Archive for November, 2011

Those Seats on the Bus With Extra Leg Room Aren’t First Class!

November 29, 2011

Nash and I have been heading in to Manhattan quite a bit these days. Living in Queens, we have discovered that the easiest not the fastest way to get there is via the Express Bus. For those of you who have only taken the regular bus around New York City, let me tell ya a little about the express bus. They are quite a bit smaller than the regular bus. The aisles are quite narrow very similar to the aisles on an airplane. That being the case, Nash cannot sit i nthe aisle, as no one would be able to get past him and on and off the bus. Now on the express bus there are about three or four rows for people with disabilities. These rows have a little bit more leg room. That way if someone in a wheel chair gets on the bus, the bus driver can collapse the row in front of it, and the wheel chair rider can fit on the bus. Now if someone with a guide dog gets on the express bus, they and their guide dog can fit in one of these aisles. The regular seats a person traveling with a guide dog cannot fit in as there isn’t enough room for a guide dog to squeeze in, and I have already established the problem of having your guide dog sit in the aisle.

The day before Thanksgiving, Nash and I headed in to Manhattan, we got on the express bus which is never filled to capacity. However, this day, all of the aisles that Nash found, as he has gotten excellent at seeking out the rows he can fit in were taken this day. I politely asked, “would someone in one of the rows with extra leg room mind moving?” Of course no one said anything. So again, I tried politely asking if someone would move. Of course nothing. I got a little frustrated, as there were plenty of rows for people without guide dogs to sit in. And yes, the people sitting in the extra legroom aisles spoke English, as when I get to one, I ask is anyone in here, and yes, people acknowledged me. You would think if someone wasn’t going to move for me, they would see the cutie Nash and at least move for him, but nope today the day before Thanksgiving, no one was in a giving mood. Finally after standing there, I let loose with, “You know you people sitting in the rows with extra leg room, that isn’t first class seating they’re seats for people with disabilities!” Still nothing. Unreal, the day before Thanksgiving. I thought people were suppose to get nicer around the holidays. Needless to say Nash and I made it in to the city ok, we just had to keep moving every time someone wanted to get off the bus, and we really slowed that bus down, as we were in almost everyone’s way wanting to get off the bus. We have to take the express bus again today, will be interesting to see what happens this time.

Down Goes Frazier, I Mean Down Goes Fischler!

November 19, 2011

Yesterday Nash and I headed to downtown Manhattan. And when I say downtown, I mean all the way downtown, Fulton street which as you can imagine is quite a hike from the middle of nowhere Queens. We were making great time, as we had to take the Q46 bus from home to just get to the subway, than we took the E Train all the way to West 4th street to the A train, and what is funny when I lived in midtown West I would never do even one transfer, as I would find another way to get where I was going, now I am doing two transfers. At this point, I would like to mention the NYC MTA. I think it is great that they now make announcements that if you see something, say something. Of course, not sure how that applies to a blind dude. I also think it is great that the buses announce, “Please use the back door to exit” but really, can the buses please at least announce what stop you are arriving at? No one even listens to the announcement to use the back exit, so it obviously isn’t helping anyone. If you announce what stop the bus is arriving at, you are at least helping the blind, and probably the non New Yorkers. Also MTA, on the subway if you could add an advisory to have all your riders shower regularly, it would make taking the subway more pleasant. WOW, have I smelled some funky people on the subway recently. I guess my sense of smell as a blind dude is starting to heighten more. Oh boy, that is coming in so useful on the subway and smelling the stink of people.

