Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
After nearly two weeks of wallowing in the throes of depression, I was forced to drag myself off the futon, out of the apartment and hop a bus to Colorado Springs, where my friends were dropping their daughter off at the Air Force Academy, to be raised from here on out by the US Government. A proud and sad moment for all of us, especially her parents, and my attendance had been planned for months, so not even depression could keep me from going.
As I left my apartment, backpack packed for the weekend, I saw a young girl sitting in the hallway. I think she just moved into the building, and asked her if she was trying to get a wifi signal, because if so, it was strongest out on the patio. She replied that she had locked herself out of her apartment. Aside from the bright pink hair, she reminded me of Jess, mainly because she was the same age. As I was going down the stairs I heard her tell the maintenance man that this was her first apartment, and she would have to get used to carrying her keys.
With headphones in my ears and an hour and a half bus ride, I had plenty of time to contemplate my woes. I thought of the girl, living alone for the first time in her life. And I thought of Jessica, when she left and started her life alone. And I thought of my brother Tim, and how he must have felt when he left little V town and headed for the big city—alone. I realized that what I had been going through was a little bit of being homesick. And probably a lot like all three of them had felt.
But how could I be homesick? I’m 43-years-old, living in a bustling city. My calendar is full of free events and activities that I jot down out of the paper every week. Oh, but wait. I wrote them down, but I haven’t actually gone to many of them. And I’ve certainly not gone to any event with a huge smile on my face and a welcoming demeanor that would draw strangers to me. Suddenly my two weeks of wallowing started to become shameful, realizing that I had engaged in a pity party where I was the only guest. I started to feel slightly better as the bus approached Colorado Springs, and finally took my earphones out long enough to respond to the young man sitting in the back of the bus with me who had been trying to get my attention the whole trip. Toothless as he was, he was actually very entertaining. Crazy enough to make me laugh, and crazy enough that I was glad he got off the stop before I did.
However, when I exited the bus, underneath a freeway overpass, the bus driver informed me that I had overshot my destination, “by a long way” he said. I knew my friends wouldn’t mind driving a bit to find me, but I had no idea exactly where I was. There are no street signs under the freeway, and as I called for a ride it was obvious I was lost. I was going to have walk somewhere, in which direction I didn’t know, into unfamiliar territory in search of someplace with an address. As I was discussing my dilemma on the phone, a man I had seen on the bus with me came over and asked if he could be of assistance.
He had a huge travel backpack, and what looked like a laptop strapped around his chest, with the keyboard exposed. He leaned his walking stick against the bench, and asked me where I was trying to go. I told him I was trying to get directions to where we were. He typed something into the keyboard at his waist., and immediately rattled off the address, along with some directions to get there from where I thought my friends were. With an address, my friends headed my way and I sat down to wait.
“Thanks for your help,” I said. “Is that a computer you have there?”
“It’s a GPS system. I can get anywhere with it,” he said.
For the first time I realized that he had a headset plugged into the computer, with a thin cord leading into his ear.
“That’s pretty handy, I could probably use one of those. Thanks again. My name’s Tabatha by the way.”
I extended my hand to shake his, and realized that he couldn’t see my hand. He couldn’t see anything. His walking stick was a white cane, and when he took off his glasses it was obvious his eyes were unseeing. He was completely blind! And he had just helped me find where I was.
“Steve,” he said, extending his hand and waiting for me to take it. I shook it and asked him if he was from Denver, and what brought him to Colorado Springs. He was there for the weekend helping his girlfriend do some things around her house, he said.
He was so easy to talk to that I couldn’t help but ask him questions.
“Aren’t you afraid being out here alone, not being able to see?” I asked.
“No, not so much here. It’s an adventure. I do get a little worried when I’m in the city, I have to keep a hand on my backpack at all times because people have tried to take it, but mostly it’s a new adventure everyday.”
Wow! I had been wallowing on the couch for two weeks over not making friends or having job offers lining up, and this guy, Steve, was wandering Colorado with nothing but a GPS system and a backpack. I was starting to feel ashamed of myself. Turns out he hadn’t been blind very long, maybe a year, and I never got around to asking him how it happened. We exchanged email and blog information, he told me he’s started a blind blog. Yup, we both laughed about that. I hope he sends me a link, I’d really love to know what goes through a blind man’s head.
As I walked away to go meet my friends, I’d nearly forgotten what troubles had left me crippled on the couch. And I certainly couldn’t think of one single thing that could compare with blind Steve’s challenges.

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June 30, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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