The Difference Between a Pair Of Glasses and a Walking Stick

There’s a guy at my work who wears glasses.

He must only be in his in early twenties – such a shame. I can’t even imagine how awful it must be to need glasses at such a young age.

He certainly puts my hardships into perspective.

I don’t know what’s wrong with him, exactly. I’ve wondered about it a few times but I think it’s probably a little bit rude to ask him outright. I mean, it could be any number of things, and he probably gets asked all the time. There are not many 20-somethings who wear glasses, after all.

Although, I suppose that makes his body, and his medical information, a matter of public interest in a way. Don’t we have the right to know what’s wrong with people who are different? I have heard office rumours of course, but I wouldn’t like to make assumptions. Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow, I’m sure he won’t mind.

Usually I just give him sympathetic smiles and head-tilts to let him know that he has my utmost sympathy; I mean, I don’t actually know anything about his life, but it must be bloody difficult if he needs to wear glasses.

He’s my daily reminder that it could always be worse. I could need glasses. Maybe one day I will; it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

I hope he knows how much of an inspiration he is to me; when I’m struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning I just think; “if glasses-guy can do it, I can do it”.

Maybe I should tell him that his existence inspires me.

We’ve never actually exchanged more than a few words; he seems nice enough but it’s hard to know what to say to someone who wears glasses.

I’m sure, however, it will bring him some joy to be told that the mere fact he makes it into work each morning is such an impressive feat. I’ll tell him that I don’t know how he does it, I’ll tell him that I couldn’t. I’m sure he’ll appreciate such validation. I’m sure it will give his life some sense of meaning and purpose.

It is so sad though. I really feel for the guy. Yesterday I thought he was struggling to make out the small-print on a leaflet so I jumped in and read it out for him. He didn’t ask me to, I just felt so uncomfortable watching him squinting, and moving the leaflet backwards and forwards. No one should be left to struggle like that. Unless of course, like me, you are a non-glasses wearer; I have the freedom to get things wrong, and to take more than one attempt at something, but that’s because my mistakes don’t make other people feel awkward I suppose. Anyway, he seemed a bit irritated at my intervention, which I thought was pretty ungrateful. I guess he must just be angry at his situation in life though, and it made me feel really satisfied to perform a good deed for someone in need, even if it wasn’t appreciated, so I let it go.

It’s a sin, it really is. thumbnail_IMG_20200115_151023_671Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  At least I hope it does.

Simplification aside, you may well use glasses; a type of aid. A tool to help you see better.

If you have a physical impairment, you may well use a mobility aid (or multiple aids).

Maybe one day the world will view mobility aids as tools that support and liberate, rather than as objects of pity. My life did not get worse with the introduction of a walking stick. It got better. It is an aid that allows me to walk further, move faster,  fall less, do more. A welcome extension of my body. I will stand loud, and proud, and disabled, and no, that doesn’t make me inspirational. Just think of it like glasses for my legs.


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