Anyway, we made pretty good time down to Fulton Street. We got off the train, and actually went out the right exit. Nash and I were pretty happy as it wasn’t raining, and it was a really nice day out, we were moving pretty quickly down Fulton Street, and then WHACK! OUCH, and a lot of expletives as I hit the ground!Nash walked me face first in to a pole. I felt like George Foreman had punched me in the face. I must have hit if pretty hard, as my face began throbbing immediately. Immediately, people rushed over to me. Fortunately, one guy had some napkins and handed them to me as the blood was flowing from my nose. I thought I had lost my front two teeth. Fortunately, my mouth was just throbbing so much, and was cut, as than I thought they were loose. I was really stunned, as I had never walked in to anything like this before. So glad that there is a first time for everything. I laid on the ground for a couple of minutes, and then some people helped me to my feet. I was dazed, as I asked them what that was, and it ends up it was a pipe of some kind sticking all the way out in to the middle of the side walk from a building. Yes, Nash did get yelled out a little, but not to much. I knew it wasn’t his fault, as the pipe had to be out of his sight line, but it is only human nature to be really angry and upset. Of course later, I felt really bad about yelling at Nash, as he did nothing wrong. It’s not his fault that he isn’t six feet tall, so he could see everything in my sight line. I would love to hear from any guide dog raisers, trainers, or handlers, what they think I should do about something like this in the future? Is there no way for a blind guy to avoid something like this? I am luncky that I didn’t break anything, lose an eye, or any teeth.

Of course, I had a throbbing headache for the rest of the evening, and today, my nose is twice the size it normally is, and my mouth is cut. I can’t afford anything to happen to my Brad Pitt looks. And today I probably look like Brad Pitt from Fight Club. HA.

I also wanted to give a shout out to all the puppy raisers from Guiding Eyes For the Blind that I saw last night. Always great to chat with you guys, and I am always so thankful for the hard dedicated work that you guys do. I am blown away by your youngest puppy raisers ever. WOW. You guys are the most dedicated people I have ever met, and without your services I would still be stuck with a cane!

Don’t Pity Me!

November 14, 2011

So Nash and I were heading downtown, we took the Express Bus from Queens to Fulton Street. As we exited the bus, a man approached me, and took my hand, and placed change in it. I said, “what is this?” He said, “you’re blind.” And I said, “yeah, so?” Ends up the man was homeless, and he was giving me money because I am blind. What the hell? I know I have been bitching and moaning about my current living situation in Queens, but how would a homeless man know about this? Are the homeless reading my blog and seeking me out? If that is the case, please know in the future, that I will only accept bills. How weird is it that homelessness has moved up the food chain past blindness?

This was definitely a first, and hopefully a last, unless I can make a six figure living begging on the streets of NYC. Maybe I should give a shot, put a sign on Nash, “Will lick you for money!”

Could I be the first person to ever be giving money by a homeless person? Yeah, I am not wild about that notoriety.

Nash and I have a busy week coming up with some meetings for Laugh For Sight, as we are looking for some new people to get involved with us in New York City and Los Angeles. We are in the planning stages for our second L.A. benefit, and it will be probably be held at the end of January or February. So keep a look out for the exciting news on our LaughForSight Twitter account!

I’ve Discovered Hell On Earth and It’s Called Queens!

November 13, 2011

Greetings all, I know it has been awhile once again, and I think the title of this blog gives it away. I have tried to keep this blog fairly positive, but I think I just need to get this off my chest, and may be once I do I can get this back to being a daily blog about Nash and my adventures. Four months ago, Nash and I moved out of NYC to Queens, as it has been a bad year, and for those of you not familiar with NYC rent, it is insane. Well, we had an opportunity to move out to Queens, right on the border of Jamaica, Flushing, and Kew Garden Hills. That should have been a sign to me. We went from a nice size studio apartment in the heart of Manhattan to a huge one bedroom in the middle of nowhere. When you are blind, moving to a new area is quite challenging and frightening.

