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Have you ever acted as a sighted guide?

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A sighted guide is a sighted (imagine) person who acts as a guide for someone who is blind or visually impaired. The blind/VI person holds onto the guide's opposite arm just above the elbow (the arm should be relaxed). If the guide is significantly shorter† the blind/VI person can place their hand atop the guide's opposite shoulder. Also, if the guide is spatially unaware (tends to run the blind/VI person into things), the blind/VI person can place their hand in the middle of the guides upper back and walk just off pace behind.
If you've acted as sighted guide, did/does it make you feel awkward or self conscious?
A couple people I know do some weird things when they do sighted guide. One of my sisters and a co-worker do a shimmy dance when I do the hand on the back (my sister early on walked me right into a column and is always afraid she'll do it again so I always do the back thing to make her more comfortable). This drives me crazy as I think it draws attention and makes a (admittedly small) spectacle of us. Is it discomfort or does it just take them back to childhood train games?
I did sighted guide years ago when I still had functional vision and I don't remember it making me feel awkward or self conscious. I'm sure I needed to be told all the usual things (don't stick your arm out like you're doing the chicken dance nor like you're playing airplane-just drop the arm and relax).
Anyway, I am curious and neither one of them seems to be able to give an answer.

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Never acted as one.. but I see a couple of them for some blind/VI folks we have in the building.

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just for the few minutes i did with you. and i'm not sure i was very good at it, but i don't remember any complaints. i also don't remember feeling awkward or self-conscious

actually, now that i think about it, i did before that, too. i used to work with adults with developmental disabilities. some of them had vision impairments, and from time to time i would help them get from point A to point B. again, no big deal. i don't remember it being awkward. i just thought like it was me going somewhere, and i just happened to have someone on my arm

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I have nothing to base this on, but I bet people called Maureen are terrible at this, walking people into low doors etc. I don't know any Maureens.

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Or Mehreen...

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morecowbell said:   just for the few minutes i did with you. and i'm not sure i was very good at it, but i don't remember any complaints. i also don't remember feeling awkward or self-conscious

My experience as well.

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ganda said:   I have nothing to base this on, but I bet people called Maureen are terrible at this, walking people into low doors etc. I don't know any Maureens.

††
See, this is why I love you. I know, I know, you're married (not to mention you're afraid of a purse, for crying out loud!) but I love you anyway.
Ah, thanks for the excellent laugh.
And all the rest of you, I love you, too, all in your own special ways so no need to feel abandoned!

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Wish you had posted this a couple weeks ago. When KKH and I were in Washington DC with the minis on vacation, there ended up being some sort of vision impaired conference/convention in our large hotel. On 2 different occasions I ended up helping a blind person get to where they needed to be within the hotel, but I think I did it backwards! I ended up grabbing their arm about the elbow and leading them/walking with them instead of them grabbing mine, if I remember correctly, or one time simply linked arms with them like we were a couple. Neither guy seemed to mind and it felt pretty comfortable and natural. It did raise a lot of questions for me on how do blind people travel alone? One gentleman was obviously needing help in the large lobby area of the hotel and seemed to be on the phone trying to get voice help from someone. I wondered if there were services that you could call or how that worked. In the end, the service/phone call wasn't able to help him out. This particular hotel had a huge lobby area and then branched off into two large towers, and they were doing some slight renovations to the main entrance of the hotel, so I could see how trying to give instructions over the phone could be complicated and maybe not fully accurate. I was able to lead him to the correct set of elevators and push the correct floor for him. He remarked that he usually isn't placed in such a large hotel. The hotel seemed large and overwhelming for this girl from the sticks, so I could only imagine how it must be to find your way around without being able to see.

The following day I came across another man, clearly cautiously going down the hallway on our hotel floor and headed to the elevators. I helped him get on and pushed the floor, but he was on his way to the conference, couldn't remember the conference room, only his table number. I was able to wander around and find where he needed to be, but the rest of the night I wondered how he would wind his way back to his hotel room. So my personal question for you is in these situations do you simply pray that you will come across a nice person who will lend you a hand? Does this fill you with anxiety? I was happy to help out, and it should be no different than many other random acts of kindness we can do for others who need a hand, but I wondered how long did it take for someone to help?

