There are times when I get these really insane ideas and wonder if they might actually work - and if people would really be interested in the results.
The idea you are about to witness the results of was me wondering if I could show you what challenges I face when I am out and about - a kind of attempt to "lend you my eyes" if you will. I decided to take my Canon digital "Point and Shoot" camera on my walk from my driveway to the bus stop where I catch the bus into town and video what I see (as well as giving you a description of how things affect me).
Please Note - Although it sounds like the camera operator is about to keel over and die at any moment I had a cold at the time of filming (I also forgot to put my mobile on silent - apologies for the message alerts you hear).
I decided to show you precisely why I hate walking around in "wall-to-wall sunshine".
Click on the link to start the video. Then read my words.
Getting down my driveway is the easy bit. Then (as Kevin Bridges would say) I begin to encounter some difficulties.
The first difficulty is - funnily enough - the sunshine. More to the point - it is the angle of the sunshine in relation to where I am standing. If I wanted to cross the road I would be OK looking to my right - nice normal lighting conditions. I can see all known traffic and other potential obstacles on my righthand side. My lefthand side is a completely different story. You want to run me over??? Just get yourself a bicycle and ride towards me from my lefthand side on this road in bright sunshine and I will not see you until you are almost running me over (this actually happened one morning - the cyclist wasn't too happy with me. They muttered something about me not looking before I crossed the road. The trouble was - I did look both ways before I crossed the road. Not my fault the cyclist wasn't the size of a useful object - as in a car.)
So - we have turned left. If you have been concentrating whilst reading the above paragraph you will know that cyclists (and other small "Alien" beings - walking humans, dogs, etc) become invisible until I get very close to them. There is something else which changes though. Landmarks go for a walk - or lose all recogniseable distinguishing features (windows, doors, colour scheme of exterior paintwork, etc).
The next "obstacle" we see is the alleyway between two blocks of flats. (Actually - this can confuse me even if it isn't sunny.) You might be able to aim directly for the "hole" as soon as you can see the end of the carpark. To me - that looks like a black fence blocking the way out of the carpark (good job I have known this route almost my entire life). I always get a shock when humans literally appear out of the woodwork walking towards me.
At the other end of the alleyway is a brick wall. Sometimes there is a car parked opposite the end of the alleyway (as well as one just where I turn right out of the alleyway). Anything parked anywhere near the end of the alleyway is initially computed as blocking it off until I can actually see the road or the pavement so I can visually "measure" the distance between me and the obstacle. (See what I mean about landmarks losing all known distinguishing features??? Trust me - there is a road and then a brickwall.)
After I turn right out of the alleyway we come to my "favourite" obstacle - a car partially draped across a pavement. Now - there is a difference between my perception of the distance between the side of the car and the wall and the camera's perception of the distance. The camera suggests there is enough space for me to get through. My eyes - on the other hand - don't. The colour of the car facing us is actually hindering me - it looks bigger to me than it really is. To the point where - on first seeing the car it appears to be some kind of Transit-type van. The red car actually looks as though it is parked closer behind the other car.
Luckily I know this is a cul-de-sac so I am reasonably happy walking in the road to navigate my way around the car. I am not so happy when I see lorries making deliveries to the CO-OP blocking the pavement nearer the junction with the main road. In fact, I can get extremely scared when that happens. (One day I nearly walked right into the back of a car which was parked almost on the corner as I came around the corner on my way home from the CO-OP. I am sure there is a legal distance you have to park away from junctions???)
The rest of the video just shows the pavement and the road. However, it does show two things which you may not take any notice of (correction - if you have 20/20 vision - you probably won't take any notice of this). There is one thing which can totally disorient me and one thing which can cause me difficulties which may come under the "Slips,Trips, and Falls" part of a Risk Assessment. And - you may be surprised to learn that they are not all that different when it comes to how my brain computes them.
The disorienting thing in the video (although it is not to a "dangerous" extent like it would be if there weren't any buildings in the vicinity) is shadows on the ground. Trust me - the sun hits a lampost at the wrong angle and the resulting shadow can appear like a solid barrier blocking my way (or it can look like someone has helpfully dug a trench in the tarmac and retarmacked the hole).
The "Risk Assessment problem" in the video is one I end up encountering just about everywhere I go. Kerbing. Correction - Grey lines on ground which may or may not be kerbing indicating a drop between two levels. (Trust me - you do not want my opinion on any ornamental paving you may choose as part of any landscaping you may do. Let's just say I think my life would be a lot easier if grey kerbstones were reserved for the edges of pavements. There are times when I seriously think people should be imprisoned for misuse of grey kerbstones.)
Well, we have come to the end of this "trip". I hope you found it interesting. I may try another video at some point showing something else which poses me with a challenge.
Before I finish I wanted to share this photo which shows what the view looks like when I turn left out of my driveway and walk a few metres when it isn't "wall-to-wall" sunshine. I prefer this view - I can actually see the traffic properly.
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