After an extended Christmas-and-Cogmed break, I’m back to orientation mobility training with my CNIB guy and weekly practice stints with my Vision Mate.
My eye surgeon saw me for the last time last week and explained I had to keep exercising my peripheral vision (seeing everything all at once) and eye tracking (moving eyes from one thing to another in narrow focus) to retain what the surgery had given me. And he also explained that motion — me moving while other people and/or objects are moving including rain — will be the last thing my brain will adapt to, motion being the hardest to perceive. I thought of how the subways are a massive moving challenge to my eyes and brain.
The roads in Toronto are getting so bad, I’m starting to get squirrelly about riding on buses. Don’t like my brain being shaken up. So it’s time to bite the bullet and relearn how to ride all the underground rails. Going a few stops in one direction is one thing; going several stops and having to transfer from one line to another is scary shit. Yonge-Bloor with its overcrowded Yonge platform is fucking terrifying. Governments and the TTC said they would expand that platform after they expanded the Bloor station platform.
And over the decades, the crowds just keep on growing. I want to know how many people have been horribly injured or died falling off that too-narrow platform!
Given my current state, I’m giving that transfer station a wide berth. I won’t even get off there to get up to Yonge Street. So that leaves two alternatives:
- Spadina where the Toronto-hating-let’s-kill-off-the-golden-goose Ontario government starved the TTC of needed funds to the point that they ripped out the walkway — one of the features that made the TTC a beacon of public transit around the world. Gee, I wonder why it isn’t that beacon anymore? The TTC put in benches as if that could make walking easier. I can’t handle that long a walk.
- St. George where the lines run parallel to each other, one under the other. Lots of stairs but not much walking.
St George it is!
How do I get on the train, I asked my trainer when we arrived on the platform.
He laughed: you know how to get on.
Yeah, but . . . I stared at all the people. My brain went: urp.
Here, he said, go here. And he guided me to a place where fewer people stood and I had a clear line of sight to where the train would stop. Phew.
Next question: where are the priority seats? How do I get to one before the train moves and I get suddenly nauseated from standing while moving, especially if my back happens to be towards the front of the train? Not easy to answer. Look for the blue lights. But not all the blues are lit. Sometimes you just gotta ask someone to give up their seat super quick. And memorize where to stand on every platform to have the doors next to the priority seats open before you. Bleah.
Subway trains and St George station needless to say are filled with movement. But not as much as Yonge-Bloor. And staying out of even the edge of rush hour helps cut down on the stimulation of movement.
One has to relearn some time, right? And at least the subway won’t rattle my brain like the bus bouncing and banging over potholes and wriggling cracks and pounded dents in Toronto’s crumbling roads.