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For some time, I've been noticing an abundance of indoor signs, below the words, Braille placed almost always on the left, too high or too low, or if I was in perpetual darkness, would never find the entrance to the correct doctor's office, the ladies' room instead of the men's room, the automatic hand drier, the wastebasket, the exit, what floor brings me to which maze of rooms on leaving the elevator.


I actually try to avoid elevators, which for some reason can trigger the vertigo of Meniere's disease. This does not absolve stairways, with their lack of Braille. In fact, it angers me beyond reason. Everyone assumes I'm claustrophobic or trying to get exercise. Just last week I passed a doctor on a four flight stint, who remarked, "This is the only exercise I get, sadly. What's your reason, afraid of elevators?"


"Inner ear balance disease," I answer, (adding a silent, "motherfucker.") I was told years ago I'd eventually go completely deaf; instead I have heightened hearing, which almost sounds like a super power, but believe me as beautiful as birdsong is, there can be too much of a good thing. But to live without colors and shapes, I do not think I have that strength.


On Friday, I would have missed a small boy wearing bright blue boots on the wrong feet, up to his knees and a red cape, waving his starfish-shaped hand to a big yellow school bus that rolled through a stop sign at the corner of Maple and Pine Streets, his blonde curls bouncing in the wind while his dark-haired mother or nanny talked on a cell phone angrily, oblivious to the morning radiance.


Kneeling, using both hands, pulling weeds, digging in the dirt, planting perennials and herbs from the Veterans' Greenhouse, pausing to thank the returning creeping myrtle with sky blue flowers and ferns from my husband's first marriage, Dutchman's Breeches scattered amongst the indomitable ivy, already crawling up the front porch, as if to hold together the faded barn red stucco walls that need sandblasting and painting, to protect this house.


*** very special thanks to etouffee for "listening" to my rants about Braille, as well as for the title

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