Mike downloaded a “camera for the blind” on my iPhone. It’s called “Tap Tap See.” Users take a photo of what’s in front of them, wait a few seconds, and, abracadabra! The app announces out loud what’s in the photograph.
Grateful? Not me. I was petulant. “I’m not ready to learn how to use apps yet,” I snapped. “I don’t even know how to retrieve my voice mail with that thing.”
Mike not-so-calmly pointed out that I’d already been using apps. “The clock, you know. That’s an app. So is weather.”
I thought apps were things you added to your phone. “Well,” I said. “I’m just not ready to learn how to use a new one, then.”
Mike was away on a business trip weeks later when I felt through my wallet to make sure I had cab fare for the next morning. I keep track of money by folding each denomination differently, but I’d been in such a rush at the store that day that I’d shoved bills in there without folding them first.
How would I know what to give the cab driver?
I hadn’t tried my “Tap Tap See” app yet, but the same promotion that called it a camera for the blind claimed it can identify paper currency, too.
I straightened a bill on the kitchen counter, launched the app and twisted my finger around the iPhone screen. VoiceOver said, “Take picture.”
Somehow I managed to hold steady, hover the iPhone over the bill, and double-tap. “Picture taken.”
Seconds later, abracadabra! “Woman with long hair.”
George Washington looks like a woman, I guess. Must be a single.
I pulled out another bill, took a photo, waited a few seconds. “Woman with brown hair.” Lincoln doesn’t look like a woman. Washington’s hair is white. Who else’s face is on American currency?
Off to my talking computer to Google. Alexander Hamilton is on the ten. Did Hamilton have brown hair?
Back to the kitchen counter. Tap Tap See identified all my bills as women, some with short hair, some with brown hair, some with long hair. Not the clear-cut answer I was hoping for, but the app was fun to play with.
I was 26 when I lost my sight. I’m in my 50s now. Would Tap Tap See identify me as “Middle-aged woman”? “Woman with wrinkles?” Did I really want to know?
I couldn’t resist.
Off to the bathroom mirror. I held the phone up to my reflection, smiled pretty, tapped “Take picture” and felt my heart race as I waited for Tap Tap See’s judgment. Finally it came. “Woman with brown hair.”
Woman with brown hair? Do I look like Alexander Hamilton? I snapped another picture. “Woman with short hair.” And that’s when it dawned on me. I’d been using my iPhone backward. The round hole on the back of the iPhone is not what people look through to snap a photo.
Those photos I’d taken? They all were selfies.
And now, just to confirm I am not an Alexander Hamilton look-alike, I’ll be sauntering down to Private Bank Theatre tomorrow night, because, of course, I have a ticket to the musical HAMILTON! You heard that right. Me. Beth Finke. Going to Hamilton tomorrow night. Back story? Earlier this year when my friend Colleen learned that a block of tickets to tomorrow’s show were set aside to benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness, she surprised me by buying two of them. “One’s for you,” she told me. “My treat.”
I’ve read the biography the musical is based on twice now. No easy feat. The audio version is 38 hours long! I’ve been listening to the CD non-stop whenever Mike is out of the house, too. I’m ready. I probably shouldn’t brag, but dag. Tomorrow night, Colleen and I are going to be in the room Where it happens.