While I describe myself as having low vision, the people in charge, who insist it is "illegal" for me to drive a car or fly a plane, have declared me Legally Blind. After a few rounds of MS induced optic neuritis, my eyesight went from spectacular to abysmal to semi-functional over the course of a few months. That is to say I went from being able to read your phone from across the room to ignorantly putting an empty fork in my mouth before settling into a frustratingly blurry but workable-ish level of visual acuity that I like to call, Bullshit. My peepers and I occasionally travel back to abysmal but mostly we live in semi-functional town. I have experienced almost nothing more terrifying than this back and forth flirtation with total vision loss. BUT I am exceedingly grateful for the eyesight that remains.
Because it could get worse. In fact, it might get worse.
MS disability is never static and the superstition prevails that if I am not thankful for what's left, that too will be yanked away. And so in an attempt to appease the optic nerve gods, I offer my most sincere gratitude with respect to my blind-ass status. Herewith 10 truly fantastic perks of being Legally Blind.
The CNIB is basically throwing stuff at me and my low vision homies. Discounts abound on movies, sports, theatre tix, museums, and even the train for my 20/20 'companion'. Guys. I get a FREE TTC pass. This is worth a million dollars and I have basically won the lottery. The normals look at me with envy when I whip out my annual transit pass like a baller.
90% of people helped by the awesome CNIB are partially sighted. In addition to free stuff they can help with great assistive technologies that are too boring to talk about here, but look them up.
You're welcome because I am SAVING THE PLANET. I'm no hippie but not being able to drive means not owning a car which means my carbon footprint is smaller than yours.
Bonus perk: Cash money. The Banker and I are a one car household and he assures me this means we are saving $$$ and he super knows this because he is a banker. Cha-ching.
You look AMAZING. And so do I. My slightly vague vision makes everyone look like they've been lightly airbrushed. I am a human instagram filter.
Bonus perk: License to try batshit crazy hair and makeup trends. Nobody can talk smack about you because what kind of asshole makes fun of a blind person?
I love a taxi. Fancy. And when I'm feeling extra fancy, Über Black. That fancy umlaut is for "Ooh, are you taking a taxi?" And it's what you're saying as you jealously walk across a cold, vacant parking lot in the dead of winter to your frozen Honda Civic. I'm already warm because my Über has heated seats. Fancy. There's probably a spider in your car because you parked it under a tree.
We all suck at remembering faces but when I get called out on it you look like the jerk. And if I do something boneheaded like walk into a wall or drive my shopping cart over someone's foot prompting a sarcastic "What are you, blind?" Well, actually.
Taxes and other unpleasant fine print tasks are a thing of the past. And if I get audited? I didn't see shit. That's called PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY.
Other People's Bullshit Chores
I never, ever have to help you paint your apartment. I know we all say it will be fun. We'll have wine and pizza. But seriously. This may actually be the best and most legit benefit to losing your vision. I'm so sorry. I can't help. Blind.
Traveling can for sure be more challenging for the LB but more often than not people will go out of their way to help. Airports have policies. No line-ups, bitches. Often your 20/20 friend can travel for free. FOR FREE.
Messing with People
When people learn you are a blind-o they expect you will have some seriously heightened senses. Use your mad skills with confidence. Because you can smell lies and hear fear.
The obvious winner. I will never be the designated driver and nobody can say a word about it. From time to time a normal will attempt to gripe about this. Oh, you wish you could have five beers tonight too? Well, I wish I could see that giant letter E on the chart across the room. What's that you say? That's not an eye chart, that's a picture of your aunt? Well, I wouldn't know because I'm LEGALLY FUCKING BLIND. No worries, though because you are going to give me a safe drive home. So. We're cool.
Vision loss to any degree is gross and scary. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (because she is such a dumb bitch that most of these perks would be totally lost on her). But it's not all about lurking in the shadows and bumping into shit. Sometimes it is about experiencing the world from a different perspective. And sometimes that perspective is dark and murky. But sometimes there is free stuff. So please pass the free wine. And then drive me home.
This piece originally appeared on Tripping on Air.