Friday, November 16, 2007

Harsh Realizations

This post comes a few days later than I intended, what with the decision to change blog spots.

A few days back, I was at the local mall picking up some games for my wife's DS. I was on my way back, when I came a cross a pair of blind individuals. There was a young man using a cane, and a woman with a seeing eye dog.

Now the area I'm in has a cross walk with an audible signal and a few bus stops. I assumed they had just gotten off of a bus and were making their way to someplace nearby. This crosswalk lies beneath an enclosed walkway that connects to sections of the mall. It's all important, trust me.

Now as I passed them, the woman was keeping pace with me, but the man became disoriented. It was a busy day, and he was constantly bumping into people. His friend, the blind woman, called out to him. Now with the noise, the overpass, and all the rest, her voice really gave him no direction. He wound up falling farther back and becoming turned around.

I was compelled to stop. I wanted to help. It was obvious they needed it. They were losing one another. A few people helped the man move in the right direction, so I slowly started moving along. I looked over my shoulder and saw them make yet another wrong turn, entering a shop, becoming visibly confused and slowly backing out.

I stopped to listen to them for a moment, and they were looking to go to McDonald's, one door down from the wrong shop. The man had smelled the food, and wanted to stop. I wound up helping them to the store, with a quick word that it was just down at the next shop. I opened the doors for them, and felt that I'd done a good deed for the day.

But then... they could not find the counter. I had intended on leaving. I had groceries to do, I wanted to go play some FF... But I couldn't. So I guided them to get in line. It was an experience guiding them. How do you give directions to someone who cannot see?

In the end, by holding their sleeves or hands, I managed to get them turned around, and settled into the end of the line. The curved line. I got them there, and then decided I had done enough, that others would prompt them further. I turned back before leaving to see my two charges forlorned, a growing gap between the line and them.

So I went back, and guided them to the counter, helped them get seated, and educated them how to find the mall's entrance again. They thanked me, and they wished me a good day.

On my way home, I wanted to cry. How often had I complained about my feet hurting, or a store being closed as if it were the end of the world? How many times had I taken for granted that I had feet to walk with, eyes to see the store closed? And how miserable of me is it to be glad not to be these two people right then?

I could not imagine living in a world without seeing it. How do you manage? Look at how something so every day, so simple, becomes an odyssey for them. I am blessed to have all my normal faculties. We all are that have them. Often, we take them for granted, and we shouldn't.

No comments: