Daytripper

The construction on my building began today. You got to love working from home, and feeling like someone is jack hammering at your feet. The lobby of the building is a complete mess, and I feel like Nash and I should be wearing hard hats when we enter. It’s good to see that New York Landlords are not effected by the economy. I question the motivation and reasoning to begin a six month renovation during the worst recession of our life time.

Nash and I headed off to the Lighthouse this morning. Yippee, my new glasses are in. Along with being legally blind, I am farsighted. So, yes, I am a blind guy that wears prescription glasses. People often ask, wouldn’t it just make your life easier to not weat the glasses? I say, “well, without them, everything is a blurry, and with them, I can see a little, so wouldn’t you want to see as much as you can?” The Lighthouse was also giving me a desk lamp they feel is good for me, and a hand held magnifyer to help with reading the bills.

We started out today, and came to an intersection that had a massive traffic jam. A woman, said, “it’s ok to cross,” so I began to cross through the parked traffic, but Nash did get a little confused, and there was no walkway for him. I felt him looking left and right, to decide which way to go, and then the woman grabbed me, and said, “let me help you.” You should actually never grab a blind person working with a guide dog, as we have to let the harness go, and work the dog on the leash which means he is not guiding you, you are going by sighted guide. It is ok to help a blind person with a guide dog, if they ask for assistance. Just a little lesson for all of you. Well, I wan’t going to go into all of this with a complete stranger on the streets of NYC, so I dropped the harness, and let her lead me across. I said. “thank you,” and she responded with, wait for it, wait for it..”Love you!” That’s a new one. I have gotten your welcome, and several other variations, but never, Love you. Maybe the hippies are making a comeback. I guess in this economy, people will try anything.

After my free love exchange, Nash and I headed the rest of the way to the busstop. I was a little nervous, as this would be Nash and my first bus ride in the city, and first bus ride without a trainer. The seat behind the bus driver was open, and I got seated quickly, and got Nash to sit in between my legs with his head out, so he could see people walking by. This is the appropriate way to have your guide dog sit when traveling on a bus or subway. Nash was very well behaved, although I do think he sniffed a few people who walked by. Hey, there are some funky smells in NYC, so can you blame him? Overall though, I was very happy with our first bus trip.

We got off at Madison and 57th, and headed up to the Lighthouse. For those of you not familiar with the Lighthouse, no, I was not heading to a giant Lighthouse in the middle of NYC. The Lighthouse is an organization that supplies visually impaired people with services, products, and support. I used to buy my canes there. Nash and I calmly waited for us to be called. I bet he was more patient than me. Actually, they called me very quickly, and early. Love that. We were there for 45 mintues, and in a few different offices. The doctor commented how well Nash and I were together, and that he really listens to me. This meant a lot, as I imagine they see an awful lot of guide dogs. We got my glasses, and they gave me the lamp. I had brought a backpack to put everything in, as Guiding Eyes suggested taking a backpack with me when I shop, so that way you have your hands free to give your dog signs and leash corrections. Damn, foiled again. The lamp was to big for my backpack. Uh oh, how the hell am I going to get home with Nash, a backpack, and a large bag?

I figured taking public transportation was out with everything I had to carry, and I hate cabs, as I have more time than money. Well, I guess we better hoof it. Only problem, with the big bag in my right hand, I can’t give Nash any signs or leash corrections. The first half block was a nightmare, as Nash stopped to sniff a few times, and seemed to not be focused. I may actually have to break down and pop into a cab.

Then all of the sudden, Nash kicked it into Guide Dog Gear. I may patent that one. He became very focused at the task at hand, get us home. It felt like the movie the Warriors. We have to get all the way across the city, but instead of all the gangs, we had limited commands. I could go on forever about the trip home. Nash was amazing. Almost all perfect curb approaches, very limited sniffing, a great pace, and most importantly, we did not run into anything. He was truly amazing navigating from 59th and Lexington to 8th Avenue. We definitely both got our exercise in for today.

And then, we got home. Home Sweet Home, I mean jack hammering, and more jack hammering. Nash is actually sleeping, I wish I could sleep with all this racket!

6 Responses to “Daytripper”

  1. Lorraine Says:

    Hey Brian,
    Maybe you missed an opportunity with your good samaritan. She might have been looking for a blind date. Sorry. I know that must be the oldest joke in the blind world, but I couldn’t resist. Plus, I wanted to be the first one to say it.
    I am thrilled that you and Nash had such a great walk home. I know how great I felt when we would have a great puppy class. It’s also great to have people with lots of experience on the subject give you a complement.
    Have been a real slug getting to the Post Office. I’m leaving for a conference at the GEB Training Center tomorrow afternoon. Will try to get to the PO before I leave.
    I can’t wait to go. I love the TS. It’s nice to be among people with whom I share the same interest and devotion to the Puppy Raising program.
    Lorraine

  2. blindgator Says:

    Hey Lorraine,

    Yes, I was thirlled with Nash’s performance on the walk home. He is also getting spoiled with compliments from so many complete strangers on how cute he is. No worries on the post office. I think I overheard that my building’s mail room is closed for the week due to the unnecessary construction, and we have to go to the post office to get our mail. I am not sure if I will even go, as I am not expecting anything that I can’t wait a week for.

  3. Barbara Fischler Says:

    What a first week you and Nash have had. Yes, it actually won’t be a full week until tomorrow. Imagine all the adventures you two will have together, after this past week. I think you and Nash can get through almost anything!!! I am so impressed with him (oops don’t tell him that, he will get a swelled head). Love the picture of him on your reply to Lorraine. Bet you both sleep well tonight. Love, Mom

  4. blindgator Says:

    And with everyone continually telling him how cute he is, and he knows it, I think he thinks he can get away with anything. I am trying to teach him to give me his paw when I ask for it. So far he just seems to keep licking my hand, so not sure if it is going to work.

  5. Barbara Fischler Says:

    got your reply and yes keep trying. It will be so cute when he gives you his paw and a whole lot drier unless he has just come in from the rain. Of course then you wouldn’t ask for his paw….oh well… buy some ear phones for the noise….love mom

  6. Lona Says:

    Hey, sounds like this was a wonderful day for the two of you. Can’t wait to see both of you on monday. Won’t touch you when Nash is in guide mode. I was a lousy guide dog anyway when we were practicing that sunday but hey you were great hearing all of the traffic. guess no one on bus was afraid of dogs this time.
    Keep trying the paw thing eventually he will get it.
    love aunt Lona

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