As I listen to the rain, coming down like mad out my window, I think on how I want to approach this week’s Memoir Monday/
Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.
Last week I wrote about our most vulnerable and how to provide the best care possible:
Speaking For Those With No Voice.
I wrote about how it must be for those who are unable to communicate their needs or express themselves adequately.
This week, I delve into my world of expressing myself and the troubles, that can and do sometimes arise.
Q: Do you or someone you know use adaptive equipment/adaptive technology and how does that affect your life?
A: Speaking of rain – I decided to go with a cliche line, for the title of today’s post, but one I thought appropriate. I had no idea it would rain here all day, as I’ve been writing it.
As for the phrase and why I felt it applied…well, I’ll tell you why.
Yes, I use adaptive equipment and technology, every day, but this isn’t uncommon. Most of us do.
Mine takes the place of my favourite spot, a bookstore, by being where I get my information from.
As someone could walk into Chapters and find out anything from one of the books there, I have the Internet, which just so happens to have bookstores online, if I still want them.
I depend on my Mac laptop and my iPhone to stay connected to a lot of the world, as is the case with technology these days. My Apple devices have a built-in speech program (Voiceover) and I get used to an electronic voice, but I can see how it could get irritating for someone. There is always electronic braille display. Earphones are a best friend.
My life was most recently affected when I was caught in the “when it rains it pours” scenario.
The laptop I rely on, so very much for everything, I let some awful scammers have access to it.
It was a bad week. I accidentally forgot to click a box when leaving a comment on a blog, or I think that’s when the problem began.
Suddenly I had an annoying pop-up that said something I did not understand, which left me vulnerable. I would normally go to certain people for help when this happens, but it was a bad week and I did not want to bother them. Instead, I did what I often do with problems having to do with technology. First, I ignored it and hoped it would just go away on its own.
It seemed to, but within a day the problem returned, whenever I would try to search the Web.
I gave in, on a week night and called the number that kept popping up. I couldn’t just wait until the daytime to call a computer store. I didn’t take the necessary procautions, even looking things up, to learn if I was doing the right thing.
Technology routinely throws me off my game. I know little about how it functions. Over the years I have done my best to learn what I could, but when faced with any situation I don’t understand, I tend to get flustered. If I don’t have anyone a little more logical and knowledgeable about these matters, I can make mistakes, and that is what happened.
As much as I am angry at the phone scammers who tried to mess up my system and take my money for nothing, I’m just as upset with myself for letting it happen.
I felt taken advantage of and invaded. My laptop felt contaminated. I liken it to being robbed. When so much of what you have is contained in a laptop, where you go to express yourself, it can feel like a great breach when that is messed with.
I had no other choice. I had to contact someone who knew what to do and who could work fast, under pressure. I swore to myself I wouldn’t ever contact this person who was no longer a part of my life. I didn’t want to bother him, interrupt whatever kind of life he now had, any time I had a computer question.
Of course this wasn’t just any little old computer question. This was strangers, from God knows where, having access to my computer and only one person I knew could intervene.
I felt better, knowing someone I still trusted implicitly was going to do everything he could to protect me and my laptop from any danger.
I had my computer back by the next night. I had been so embarrassed, but he knew how important my laptop was to me, for my writing and my information.
A day would be nothing, I would soon find out, compared to weeks without my vital piece of adaptive equipment.
Within a week or two I would make another blunder. All talk of pouring rain is accurate, but really this was a bad time for me and I was making some really stupid choices. I don’t know what I’d do without those people willing to help.
I was distracted, as far as possible excuses I can offer go, when I decided to have a drink on the same table with my recently threatened laptop. You can probably guess what happened next.
I wanted to kick myself. It was ruined. The sticky liquid I’d spilled directly onto the keyboard had gone inside the laptop and wrecked everything. I had no more way to say what I needed to say.
I still had my phone, of which I use almost constantly. The debate over whether we rely on our devices and phones too much is a valid one because I know I rely on my phone for so many things.
Technology really has made life better and easier for people with visual impairments:
as Apple’s CEO speaks about in his speech at a college graduation recently.
I never could have imagined, back when all I had was a flip phone, just what was out there for me. Apple products would come into my life and the lives of so many who were craving information and these products would make all the difference. It would make so many things possible and so much easier.
I can text like everyone had been doing for years. This may seem like a small thing, but I would feel less left behind and a part of the future. I could do more than just dial a number. Only a few decades ago, we only needed to do that one thing.
The person who saved me before did it once more.
I looked around at the price of Mac laptops, both new and used. The idea of returning to a PC and JAWS (the voice software I used to use), this seemed inconceivable to me now and I shuddered at the thought of it.
You know what it’s like to think of something or some way you used to live and then to imagine having to go back? Some things just can’t be revisited.
I had no right to expect to be rescued a second time from my computer woes, but I was. I was saved from the expense and given a used laptop, free of charge.
Then there was the matter of the age of the laptop and the possible inability to have any of the important programs for blogging etc, that I need. This was worked out and I had a place to write finally.
That had been the hardest few weeks, all over-dramatic language aside. I am getting by like I allays find a way to do, but I had missed the keys and the voice that spoke to me as I wrote. I got these things back.
I deal with all the headaches technology can cause me, as to go without it now would be me unable to go back, unable to return to a way of life that is no more.
Next week I answer this most personal of all the questions, quite likely:
Are there ways that disability affects your self-perception? Ideas for this might be self-esteem, confidence, body image, future plans, etc.
Have a great week.
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