Alberta Bound

Those words have been given new meaning for me since I’ve moved back. I can’t believe how much things change and how much I’ve changed as an individual. The culture here is very much against open discussion on anything. They all appear to be homophobic and afraid of anything that is not the “norm”. There is much fear here. I’m really surprised.

When I was growing up I was really very proud to be from Alberta. Rugged Individuals, kind of like the Marlborough Man. Today its conform or we will kill you, its like a bunch of Borg Drones. Unthinking unfeeling. I know this is unfair and a generalization and not fair but holly cow batman, people live and let live, life is too short. I know this is harsh and I ask for your forgiveness as most of my very best friends live in Alberta. No offense intended I am trying to make a point. However in an agriculture culture if it isn’t what you expect you cull it. I wonder sometimes why I haven’t been culled. I think I’ve spent too much time in liberal Toronto and liberal Seattle. I’m now a lefty tree hugger apparently.

I participated in a raffle at work before Christmas. I won one hour of a senior executives time. I had no idea what to do with this person. Having this person sit through an hour of my job would be unproductive for both of us. No need having a senior manager know for sure that I am under used doing essentially nothing. Perhaps again an unfair generalization but spending almost seven years at Microsoft its very hard to adapt to no phone calls and one or two emails a day. I’m used to exponentially more.

A colleague of mine suggested having this senior executive experience my world, being blind for an hour. Blind fold him and make him buy you lunch was the suggestion. I called the CNIB “Canadian National Institute for the Blind” and ran the idea by them. The CNIB has these vision simulator glasses and the first person I talked to thought this might be a cool idea as well. Besides we might get a free lunch.

If you read my blog you know I go where angles fear to tread. The boss at CNIB called and asked “Are you sure this is a good idea?”. I asked them is what a good idea? They continued “Are you sure you want them to understand what you can and can’t see?”, “Aren’t you afraid they will fire you!!!!?”. I had a good giggle the thought had not occurred to me. I am personally driven by learning and understanding, appreciating diversity of thought and belief and embracing it. Never did I think myself stupid enough to have not considered the ramifications of a conformist. My horizons have been broadened.

I am, I was so excited about learning more about myself by watching someone unfamiliar with my condition have to live it for ONE HOUR!!! The positive impact on me and my understanding of my context and the sighted would be amazing.

In the new year I will make the offer to the executive and see what happens. Plan B is to be explicit on how little is expected of me. Perhaps I had it all wrong and this was a job given to me out of pity as they didn’t think me capable. It wouldn’t be the first time some employer felt sorry for the poor little blind boy and gave him a job with no responsibility that the blind boy “could” do. These types of jobs suck and are demeaning. Perhaps that’s why they think me ungrateful. Ungrateful for the pity and the lame job. If the person has the courage to go through with the experiment I will share what I learn. If the senior executive is unwilling I will ask the one who suggested the idea in the first place. I will also let you know when I get a real job.

I forgot to answer the question. If any employer fires me for understanding what I can and can’t see I will sue them. I don’t care if I’m in Alberta or not. Perhaps I learned a thing or two living in the US, aggressive advocacy. I am not going to be bound in what I can and can’t say about ME!!! Not by anyone. Well everyone has a price I assume. Any Offers?

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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