same kind of soup!” “They were” he said, “They were both Campbell’s!” This experience taught me to be very specific when asking people questions!

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Now it’s your turn! Send your ABAPITA moments to Kathie at schneiks@uwec.edu and more will be shared.

Learn more about our writers on the Who We Are page.

Featured image is a photo of an embarassed man with his hand over his eyes and a big grin on his face. Relations is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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