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MrsKKH-I will try to give you a decent answer when I have a little more time, but aal you can do is your best. The fact that you were willing to help and that you gave the situation so much thought is the most important thing.
I am sorry I did not choose the timing of my post more wisely.
I am aware of the conference you speak of and know a few people who were there, but I never put the timing of your vacation together with the conference.

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ganda said:   I have nothing to base this on, but I bet people called Maureen are terrible at this, walking people into low doors etc. I don't know any Maureens.
oh come on, maureen...she means everything †

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morecowbell said:   ganda said:   I have nothing to base this on, but I bet people called Maureen are terrible at this, walking people into low doors etc. I don't know any Maureens.
oh come on, maureen...she means everything †


I thought it was Eileen?

Which reminds me, I was at the club last night.

They played twist. I did the twist.

They played jump. I jumped.

They played come on Eileen. I got kicked out for that one.

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"If the guide is significantly shorter† the blind/VI person can place their hand atop the guide's opposite shoulder."

If the sighted guide is significantly shorter, does that make them a short-sighted guide?†

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We vend at outdoor Bluegrass festivals.

The most famous fiddler of this genre, Michael Cleveland, is blind.
He is now about 37 years old and we have met him quite often since about 2000.

He always seems to have new young bandmates, and they are not always doing a great job at leading him around.
I am talking here about outdoor: fairgrounds, pastures, ... with often uneven ground.†
A new place, several times a week.
On top of that, he has other physical challenges: he is rather short with unsteady legs.

Once, I saw him "abandoned" next to his motorhome†by his helper ! †Obviously unaware of where he was.
He always recognizes my voice and he likes to joke, saying things like "you have the best festival shop I have seen".

Musicians' life on the road is always very tough and for him it has to be even worse.
I admire even more his spirit and, at least in public, his sunny personality.

[After some close calls with his bow getting too close to his bass player's eyes , he now knows to NOT be in the middle, but to stand on the left of the stage †]

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Oh, MrsKKH, you have probably unleashed some serious walls of text with your post! Hopefully, I will shed some light on things or people will just TLDR it. LostConsumer asked me on a few occasions to post threads about daily life as a blind person, but it never felt right.
I have a question for you before I start-did either of these gentleman have canes? Canes arenít magic or anything, but you didnít mention any and that makes me wonder if they were totally blind or if they had some usable vision and were just totally unprepared for the scale of the hotel, etc. There are some schools of thought that say everyone with a visual impairment should carry a cane to let others be aware that he/she is VI. I personally think that is garbage and that a cane is only necessary if it will be used as the tool it is, not an identifier.
So, if I were going to a hotel by myself and I hadnít been there before, Iíd call the place and try to get information about how it is laid out. What kind of entrance, where is the check-in desk from the entrance, how many sets of doors. The accuracy of the information depends on the person answering. If Iím smart, Iím going to have the hotel phone number with me so I can call from wherever I got stranded in the cavernous, echoing lobby and/or I can stand there looking helpless and hope that kind person comes along. Unless it was a small place, Iíd probably ask for assistance getting to my room. For me, the stress of the journey there is enough-I am not going to try to learn the layout of the place (Iím somewhat spatially challenged myself) and it is apparently very difficult for sighted people to give translatable directions to someone who canít see. (Sometimes that is the most stressful thing.)
There are plenty of VI people who arenít spatially challenged and who either donít get stressed or handle it better than I do and would learn the layout.
Iím not sure what service you are talking about for directions. The hotel might have a map available on IOS or android phones and maybe the guy was listening to that? Also, some places have Ėforgive me for not being able to think of the correct term-digital alert thingies that go to your phone (just like if you are asking your phone what restaurants are nearby) so phones can be used that way to get around. Iím not sure how many places have that although I understand that when there are conferences aimed at VI and the encompassing industries, they set up those beacons to identify booths and rooms etc.

