Parkour for the blind!

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 1 Comment

I was thinking of parkour today…you know the crazy wonderful sport of urban ‘running’ where you jump and run and do remarkable physical feats whist dashing from a to b in a city. The opening stunt sequence of the last James Bond had a parkour sequence – the stuntman was an original parkour ‘choreographer’. ( I must also recommend the fabulously daft but exciting French film ‘District 13’ which has mind-blowing parkour sequences….
Anyway and yadda yadda… I was thinking that I would have loved to have tried it when I had more sight..but actually then I realised that a lot of us VI (visually impaired) people would probably be damn good at it as we already have to plan and judge and think on our feet- fast and as far ahead as we can vaguely see each time we head out the house. I, and many with tunnel vision, learn to manoeuvre with huge blank spaces in the world. . One has to make a guess and a damn good one about those tricky blank spaces before one walks through them and that is more complicated the more people and ‘urban furniture’ (maaaan…how hip am I? Well not a lot obviously if I am still using hte word ‘hip’) one has to walk around , over or through. .. only aterwards you may feel the whoosh of the car you didn’t see, or knock into the edge of a stairwell you didn’t quite see…great for adreneline junkies! But that is why one gets a tad weary when trying to travel through London or figure out how not to get run down when crossing a 6 lane main street in New York. Yup, all us visually impaired people are doing parkour brilliantly everyday..just very very slowly…….Truly extreme sport …If you ever wanted a rush try taping your eyes half shot on your way into work next week…

I am so happy that Doris Lessing got the nobel prize for literature! At last that cynical, sharp and searingly intelligent writer has been recognised. I met John Thaw the actor in Zambia once, on the film set of Michael Raeburn’s version of Lessing’s ‘Grass is Singing’. I was very little but I remember I told him I wanted to be an actor and he wished me well. Turns out he hated every minute of the shoot in Zambia and swore never to go back again… I am sorry about that.

My Mum and her partner are on their way back from volunteering in Shanghai at the Special Olympics. We are all in dread of the thousands of digital phtos but looking forward to the stories! In the sailing the Brits won bronze, and gold!

Introduction to my first blog!

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 3 Comments

I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. This may sound like the Latin for some exotic garden plant but unfortunately is actually a genetic disease that causes the cells in the retina in the back of the eye to give up the ghost in varying patterns with no fixed timetable and often several side effects..the most annoying one being eventual blindness. Right now I have a very limited tunnel of vision which blurs and distorts occasionally during the day depending on light and stress. My peripheral sight, what’s left of it is a white out. Additional blurring is due to a secondary condition called macular odema which is extremely annoying but at least comes and goes unlike the RP which kills the cells and then leaves them lying around like a load of old garbage blocking the remaining view.
For some RP comes swiftly. It can blind a man in under a year but for many lucky sods like myself it is slow allowing us to adjust with each little theft of vision over tens of years. It plateaus and stays still for months, years and then can suddenly change again. You never know how it will be when you wake up each morning so there is no schedule for complete sight loss just a dull plodding dulling of my favourite sense.
I am not a hero. My failing sight does not make me able to hear whispered conversations at 50 paces, kill 100 thugs with only my karate skills and a length of curtain rail nor does it make me pale and interesting. It pisses me off. I rage RAGE against the dying of the light (to entirely misquote Dylan Thomas). I covert others ability to still drive , to cycle, to jog, alone and independent in the golden evening light, to just wander to the city centre without anxiety and planning. I sometimes can’t bear to be with my friends who move with such sickening ease through my murky world. Compassion I scream in fury at myself. Be F***g Compassionate! But its hard and more and more I find I have been home alone for days and days. Time has passed and I have used every excuse not to face the world. Not to fall arse over tit in the world.
I hold my fear and fury close to my chest and stick it under my bed when I go to work or out with others but it is always there when I come home; a little yet monstrous ball of grief and terror with teeth. I refuse to be a ‘disabled woman’, a middle aged blind woman. To refuse to accept this growing part of me means I am constantly fractured, torn and confused but it also means I have freedom and resilience and can dream without the weight of potential blindness on my back.

So there it is…the beginning of my blog to which you are very welcome….just to note that with this blog comes the unfortunate potential for gobbets of self pity and winging to infiltrate the general claptrap for which I apologise in advance and will do my utmost to avoid. Also, this is not yet set up to be visual impairment accessible which is ironic but I am a complete luddite and anything technical will have to be done by someone else so apologies tto the VI readers. I will sort it out soon!