Nash and I had to learn how to just get out of the apartment complex, as it is quite large. It took a little while, and was very frustrating, but we can now do it every day. The problem, or should I say the first problem is that once you get out of the apartment there is very little in walking distance. There is a grocery store, and I do have to admit the employees there are quite nice, there is a pharmacy, and again the employees there are also very nice, but that is where it ends. There is a local sports bar, and I was excited about that, but amazingly, one they do not serve food, two the element is a little on the creepy side, and they do not take credit cards or debit cards. When you are blind, dealing with cash is a little on the difficult. Yes, I do know there are money identifiers, and yes, I do have an app on my iPhone, but it doesn’t work half the time, and who wants to be sitting in a bar, scanning all of their money when the element surrounding you is questionable. Ok, so Nash and I do not spend a lot of time in the bar around here.

Lets get to the next part, getting in to the city. First you have to take a bus to just get to the subway, and yes, I am a little on the lazy side, but you can’t even walk to the subway from here, as there is a freeway entrance that you have to cross with no stop light, not the best thing for a blind guy to do. The bus is only two stops from the subway, but here is the issue, the bus doesn’t always stop at the bus stop. If the bus is to crowded is just drives right past you. This has happened on enough occasions to be quite annoying, and it hasn’t even gotten really cold yet, so I have that to look forward to you. Once you get to the subway than you have anywhere from a third minute ride to an hour depending on where you are going in the city. It gets even worst, on the weekends or late at night, the train turns in to a local making twice as many stops, so double your travel time.

Ok, so we have covered getting around, on to the next topic. I do not know how to cook, and there are only a handful of places that deliver out here, pizza and Chi-Mex. That’s right Chi-Mex, that is not a misprint. They have Chinese/Mexican restaurants out here. Talk about an identity crisis. Oh yeah, and the delivery guys cannot find the apartment, so I have to either walk outside with Nash or take the cane and try and find the delivery guy. Half the time the delivery guy is scared to death of Nash, for those of you who have met Nash, we all know how intimidating he looks! So the choices to eat out here are pizza, Chi-Mex, or nuking a frozen dinner. Not a lot of options. I was excited when they opened a new Burger joint up the street. Nash and I went in there and ordered a Cheeseburger, and the people working there almost had a heart attack, and asked “Don’t you know where you are?” “Yeah, heel on earth!” It was a Jewish Burger Joint, and I guess a blind guy was supposed to know that they don’t serve cheese. Lets just say we haven’t been back there.

Well, with all of these issues, I am sure the people are at least nice. HA! I have a major neighbor issue. These people do not understand the concept of other people, and being neighborly. The asshold next door is constantly banging away, it sounds like he is playing shuffle board against the wall, and he has a two story apartment, it is so unbelievably unnerving. I did the polite thing, and went next door when I couldn’t take it anymore and knocked on his door, and the guy pulled a queens and refused to answer the door. So now, I am left to banging on the wall with a paddle to no avail. I have walked Nash hundred of times out here, and said hello to people that I hear passing by, and not once has anyone responded. I guess they are just pissed about living in Queens.

And, I haven’t gotten to the best two parts. Now that it is getting cold, it is at least ten degrees cooler in the apartment than it is ever outside. Not sure how that is possible. And finally, the best part. The planes. The apartment is fairly close to the airport and from 6am to 10pm you can hear planes flying over the apartment every two minutes. Un freakin real. This last part is so disturbing, as half the time I can’t even hear the voiceover on the computer due to the planes. Needless to say, Queens is the worst place I have ever lived, and I lived in North Ridge, California right after the big quake there in 1994.

Sorry for this blog post being such an unbelievable downer, but I finally just had to get it all off my chest. It is tough to write a positive blog about your daily adventures when you are pissed off most days, and thinking how the hell did I get here. Nash doesn’t even like the place, and he sulks a lot and sleeps more than he ver did. At least he gets to sleep in my big comfy bed. I did take him to the vet the other for a routine checkup and I happy to report, that he got a complete clean bill of health, so that was a very positive thing, as the last thing in the world that I wanted to hear was that Queens was making him sick.

Queens is so terrible that I now even hate the show Entourage, as they were all suppose to be from Queens, and thought Queens was so great. I guess that is why they were on TV and not real.

Nash and my new motto, Queens Sucks!