I haven’t done one of these in awhile, so I thought… why not talk a bit about what lockdown was like for me, as a blind person?
I think in a lot of ways it was probably very similar to the experiences of most people. The same stress, the same uncertainty, the same feeling that I should be doing something worthwhile with all that free time coupled by the lack of drive to do any of it.
But there were some differences. Some worse, some better. And, well, me being me we’ll address the downs first because that way, I can end on a more positive sort of note.
So, first off. Lack of going out at all. Period. Around here, and I think elsewhere, going out for walks was encouraged so long as social distance was maintained and mask-wearing encouraged. You just had to stick to your own household. And… my household is just me. Moreover, it is difficult for me to go anywhere without touching a whole lot more than the average person, so I just stayed inside for way too long, especially once we were told to stop going for drives (I was going for drives with my mother).
Which is actually the second point. We weren’t really supposed to have contact with anyone not living with us, and I just couldn’t do it. Oh, sure, I ordered online and did contactless delivery as much as possible, but I needed contact with one person. I tried to keep it to a minimum, and I tried not to make actual contact with her, but I did see her. And I felt a bit guilty about it every time I did. Or a lot guilty.
Initially, the things I’ve gotten used to using to make life easier as a blind person, such as InstaCart, got wildly more difficult to use. Gone were the days of same-day delivery. Instead, I had to order one to two weeks in advance and expect that many of the things I wanted or needed would be out of stock. And while yes, I know everyone else was in the same boat, for me it was an adjustment as I’d already been using it for awhile since grocery shopping blind is rather challenging.
But. There is a bright side to that one. It made such services more prominant in the public eye which, in turn, drastically increased availability. so it led to more choices, which is a good thing for me.
You know what else was awesome? There was suddenly a plethora of activities that I could actually participate in almost as fully and sometimes completely as fully as the sighted people. For the first time in two decades, I joined a virtual choir. We even recorded some performances* (recorded individually and then editted together). It was fantastic, and I miss it. I was able to join in a D&D group over Zoom with my best friend, an old friend and two wonderful new friends, and that one is still ongoing, we play every Saturday night.
There were also some services rendered free or less expensive, such as a screen reader that I used to use but had stopped, who generously made their license free for a few months for those suddenly working from home and needing the same ease of access they got from work. Audible started putting out more free content. Lots of things like that began to happen, which was great for me. I just wish more of them were ongoing, but I appreciate that I got to have them for awhile.
So. As you can see, Lockdown Life was kind of a mixed bag. Bad bits but also, yes, good bits. Very few things in life are unrelentingly bad, you just sometimes need to go purposefully looking for the good.
As always, please be kind to those you encounter, and be kind to yourself.
*(Here is the performance in which I am actually in the video, the first one I was only in the audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ckk-s0Ur8 – I love the “Happy” segment of that medley)