I tend to have a fairly boring diet - partly because I hate cooking, but also partly because I'm severely visually impaired, so all I can get at the grocery store is what's right in front of my face.

If it's too far up, I can't see it. If it's too far down, I can't see it. I have to pick up every single package to read it, so I know what it is. Produce and meats are a little easier, because each meat is a particular colour. I still have to pick up the package to see what cut of meat it is, for example, but chicken is a particular colour, and beef the same, and so on. Granny Smith apples are a particular green that stands out, which makes life simple    . Unfortunately, peaches and nectarines bear an unfortunate resemblance to certain types of apple, so yeah, I've touched apples thinking they're peaches.

It's an enormously frustrating pain in the ass to have to pick up every single bloody thing so you can read it, so you know what it is. I have to do this at book stores, art supply stores, every store. I can't browse the same way others can. This is partly why I got very much into shopping alone rather than with friends, because it takes me forever to do what others do in a much shorter span of time than forever.

Now, I don't normally shill for the house when it comes to any business, but I've got to tell you, that grocery services like Grocery Gateway, and now Instacart, are a godsend to me. I can browse a website, and someone else does the picking and choosing. I can not be utterly frustrated by the entire shopping experience, and/or having to ask for help every time I need something. I can actually buy things that would normally be outside of my "reach", because someone else is doing the heavy-seeing part.

If, by the by, you think I don't have to ask for help when ordering food at a fast food mall joint that has no paper menu I can hold in my hand, because I can't read the overhead behind the counter menu, then you'd be wrong. Every. Damned. Time.

As a much younger person I used to be embarrassed and even more frustrated by things like this. I thought there was something wrong (in more of a way than just physically) with me. I tried to hide it or get around it as much as I could, and get angry with myself because I had to intrude on other people to do simple things. I had no ability to articulate my disability, my frustrations. It took me years, decades, to figure my way around that one. I thought, for a very long time as a younger person, that I wasn't supposed to tell people I needed help. I don't know why that is. It doesn't matter now, because I have no issue saying, "Sorry, severe visual impairment. Can't read your menu/package/whatever."

Ah yes. Packaging. The thing I have to take pictures of with my phone and zoom in so I can read them. Thank you, modern technology, for the invention of the cameraphone. You are a miracle deserving of sainthood.

2019 02 22 - 13:16

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