I can't help but chuckle at the intrusion to my quiet as I flip the headphones off my head and touch a few keys to lock my machine. "Seems we have lunch" Steve comments wryly to my right.
I chuckle at his deadpan attitude. " It ...does seem that way, doesn't it?" I shrug, stuffing my phone into my pocket as I push my chair back. I feel a slight bump and the wheel catches.
" Again?" I mutter to myself as I get up off the chair, a hand touching the back of it to keep myself oriented as I walk around the chair and reach down to grab a hold of Ruff's leash.
Tracing its length with my fingers, I soon find the wheel that has gotten stuck in the leather. Ruff gets up off his pillow, shakes himself and settles in to watch me free him from the desk chair, an almost daily occurrence for us by now.
" Need a hand with that?" I hear a passing colleague behind me ask.
I don't know who he is, his voice is unfamiliar to me. This means I haven't interacted with him enough to make his voice tell me who he is. Especially with voices that sound alike, This can take a little while with me sometimes.
" Nah, I got it ..." I respond as I lift the wheel over the leash, pulling it free and flinging it around a bit to amuse Ruff, who jumps around a bit and shakes his head as if to ward off a pesky fly.
Putting his harness along my arm, the opening free, I lower my arm until Ruff obediently sticks his head through the leather and I do up the buckle. " Good boy ..." I say as I run the leash through the final strap. He takes a position to my left without me prompting him, something I give him a treat for.
I direct him towards the noise of the lunch table and settle down in a chair as the rest of the company trickles into the room, sitting down around me and passing the bread, sandwich toppings and cutlery around.
I take off Ruff's harness and direct him to lie down next to my chair as I run my hands across the table in front of me. Plate, knife, cup, everything's there. Good.
" What would you like?" a colleague asks from the opposite end of the table. I think for a moment.
" Can you hand me the bread and the peanut butter?" I respond, not sure if they are even present on the table currently. This is always a bit of guesswork for me as ingredients fly around the lunch area faster than boxes in an Amazon Delivery facility during the best of times.
Apparently, they are. I am handed a bag of bread and the peanut butter jar rather quickly, my fingertips encountering the smooth ceramic of the jar as I move it towards the noise of its shifting position on the table.
" I don't mind putting it on there if you need it?" John Doe offers. I bristle at that briefly, then take a beat. it is a reasonable offer, and another day I might have even taken him up on it, but today I'm just not in the headspace for his helping hand.
Offers like that are very double-edged for me. They make things a lot easier, but they also confront me rather strongly with my disability, one I don't experience as such but is still at least an impairment in some situations.
This is definitely one of them; someone who can see will likely always be able to perform this particular task quicker and more seamless than I ever will. At times, I am fine with that admission. Today, I just want to do it myself, dammit.
"I got it ..." I answer, my focus already at the task of tuning out all distractions so I can focus. I will also have to move the knowledge I am very likely being stared at to the back of my mind as I take my knife and use it to scoop up some of the sugary spread and carry it over to my slice of bread.
Taking care to keep a handle on my reflex to check my work with my right hand and getting it dirty, I do my best to run my knife across the bread in even strokes the way it usually works for me.
Repeating this once more, my other hand only keeping the bread steady, I estimate where the uncovered spots are and give it another pass, hopefully filling in the remaining bread. At home, I would run a finger across the bread but knowing what kind of a show I am already putting on, I refrain from doing that this time.
Cleaning my knife at the edge of the jar, I screw the jar shut and push it forward somewhat, indicating someone at the table can have it as I put two slices of bread on top of each other, getting some peanut butter on my finger as I do.
Sighing, I clean my finger off and dig into my rather paultry lunch. I don't like doing that in full view, but I like accepting help and admitting to my inadequacies even less on days like this. It comes with the job description to be a zoo animal worth watching at times, I suppose.
Making small-talk with my tablemates I eat my sandwich, discovering that to my delight I didn't do a half-bad job at covering all the bread. I count that as a small victory as I laugh at a story a colleague is telling everyone who wants to hear it.
My phone buzzes as I finish my sandwich. Wiping off my hands, I pull it out of my pocket and unlock the screen, the phone's tiny speaker near my ear as I listen to what it wants.
" Skype, now, Message from Lara," the mechanical voice says, followed by a rather detailed description of a sexual act involving her, me and various implements to do with such things. The explicit message make me blush and makes my pants feel a bit tighter. It is good that my phone's speech is set to a rather high rate, making this kind of clandestine yet rather blatant sexting at work possible.
Sexting is an interesting thing as a blind person. Obviously, the nudes don't really factor into it, so vivid descriptions of scenes, textual roleplay or spicy audio clips tend to be the way to go for most couples that have at least one blind person in it.
Being an audio engineer by hobby myself, I can craft rather exquisite audio experiences where that is concerned as well, be it recorded or on a real-time call, making phone sex a whole lot more dynamic and interesting.
For long-term relationships, imagination and creative solutions like this have made sexy times at least somewhat possible, filling the void of not having the real thing during the times apart.
Smiling to myself at the sheer audacity of responding to this at the lunch table of all things, I flip my phone into landscape mode and rest it on my pinkies, my thumbs holding onto the top of the phone as my remaining fingers find their position on either end of the phone to input braille characters.
" How do you do a slash character again ...hmm .." I think to myself as I fumble it a few times before getting it right, typing out a response just as vivid while my colleagues are completely in the dark about what I'm doing.
'Isn't that some sweet irony to go with the peanut butter sandwich?' my inner monologue comments dryly as I send the message off and put my phone away, confined to the lunch table until my rather visible reaction dies down a bit.
" Could someone hand me the cheese?" I ask, opting for a safer sandwich alternative to round my lunch off with.
Folding two slices of cheese between two pieces of bread I eat my second and last sandwich of the day when someone walks up to me.
" You need to announce you're there..." a colleague helpfully calls out from down the table. I turn towards the new person, suspecting he was reaching out his hand and got ignored for his trouble.'
"Hi ...I am Luke. I am your new colleague, Joanne said we had a meeting to discuss the way you work?" he offers, shaking the hand I helpfully stretch out in his general direction to diffuse the awkward situation.
" She mentioned that, yes ...do you know where we are doing that yet?" I respond as he sits down at our table.
" Yeah, the balcony is free so we figured that was as good a place as any" he responds, messing about with some plastic-wrapped bread topping I can't readily identify as he makes himself a sandwich.
" Hmm ...it'll just be a theoretical thing then. I can't take all my equipment over there" I tell him, finishing my sandwich and getting ready to go back to my desk. Ruff jumps up next to me, always being able to sense when I am about to leave the table somehow.
"I heard something about a practical demo later this week?" he responds, getting up as well. Ruff moves in next to me as I harness him again.
" Right, that is this Thursday" I confirm, following him back to our team's table. " You'll get all the fancy-schmancy party tricks then"
We both chuckle as we sit back down at our workstations. What he doesn't know is that I wasn't exactly kidding ...not entirely in any case. At times, it really can seem like entertaining the masses.
I unlock my machine, do some work and check my messages on Facebook. One of them makes me blink, then get into problem-solving mode. Something isn't right...
Just what did Lara send? What did I send back? Also, is Lara the mysterious partner from this morning? Who knows ...I might just include some more explicit stuff at some point. ;)
And just what happened on Facebook? That sure doesn't look good ...
Keep reading, you might just find out. In this situation, only I can see the future ;)