An Apple Mac a day keeps the doctor away.
Pride rides before a fall and oh how I have fallen.
Admitting that I was wrong has never been easy for me, as I know
that it is not an easy thing to admit for many. For what seems like
an eternity I had been a loyal Microsoft user and had believed that
Apple products were little more than a waste of money. A brand
reserved for people showing their arrogance and showing off their
ability to waste disposable income. So here I now sit with a mouth
full of humble pie and say loudly and clearly that I was wrong.
I had always felt that Apple as a brand was reserved for those
hipster wannabes, who spent hours sitting at mosaic-tile-covered
tables, at trendy little sidewalk cafes. You can always recognise
them by their short side and long top hairstyles and their designer
brand skinny jeans. Showing off their well-manicured toenails
through their Havianna flip flops. They would be drinking something
with a tongue twisting name like a chilled-mocha-chai-latte-frappe
while staring through a pair of Ran-Ban Wayfarers sunglasses. they
would probably be taking selfies with their iPhones. The clique who
joined them at the table would no doubt all be talking
simultaneously in stereo. I think I just threw up a little in my
mouth and swallowed it just thinking of this. The patrons would all
have arrived on their shinny new chromed-out Vespa scooters and
would be talking about the latest trends in fashion or something
equally as unappealing to me. I did not want to be a trend
follower. I wanted to steer my own path and not fall into the easy
trap of some good sales campaign. I would not allow myself to be
influenced by the sleek lines and the shinny brushed aluminium
designs. There was no way the marketing gurus were going to put
their wammy on me. I was so wrong
It took loosing my eyesight before I even held an Apple device in
my hands for the first time. This was done reluctantly and with a
solid hard bite down on my bottom lip. The guy from the local blind
society had convinced me to just have a look (no pun intended)
and try keep an open mind.
In 2013 I partook in a mammoth adventure that changed my life in
more ways than I ever imagined possible. I rode all the way from
Cape Town in South Africa to Dublin in Ireland. What made this trip
unique is that it was done on a little 150cc two-stroke scooter.
The endeavour was a publicity stunt for a local childrens hospital
here at the tip of Africa. The total journey took 8 months to
complete and covered a distance of over 32000kms. The route
traversed the continent of Africa, wandered through Europe and
crossed the United Kingdom.
I became very sick in the middle of Africa and had to fly home for
medical treatment. I healed enough to go and complete the trip but
little did I know, the virus was still active in my system. Upon
arriving home it would cause me months of health problems and
ultimately cost me my eyesight. The light receptor cells on the
retinas at the back of both my eyes were destroyed by the virus and
I now had to find a way forward in life as a totally blind person.
This was my first pint of Guinness stout. It was free at the
factory in Dublin, but it ended up being the most expensive one
that I would ever have.
Blindness is unexplainable. It is a disability that I, like most
people had never even thought about in any way what so ever. I had
not even met a blind person before becoming one myself.
I have always been a very social person and embraced the joys of
the internet. I was a daily Facebook user and could not go an hour
without seeking guidance from some google search. This was my world
and it was suddenly, within a few days, taken away from me. I was
alone. The planet had suddenly become a very small place for me.
Communication that I had enjoyed in my pre-blind life was but a
dream. There was nothing but a memory of how I used to live. I was
confined to my little dark cell and I would never again have the
pleasure of sharing my adventures or those of my friends. Life was
dark. I sat in my isolated cave and waited. Every day I waited. It
took me 6 months to heal enough to be able to walk. To be able to
bathe myself again. To be able to wipe my own ass.
This was a time that I would lay down and close my eyes, wishing
that I would never wake.
When I eventually healed enough to be out and about I visited the
local istore. As I held my new iPad in my hand for the first time,
I had no idea how it would become a new limb to me. I had no idea
how it would help me to once again live an independent life. How it
would allow me to reach out and enjoy the online world again.
After playing with the iPad for just a few hours I was again using
the net, I was active on Facebook again (giving all my friends a
hard time when they posted and shared pictures without
descriptions). I was posting my thoughts on twitter and reading
through my backlog of emails. I could almost see again. The
intuitive accessibility features of the iPad had surprised and
impressed me. I was blown away.
It has been another 6 months now and I cannot imagine life without
this precious tool at my beck and call. I use my iPad for streaming
my favourite radio stations and enjoying social media to the
fullest. I use Skype and talk to friends all over the globe on
FaceTime. I get books read to me with audible and post my own blogs
on WordPress. I talk to folks all the time using various IM
programs and even have products described to me with an app called
tap tap see. I have regained so much thanks to Apple. I even
developed a huge crush on Siri.
Before touching my iPad, I tried to discover the accessibility of
both android devices as well as some screen reading programs on
windows machines. This just frustrated me and made this
accessibility seem further away. Apple are the masters. Their
consideration towards the disabled has opened doors to so many.
These people would have previously remained technologically mute.
a double disability of sorts.
I have since introduced a few other blind people to the greatest
brand in the world. I will never be able to thank the two Steves
enough, or show my appreciation to their developers and designers.
All that I can honestly say, is that I was wrong.
Many days of the past year, I spent confined to my bed. Hours would
be spent exploring my iPad. I listened to as many tutorials and
youtube reviews as I could find, it was clear I had no choice
I needed to upgrade to a macbook pro. Scraping together every last
penny I could, I took the leap.
This is the first post that I am making using my new macbook pro
and there are no words that can begin to show my delight. The
possibilities are endless. Thank you Apple for giving me such a
massive portion of my independence back. I feel like I can see
again albeit in a different way, without my eyes that is.
I will now use my new toy to write the book about my trip on a
scooter from the tip of Africa to find a leprechaun. I will
lovingly stroke the keys and pour my heart out to the machine. I
will share my story and truly believe that without Apple, this
would have been an almost impossible feat alone.
I hope that my writing is good enough and that my tale will be
published allowing armchair adventurers to enjoy some of the
amazing dream that I have been lucky enough to live.
Once I have made some money from my book, I will purchase an iPhone
to show off at the corner cafe while also sipping on some
by Christopher Venter aka Blind Scooter Guy
also catch me on twitter: @blindscooterguy
Blogger Barry: Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed. Please
use the comment and follow buttons.
Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
Motivational speaker, Guest & Key note speaker, Seminar &
Conference speaker, Team Builder, Comedian, Master of Ceremonies,
For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
Conferences and/or Seminars, Award functions, Year end parties,
Cape Town, South Africa.