Probably the most important thing I can share here is the reason a blind/VI impaired person needs to take your arm (or hand on shoulder) instead of other methods. This is the only way he/she can maintain a sense of direction and equilibrium.
Try it-it is interesting. You need a partner in this. One of you will be the sighted guide. Close your eyes and let the guide grab your hand or arm and you will have no idea of direction. Then try it by putting your hand on their arm- youíll maintain some sense of direction. Another benefit of this is that the blind/VI person doesnít have to worry about strange hands touching them from out of nowhere. (It is startling and unpleasant.)
Many things that go along with being blind are stressful/anxiety producing. I had a dentist appointment this morning and took a cab there. Iíve been to this dentist twice before and have a general idea of the location. My first cab driver is kind of an idiot. (Some are great, others not so much.) Anyway, we are on the correct street when he pulls off to the wrong side. I say so and he says Iím wrong. Okay, more than likely. Then he drives way too far and I know he has screwed up. He starts asking me the address again and said he couldnít find it. So I gave him the name of the dentist and he kept driving the same direction. He finally uses his phone and puts in the name of the dentist and his phone confirms the address Iíve already given him. (Sigh.) He turns around and goes back up the street. He finds the little mall or whatever and tells me he has me right in front of the door. So I pay him and go in. Nope, wrong door. The dentist door is on the other side of the building. So I walk out and go around the building. Meh.
The end. Thanks for letting me share. Life is okay.
Oh, I should say the guy isn't an idiot because he took me to the wrong door and didn't trust that I knew the address, he's just a plain ordinary idiot. The other stuff is just icing on the idiot cake.

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Thanks, everyone, for the thread participation. Thanks kamal and mcb for your sighted guidedness!

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kamal guided you? you didn't tell me you were seeing other guides†

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But I'm not seeing anyone!

(groaner)

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better than nazi-ing someone

(groaner in bad taste)

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morecowbell said:   kamal guided you? you didn't tell me you were seeing other guides†
I went to mosa's hometown to look at buying some property once. We had a late lunch. I think mosa even posted a thread about it.

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oh great, my competition is a high roller

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Still weirded out that you knew people who stayed at our hotel in Arlington while we were there. Small world.

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kamalktk said:   
morecowbell said:   kamal guided you? you didn't tell me you were seeing other guides†

I went to mosa's hometown to look at buying some property once. We had a late lunch. I think mosa even posted a thread about it.

††You guys have terrible memories! You were the ones who posted threads about the visits, not me!
/hmmph
*disclaimor since it seems to be an issue-I'm romantically involved with neither kamal nor mcb nor have I ever been.
All parties involved acted responsibly and no inappropriate behavior was initiated. Someone may have squeezed someone else's thigh, but I won't say and since neither of them have reliable memories...

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morecowbell said:   oh great, my competition is a high roller
I dont think high rolling would impress her.

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In answer to some of Sublimosa's questions about my recent encounter with some blind men, I believe both were carrying canes. The first guy in the lobby was clearly struggling with a large furniture setup--4 chairs with the largest square ottoman you could imagine in the center. He was clearly bumping into the chairs and looked unsure of how to get around them. He was trying to get help from someone on the phone. I had no idea if it was a type of service (assumed maybe there was a thing like that but didn't know) or just on the phone with someone he knew trying to get help. In the end I heard him say, "That's ok, I'll figure it out." That's when I stepped in and offered to help.

The other man I encountered also had a cane and it was pretty clear he couldn't see at all. He looked extremely uncertain simply walking down the hotel hallway, proceeding very cautiously, hugging the wall, and doing the best he could to simply find his way to the elevator.

We saw a variety of other visually impaired people throughout the hotel over a couple of days, but it seemed like all the rest of them were traveling with companions, so it just really raised my curiosity on how a person prepares to handle a trip like this alone.

Thank you so much for being so frank and honest about this portion of your life and helping us all to learn ways we can be guides in the future. Not sure when this type of opportunity will ever present itself for me again, but I'll be sure to use what I learned.

And, sorry you had a rough go with the trip to the dentist. I'm not a fan of going to the dentist at all, so any extra stress associated with that makes me sad for you.

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sublimosa said:   †Someone may have squeezed someone else's thigh, but I won't say...

During WWII, 4 passengers are traveling in a train compartment somewhere in neutral Switzerland.
An English lady, a French girl, a German soldier, and an American soldier.
Due to the war, the lights are off, and it is pitch black when the train passes through a long tunnel.

There is the sound of a smooch, and the sound of a slap, and the train comes out in the daylight.

The English lady is thinking "Oh, one of these men tried to kiss the girl, and she slapped him. I had her figured all wrong".
The French girl is thinking "One of these idiots tried to kiss the old lady instead of me, and got slapped. Well, he deserved it".
The German soldier is thinking "The American kissed the girl, and in the dark, I got slapped".
The American is thinking "I kissed the back of my hand, slapped the German with the other hand, and got away with it".

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