The thing to remember about my mother, and sometimes even I forget this, is she’s overly paranoid. She’s not quite at the level where she’ll wrap her house in something with some degree of protective coating or something at the slightest hint of a viral outbreak in town, but she’s reached the level where she gets a little jittery when I contemplate doing something as adventurous as taking the city bus in Ottawa. She gets a little anxious when I consider taking one of my cross-border trips–although she’d never admit it without some arm twisting.
So, when I mentioned in passing maybe getting around to actually figuring out how to get from A to B, I could tell right off it was defensive mom to the rescue. I thought she’d want to do her usual playing 20 questions about how I planned to do that, who I’d call, and would I be reachable in the process–she’s big on insisting I be available, even when it’s rather inconvenient for me to do so. Instead, and without blinking, she very calmly, and very casually suggested I should first investigate getting a guide dog before doing so. When I asked why she thought so, her answer just about floored me. Apparently, the dog will know if a car’s trying to cross in front of me, or is stopped in my way, and physically prevent me from crossing in that particular area. Because, you know, I wouldn’t be able to tell judging by the sound of the extremely not quiet engine that there was a quickly moving object about to take my face off were I to step into the street right about now.
Now, I have nothing against people who currently have, or have had, guide dogs. Clearly, it works for you. Or at least, at one time it did. It doesn’t for me. My reasoning is actually quite detailed, and will probably get an entry of its own up here at some point, but suffice it to say I get along far better by way of the cane than I would by way of the guide dog. And, in fact, am probably more likely to actually pay attention to things, simply because I won’t have much of a choice. Really though, I prefer that method of travel and am used to it, it hasn’t broken on me yet, so I don’t particularly feel the need to go messing with it. It’s not like one of my computers, or other pieces of recently tinkered with technology–I don’t particularly favour playing around with it until something goes sideways.
My mother knows this, and yet still she decided I needed a guide dog before learning a route to a coffee shop in a relatively small town. Ignoring the fact I’ve navigated Canada’s capital by way of the cane for a year and a half and nothing on my person shattered or otherwise stopped functioning. I think I can manage to maneuver my way a block and a half or whatever it is to fill my coffee needs without killing myself.
Needless to say, she was reminded of why I haven’t bothered and don’t plan to bother with getting a guide dog. And, as conversations like that often do, it kind of ended at about that point. I still don’t think she quite gets it, and she probably won’t. But I don’t generally like to overcomplicate things, really. For the kind of thing I was talking about, just in passing initially, a guide dog would definitely be overcomplicating things. I’ll probably go ahead and arange to figure out where I’m going and how to get where I need to be. She’ll probably have her miniature freakout session. Things will be just as they’ve always been. And I’ll hope to God we don’t have that particular conversation for a while. Once would be enough for me, thanks.