This was originally posted on May 24, 2015 at 11:25 PM on blogger.com.
This post may include a lack of empathy that might be jarring to those light of heart. As well as a bit of unnecessary backstory.
So please, proceed with caution.
Oh boy, to describe my weekend as interesting would be an understatement of epic proportions. I do not know how to even begin. But I will try.
Yesterday morning, I woke, completed my usual morning routine, took access-a-ride (will be writing another post on the horrors of using them) to my friend, Shanice’s job, where I waited at a table, eating a wonderfully prepared breakfast (she is a chef). At around 2:00, we left and headed to the train station. We were on our way to an All Time Low concert (The Future Hearts Tour).
Upon arriving at the appropriate station, we asked a few questions until we were heading in the right direction. While walking, and confirming that we were heading the right way every now and then, Shanice complains of being hungry and suggests looking for food. So we decide to go back to a Subway she’d seen (it was the only thing that interested her)
She orders, we get our food and are back on our way.
As we are walking: cane in my right hand, my other hand holding Shanice’s arm, and Shanice’s other holding the bag with her sandwich, it happens.
Just before we step onto the sidewalk, my cane jerks in my hand and I think, dismissively, that someone’s probably stumbled or kicked it. Nothing new.
But then, in perfect unison with Shanice’s gasped:
“Oh my God.” (through a mouthful of sandwich). I hear it.
It sounded like a cross between a thud and a stinging slap. And I’m stunned.
As it begins to register in my mind what happened, I can’t bring myself to muster the contrite expression I should be wearing. Instead, I am forced to duck my head as silent laughter splits my face into an unremorseful smile.
“Oh my God, are you alright?” a woman asks.
“I’m fine. My knees. I’m an eyenurse so I know how to deal with this sort of thing. I’m fine.” The fallen woman replies in a wavering tone. A tone she continues to use for the rest of our encounter.
“I’m sorry,” Shanice says. “Oh… did you hit your head?”
“Yes. But I’m fine.”
“Oh my God!” a new voice, a man. “Is she alright?”
Shanice and I continued to stand there, just beyond the curb as the people began to “scrape” the woman off of the ground (the way it was later described to me).
“I’ve got her,” the first bystander announces, her voice straining a little. “I’ll take her into this store. See if they’ll have ice.”
“I’m alright.” The grounded nurse says.
The man leaves.
Shanice, who had sounded so distraught, whispers:
“Do we have to go in there? Would it be socially unacceptable if we just left?”
“Shanice!” I exclaim. “But you sounded so sincere.”
She laughs shamelessly and we’re quiet for a moment or two. Then, through an unspoken agreement, we reluctantly head inside. The sound of shifting ice in some sort of plastic wrapping greets us as we enter.
“Remember,” the passerby says. “Change it in intervals of 20 minutes.”
“My knees . Yes. And I need some for my head. Thank you.”
“Don’t forget to change it.”
“I know. I deal with this. I’m an eyenurse. What do you do.”
“(insert medical term here)” I think I heard the opth- prefix, but I wasn’t sure then, and am even less certain now.
“Oh! So we do the same thing.”
“Yeah.” The woman replied, or something along those lines. She sounded noncommittal and like she was ready to go. Which she did, after checking on Eyenurse one more time.
“I’m so sorry,” I say at last. I’d finally had enough time to process all of what had occurred. Shanice follows suit, apologizing once more.
“I’m alright. It was my fault. I should’ve been paying attention.” Then she says that she’d been concentrating really hard on something, or really focused on where she was going, and takes the blame once more. “Tell her not to feel bad, it wasn’t her fault.”
“Don’t feel bad, okay? It wasn’t your fault.” Shanice repeats, in a saccharine voice as she pets my hand. I irritably poke her side.
“You girls can go,” Eyenurse says bravely. “I’ll be alright.”
Shanice apologizes again, the lady takes the blame once more, and we’re out of there.
Oh, the irony! Eyenurse tripping on the blind girl’s cane. And then, given her profession, she doesn’t know that she can address me directly? Shanice jokingly remarked that it was because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t hear.
She also described, on our way to the venue how the woman fell. Evidently, she’d cut in front of us and she just saw her body go down. She said she didn’t process it until her head hit the ground.
Shanice was angry that her sandwich had been interrupted. And I was still faux upset that she’d actually repeated what Eyenurse had said.
We continued laughing and talking about it up until the show (which was awesome and a whole other blog post) and even into today. Priceless.
Also, thinking about Eyenurse, she struck me as that nurse (or person in general) whose always hovering nervously, ensuring that your alright, even after countless assurances. The person to actually make you uncomfortable in her attempt to be comforting.
I rarely feel remorse for those who trip on my cane if they’re walking toward me. You should be paying attention. But they get mad at me, as though I’m the one at fault… for being blind? For having a cane? For my spidy senses not tingling and alerting me to their presence?
If I see the person beforehand, then I will move aside, but don’t rely on my vision. I do feel a little bad if I’m walking behind the person and they trip. But those are usually only stumbles. The people who go down are almost always walking toward me or turning into me, or something.