Hanni and I did a presentation at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Skokie, IL right before Thanksgiving. The kids were great fun, they were very curious about how Hanni does her job, and how I manage to do all the things I do without being able to see. The hour flew by so quickly we didn’t have time to answer all their questions. Sensing the disappointment in the room, I suggested they email me. “Send me all your extra questions,” I said. “I’ll use my talking computer to write you back.”
The notion of a computer talking to me struck them as very cool, and two different classes took me up on the offer. Both email messages were downright endearing, and hearing my talking computer read the second one, all the questions running together in a stream-of consciousness robotic voice, gave me a laugh. The email is a perfect example of the sorts of questions I get from kids when we do school presentations:
Thank you for coming to our school. You are both very cute. If you ever come to our school again, can you take your fake eye out for us? You write the best books I ever read. What is your middle name? You are the first blind person I ever met. Did Hanni ever make a mistake? I have a dog named Mocha. What is your favorite candy? Thank you for coming to our school telling your wonderful stories. We had a great time meeting you. Did you have a great time meeting us? Please thank Mike for bringing you to school and helping you too. with love and thanks, The Children of 2B
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know the answers to most of the questions the kids asked. Except for that one about the fake eye, I guess. So many of the questions I get come from a question another kid asked earlier. The fake eye question in the email, for example –this was a pretty bright group of kids, so I decided in my presentation to explain the laser zaps I had to my eyes to try to save my vision, and then all the surgeries I’d had later.
After a series of regular questions, you know, does your dog sleep with you in your bed, that sort of thing, one boy asked, “Do your eyes hurt?” It was such a sweet, caring question. I reassured him right away that no, usually my eyes do not hurt.
“But here’s something you might not have guessed,” I said. “One of my eyes –my right one –is fake.” I told them sometimes that fake eye gets sleep in it, or teeny bits of dirt or dust in it. “And when that happens, then yes, my eye hurts. I have to take it out and clean it!”
Hence the “Can you take your fake eye out for us” question in the email message. When I wrote them back, I answered like this:
Answer: Hmm. Maybe. I guess we’ll just have to “see”!