Particularly at this time of the virus, the lockdown and the need to keep our distance, personal space has jumped up the agenda. I grew up never even thinking it was an issue.
As well as having very little sight, I am also short-sighted. This means I have to put my nose to it to have a chance of seeing anything in the way of detail.
Some years ago, an understanding professional friend mischievously introduced me to a girl who was nearly blind but with long sight, not seeing things near to her.
So I moved in close to her and she retreated fast. My friend laughed. ‘So you two are just not compatible’ she sniggered. But we did become good friends fairly soon afterwards.
I learned the hard way that personal space is a powerful weapon in the way we interact with each other much later when I was about to leave The Royal London Society for the Blind. My services were no longer required there and I sat down at a long table expecting the school governors to sit in their usual places near to me. But they sat together at the far end, the bastards. It was like having a dagger thrust straight into my emotional being.
Of course, they were and are not bastards. This was just another notch on the learning curve of life’s experiences.
Now I am older and deafer so I need to be close at hand to both see or hear what is going on and that is the very thing I am not allowed to do. The other day we were in the local garden centre buying greetings cards; a difficult task for someone who can’t see what the heck is on the card. The assistant was so helpful but she kept edging away during the conversations as she was doing her level best to describe each card. I must have been half asleep mentally because in the end she had to say that she was trying to keep her two metre distance from us. I could only wake up and apologise and then it was all fine except that I could no longer hear her descriptions. But, what the heck; We came away with some cards possibly very suitable.\