looking at life through a platinum blonde fringe.

Bumps in the road

on October 9, 2012

Bumps in the road, cracks in the path, sloping ground, unmarked steps.

All of these can play tricks on someone with not-so-great-vision.

You look at the path or ground ahead and see small deviations, lifted pavers, etc that will affect your footfall.

Unless there are shadows or lines, a person with albinism sees an expanse of one colour with no hint as to any trip (or fall flat on your face) hazards.

Often my memory or common sense tells me where something may be different, ie I’ve been there before or I can see something else which indicates steps (people queueing uphill, for example) or signage… anything my memory associates with steps.

I have attached some photos which kind of show this situation.


Three colours. Are they on the same level?

   With the “three colours” image, either side is carpet and the middle is metal mesh.

I can’t see if it the metal (which looks like steel plate) is sloped, nor can I tell if there is a step inside the door, nor if the metal is on a raised surface. With lights shining on it,the metal’s composition is a bit of a mystery til I get closer.



reflecto dip.

In this image “reflecto dip”, there is a patch of light on the floor.

As I spend most of my time walking looking at the floor, particularly in new places, this totally threw me.

I couldn’t see if it was light bouncing off a dip for uneven flooring, (it was old wooden flooring) or one step… turns out it was just a reflection, but I hesitated before walking there, looked up and around and at the wall, and put one foot out carefully first. Even though common sense says “why would there be a dip in the middle of the floor?”,  I’ve been tricked before.


The third image is another angle of the first picture. It just accentuates that there are several coverings but no indication that they are or aren’t flat.

This is just life, and people with albinism learn to navigate. We learn to use all our senses to find our way around.

Many people with albinism use a cane, as this enables them to feel even the slightest variation in the ground or path ahead and accommodate their walking.

I have seen little people stop, squat and feel the ground at the join of different floor coverings to see if there is a bump, a step or it’s level. Big people are too embarrassed, probably, so we often put out a toe or foot.

We don’t need a call for architectural regeneration, or any signage or accommodations, it just goes to show that often the everyday … isn’t everyday… to everyone!


One response to “Bumps in the road

  1. Liba says:

    Thanks (again) for a wonderful post.
    I had a lucky experience…. First, let me start with the fact that people have trouble believing that my son is VI because of the amazing way he gets around. On the first day of school this year I was trying to explain my son’s vision to his teachers. It is hard enough to try to understand it myself, but to try to relate it…. anyway, we were in the playground the day after a rain and a small patch had some black (rather dry) mud. My son (who uses a cane – and understands when he gets information from it – ie drop or step – but not lack of information always) raised his foot as high as he could to get over the flat black spot. The teacher saw it. I was so happy 🙂

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