My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mingling. Retinitis Pigmentosa

Steve and I recently attended an enjoyable evening with one of the organizations he belongs to with his employment. Another one is coming this Saturday evening. I will probably wear the dress I wore to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Holiday Luncheon. Cricket will probably change out into a black collar or maybe keep on her silver. We'll see what her mood is for the evening :).
Mingling and Retinitis Pigmentosa are not the easiest combination.  There are many visual cues that people catch in this type of social setting that I simply miss.  Its so much easier with a cane or guide dog as others have an easy visual cue that I am blind.  I recall one dinner several years ago that we were attending.  For some reason I didn't have my guide dog with me, cane was in my purse (its pretty unhelpful there) and a gentleman came up to me and started visiting and apparently he was holding his hand out to shake mine.   Steve saw the situation unfolding and helped us out of this awkward moment that I was unaware that it was an awkward moment.   Mingling is a part of life with church, work, social situations. 

Some of my tips are:  *Smile and be friendly and generally people will come talk to me rather than me finding someone, *Engage in the conversation - get to know them, *If it is an event where I know others, I may say to someone I am visiting with -- have you seen so and so, can you help me find so and so.  This becomes a natural break in moving on to mingling.  *Reach out my hand first to shake hands.  Let the other person find my hand.   *Brief introduction of Cricket so we can move on with the conversation and other topics.  However, she is often an intriguing topic for others that haven't had an experience with a guide dog and I am happy to share her amazingness.  Recently at a dinner with a table of people that had never met a guide dog before, the question came up - now just what does your guide dog do for you.  That was a conversation for a while on Cricket's amazingness :).

Preference is to sit down with a group of friends at a table and enjoy an evening, but I know mingling is part of so many events and although its a little challenging, I wouldn't miss.  We have fun. 

6 comments:

Mrs. Froh said...

I love your dress! Where did you get it?

Also, this is my blogging persona but I'm the gal behind the 'NewlyHousewife' name and was wondering if I could email you some questions.

Lydia Criss Mays said...

Oh, I loved this post. I love the way that part of living is figuring out living. Something we all have to do. I also loved what an integral part of life Cricket is to you. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that read, "My rescue dog rescued me." I have two dogs and when I think about what they do for me, well, they're the salt to my earth. They're the axis to my turning world.

Happy seeing beautiful!

Myrna R. said...

It's always good to learn about the challenges you go through and how gracefully you confront them.

I still have a little trouble mingling. My shyness sometimes kicks in.

Lucent Imagery said...

Ah yes, the invisible hand shake! I tend to put my hand out straight away too so that they find mine. I often get a comfortable spot with a chair if possible and find that people come to me all night. I must be inviting and warm for that to happen! I'm a very social person and those who know me are amazing at making life easier in these situations. They will get my food for me and protect me from people who are drunk etc (when in a bar of strangers). That might sound like I'm spoilt and indeed I am, but I am aware of how lucky I am and very grateful. I find a visual cue of a mobility aid is a great way of relieving pressure on ourselves as it immediately explains to others that I might not do what is expected. But by my smile they know I'm not unfriendly, just oblivious! But when I've got a mobility aid AND my camera - well then they're just totally confused! You know I was drawn to your blog so long ago because we have such similar outlooks (hee hee) on dealing with our challenges, but you also serve as a great reminder and articulater of some of the issues we face. Love you.

wendy said...

having fun is the most important thing.
and once the "akwardness is over, then think of all the things others can learn from YOU.

Becky said...

Mrs. Froh;
Thank you! My dress was a fun find from Carolyn's Formals in Bountiful. Certainly - email me at becky.lpc@gmail.com. Look forward to it.
Lydia; What a fun way to look at this post, our wonderful dogs (and life). Thank you!
Myrna; I'm with you! Sometimes that is more challenging.
LI: Love it. You so get it!
Wendy: Yes :). Thanks!