Disability and the Wrist Watch

I’m not on time. I’m not “in” time. I’m seldom properly sequenced. Sighted people are fierce clock watchers. They’ve been trained to take tests, read documents, scramble and clutch all to the metronome. I try. I really do. But I work at a university that still doesn’t have a smooth system for getting accessible documents, books, reports, websites, and PDF files into my hands. I put in ten hours for every minute a sighted colleague gathers her information. If you’re blind, in the workaday world, time is not your friend. It is in this way I’ve come to understand how time itself is an ableist construction. Who dares to live outside of time? Maybe the ancient Chinese poet Han Shan (Cold Mountain) managed it. He left the busy world and lived in a remote cave. Such people tend to see time as a joke. I understand. If time is not my friend, I don’t have to invent gifts for it. Nor do I have to beg its forgiveness. I wear a wrist watch. I like the leather band. But I don’t care what it says.

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