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water, Helen! W-A-T-E-R!! - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Just me.

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water, Helen! W-A-T-E-R!! [Jul. 25th, 2008|01:59 am]
Just me.
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I'm learning Braille at work. As we serve the blind and have a few blind employees, this makes lots of sense. It apparently takes a blind person a year plus to master Braille if they have no prior Braille instruction, and I'm learning more to see the dots than to feel them, so maybe it will be faster to get a rudimentary competence. I plan to be employed here for a while, so a year or two of study is no problem.

The first letters you learn are A thru J. part of this is that it's easier to break the alphabet down into segments, the other part is that these only use the top 4 dots (out of 6) and are thus "building blocks". We get homework of simple nonsense phrases using only 10 letters to transcribe, aka, "a big egg" "bad acid", (no, really!) "dig a jig", etc.

So today I'm in the staff break room. Pertinent items in there are Brailled with label-maker raised dots like the microwave controls, the recycling vs. the garbage, and the coffeemakers and coffee carafes. As I'm still trying to reinforce my learning, I start feeling and looking at the labels. I realize I can read one of them all by myself...

Okay, so it's not Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller the sign for water. But living and working in Seattle, I think it's entirely appropriate that this is my first real-world Braille word.

DECAF, Helen!! D-E-C-A-F! (you may sing to the tune of the South Park episode if you choose)

As of this week, I should know enough letters for "mocha" and perhaps even "latte".

Wait will you hear about how screwed up the symbol for "w" is. Hint: another thing we can fault the French for.