Someone I Am Not

Passing. Those of you who are into sociology or history know what that is. Wikipedia defines it as the ability of a person to be considered part of an identity group other than their own. Racially mixed slaves could sometimes pass as white when they came north. Over the years many gays have passed as straights. The term used there is generally ‘in the closet’.

I can still pass as a fully sighted person quite well. Yesterday I was at the doctor for my shoulder. Dr. Sue was right, rotator cuff tendinitis.

When I told the real doctor there were some things I could not see because of my vision loss, the doctor told me she never would have known. I passed well.

Today I went to have my driver’s license photo taken. I had everything ready. I sat there and listened to every question the people before me were seeing on the screen. I had my answers down cold! Yes, I am an American citizen! Yes, that is my date of birth. I looked at the yellow blob the photographer said was a smiley face and smiled for the camera. I passed as a person with acceptable vision.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT driving. Probably could. Slowly on familiar roads I could (no matter what my husband says!) I play this game in which I watch for on-coming traffic when I am in the van. 98% of the time I am right as to how many cars are approaching. It is that 2% that keeps me from getting behind the wheel.

When I told a teacher from school (you run into people you know at the darndest places!) what I had just done, he said it made sense to him to renew my license. Better safe than sorry. He thought in an emergency I could still drive. Yep, but that was not my main reason for renewing my license.

I renewed my license so I would not feel like a second class citizen. One of the same reasons blacks tried to be accepted as white and gays have tried to pass for straight. I did not want to be relegated to the back of the bus! Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Learned and thought about a couple of things. First thing: trying to pass is stressful! I was half expecting to be ‘discovered’.

The second thing was a something I realized. Light bulb moment. There is black pride and gay pride but no low vision pride! Why did I even feel the need to pass? I obviously don’t think the visually impaired me is ‘good enough’. I need to add symbols of what I consider to be a complete adult. Hmmmm.

THAT is something for a visually impaired support group to mull over. Thought I would throw it out in a moment of stark honesty and see what you think. I would suspect other people have felt ‘less than’ as well.

The other reasons I renewed my license are me being both practical and ever hopeful. Driverless cars are coming. It would be awesome if they were available to the general public in the next four years before this license expires. What if you have to be a licensed driver to drive one? I should have a valid license! And what if a miracle happens and they find a way to either biologically or technologically restore my sight? I need to be prepared!

So, just shoot me. I spent part of my morning pretending I was someone I am not. I passed. Pretty stressful actually. Between the shoulder pain and that, I need an early nap time. Tomorrow, I am back to being visually impaired.

written July 11th, 2017

Next: This and That

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