How do you make a sandwich when you're blind?
Bobbie Hickey, who has only 5 per cent sight, talks us through how to do that most mundane of everyday tasks as a blind person
Bobbie Hickey: “I have a speed boat driving licence, I ride horses and I love travelling. Another fun fact about me is that I’m legally blind.”
Greetings. My name is Bobbie Hickey – I am 19 and have lived in Dublin my entire life. Some fun facts about me are that I have a speedboat driving licence, I ride horses and I love travelling.
Another fun fact about me is that I’m legally blind, with only 5 per cent sight (or so the doctors say).
I have been asked to write about issues I face with my disability, such as public transport, using technology, walking in the city or anything else that may prove difficult with limited sight. However, I have decided to take a step back and talk about something so basic, something that many people do every day but have never thought about what it would be like to do blind. Today, I will be talking you through how to make a sandwich with no sight.
First, we need to find the kitchen. Depending on the house you live in, this could be very tricky, but no matter where you live, you can guarantee that this process will involve walking into a wall or two. Once you have located the kitchen, the next step is to find the bread. I keep mine in or on the bread bin. After feeling around on the counter and knocking down a bottle of hand cream, I find the bread bin and then proceed to feel each loaf of bread till I find my favourite kind.
Bobbie Hickey | TEDx Tallaght
I then bring the bread over to the counter where I will be putting together my masterpiece. Getting plates and a knife is usually no problem, it just involves feeling the size of every plate in the drawer till you find the right-size plate. The same with knifes, although, be careful feeling knifes – I suggest asking a qualified blind person to help you with this task as sighted people may get a bit too confident and injure themselves.
Once you have your two slices of bread on a plate and you have inspected the slices closely for no holes, it is time to find the ham.
Before we even get to the fridge, we have to find it – this is the fun part! Slowly walk around your kitchen three or four times until you have found the general area where your fridge is, then, run your hand along each cupboard until you can ‘sense’ the fridge, or feel a change in material. Do not be discouraged if you open the wrong door, it happens to the best of us. Continue this process until you finally open the right door to find yourself hit with the cold air of the fridge. Now you have found the fridge, it’s time to locate the ham. Begin feeling every single package, box, tub and bottle in the fridge – chances are you will knock many items down and spill absolutely everything, but that’s okay.
Eventually, after several heart palpitations and a few curse words you will find the ham. Close the fridge and bring the ham over to the bread, only to realise, you have no butter. I find this bit the hardest, because in my house we keep the butter in a dish on the counter somewhere. We have about three different counters. I run my hands along the counters, knocking down everything I touch and breaking several glasses alas, but, eventually you shall find the butter.
To spread the butter, make sure to bend right over the counter so you can see as much as possible – this also ensures severe back pain later in life. As you are spreading the butter on the bread, you think you are doing a great job – confidence starts to rise and you are getting more and more exited to taste this sandwich, because, after all, your sense of taste is heightened. To open the ham, simply feel along the edges of the packet until you find the flap – do not worry if you are feeling stressed after this, it is normal. Place the ham in the sandwich and then cover it with the second slice of bread. The sandwich is now complete.
You take your work of art over to your seat, you sit down, mouth watering, you take the first bite and realise – it’s not ham, it’s turkey.
Platform Series: Bobbie Hickey
1) Making a sandwich when you're blind
2) Not getting the points I wanted
3) Benefits to being visually impaired
4) I’m not blind. I’m Bobbie Hickey
5) College with no friends, and no eyes
6) People freeze when I approach them
7) Why I mind needing help
8) The best teacher I have ever had
9) ‘This could happen to anyone’