Friday, May 01, 2015

blind person area

Yesterday while driving I saw a sign consisting of black letters declaring BLIND PERSON AREA set on a yellow background, in the village of Baldwinsville, New York. (Those of you inclined to be persnickety, like me, are urged to not get your knickers in a knot over the missing hyphen between the first and second of the three words. Nor should you be concerned with the legit split infinitive in the preceding sentence.) I am not blind. I have known some blind people in my life. For three summers out of college, I worked with blind college students who were orienting to college life in the summer before their freshman year. My point in citing those bona fides, if you will, is to forthrightly state (split infinitive again) that this post is neither disrespectful of blind people nor insenstive to that aspect of their lives. 

Seeing the sign triggered some silent questions to clank around in my discursive head, or wherever thoughts neurologically reside:

  1. Upon seeing a sign like that have you as a driver ever encountered a blind person in the designated area? I have not, to my recollection. I'm not questioning the veracity or sincerity of the municipal sign posters; I'm just sharing my limited experience.
  2. Where does the area begin and end? In other words, what are the borders of the BLIND PERSON AREA?
  3. Granted, the sign is urging drivers to be more vigilant or cautious, but in the absence of such a sign do drivers have license to proceed with an iota of comparatively less vigilance or caution?
  4. Since the sign was not also in braille (well, maybe it was, but I do not think so) and assuming blind people are unaware of the sign (and I could be wrong on this aspect, too), is it possible that some blind persons actually take offense at the sign, owing to their independence and mobility, in many instances?
Today, with the interior knowledge that I'd be composing this post, I happened to see a sign (at a different locale) that read DEAF CHILD AREA. So, I ask you: 
  1. Do the same questions as listed above apply?
  2. Or do radically different questions apply?
  3. What if both of these signs coexist in the same not-precisely-designated area?
  4. What questions arise?
  5. And what answers?

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