This happened on Tuesday, but I didn’t finish the post till now…:
My morning started as most of my mornings start, with me getting ready and then heading to work. And, as is also typical of these mornings…or any minute I’m outside, really, I encountered a number of overly helpful people.
First, we start with the guy from the train. As I walked to one of the many staircases in Grand Central, he called out to me, asking if I was alright.
“Yeah,” I answered. “I’m fine, just looking for the stairs.”
“Oh, well you’ve found it.” He said, Middle Eastern accent thick. “You’re doing great.”
“Thanks.” I always feel awkward responding to comments like that. Just like when people offer blessings. Thank you feels inadequate, or inappropriate. But I guess it’s an all purpose word.
“Yeah,” the guy continued. “You are doing wonderfully. You found the stairs.”
He said this from the bottom, as I was halfway up. I muttered another thanks and kept going.
At the top of the steps:
“You need help Miss?” Another guy asks. “You know where you’re going?”
I always wonder why people ask this while I’m in motion. They always make it sound as though I was just standing there, or walking around confusedly. People actually seem to just completely disregard me when either of those things are happening. Maybe there’s something about unsolicited assistance that warms a person’s heart.
But anyway, I told the man I was fine. He said okay but rushed ahead of me when he saw that I was exiting to open the door. (Not complaint about that part, I’m not that much of a knit picker)
The rest of my walk goes fairly well: one person trips over my cane, I stumble over a suitcase, someone offers to help me cross the street. All very usual. Until I get to 44 street. There I stop to adjust my shoe and a lady to my left offers assistance.
“If you can just tell me when I can cross,” I tell her. “That would be great.”
“Which way you headed after this?”
“I’m only going to 45.”
“Oh, that’s just one more block. And then are you going left or right?”
“I’m fine, thanks.”
“I’ll just help you out if your not going that far.” She says. “We can cross now, do you want to take my arm.”
I was so delighted that she didn’t’t just grab my hand and start crossing, or hold my arm. That’s the only excuse I have for what happened next.
“So where are you headed next?” She asks.
“I’m going left.” I was heading to a Starbucks that I only knew about in theory, so I figured if she really wanted to be helpful, well, I’d let her have it.
AS we walked, she told me about the amazing energy I had. She felt it standing beside me and just knew that she had to help this lady. What’s my sign? A Libra? Oh, we’re lovely people. She’s a Gemini. Our signs are compatible, she hoped that I had some Geminis in my life.
After we entered Starbucks, she wondered if I wanted her to wait with me. She could help me to work. She was on break from her own job and helping me was more important anyway.
What I appreciated about her was that, after discovering that I was interning, she asked what I was studying in school. She didn’t pity me, or even, as we walked, talk about my vision as a sad condition. I wasn’t patted on the back for navigating the big city all by my lonesome, or prayed for so that I would continue to stay strong. And, perhaps, most importantly, as we spoke, she didn’t take on that patronizing tone that some people use with me.
Her overhelpfullness in walking me all the way to my destination was a little odd, yes. But part of what goes into my complaints is how the person reacts to me. Besides, guiding me, she acted like I was just a normal stranger she’d met on the street (who happened to have this amazing energy). It also helped that her assisting me to the Starbucks didn’t actually put her completely out of her way.
It was a little odd when she offered to wait with me until I got my drink and then walk with me to work. But when I told her I was fine, she didn’t push, wished me a nice day, and left.
But of course the good energy could not last forever.
During my lunch break, I decided that I really wanted some pizza. My fellow intern saved me from using Siri to navigate by giving me instructions to a pizza place he’d passed on his way to work. The pizza place was actually a few stores down from the Starbucks I’d visited earlier.
After exiting the building and crossing the street, I found my face walking into some construction…. ow.
I appreciated that there were no pointy bits, just a series of horizontal bars. But I did hit my eye. Again, ow. But after rubbing my eye a bit, I kept it going.
After having walked past the Starbucks, slightly in pain, I found some strangers to ask for the exact location of the pizzeria.
“Um, is this the front of the line?” I ask the person nearest to me after entering the store. “Or, rather, the back. Where does the line end?”
Here is fine.” The stranger tells me.
I text and think about my eye for the next few moments until the guy tells me I can order. I move to the counter. No one says anything. The silence stretches, and then a few feet away, I hear the man at the counter asking someone else for their order.
I’m annoyed. So you won’t let me know your there but you’ll move onto and talk to the next guy?
“Are you going to order?” I’m asked finally.
“Yeah,” I say. “Can I have a veggie slice?”
“We have steamed vegetables, is that all you want?”
“Well, a veggie slice with pepperoni.”
“We chicken.” He says. “And rice.”
“Um,” I feel less frustrated now and more confused. “I mean a veggie pizza slice.”
Oh!” He says. “The pizza counter is over there.”
“On the other side of the store.”
“Is that to my left or right?”
“Nevermind. Don’t worry about it.” And he moves around the counter and calls out to another guy that I want a veggie pizza slice.
Evidently, the counter was directly behind me. I continue to wait there though, because the first guy tells me that pizza guy will bring it to me. But as I wait, multiple people ask if I need help. Even another employee.
“You need help, Miss?” The employee asks.
“You know where you are? (insert restaurant name)”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
But as I say that, the first guy tells her that I’ve already ordered.
Why do people think I don’t know where I am? Give me some credit. Blind ≠ clueless.
Eventually, I’m given my pizza and brought to the right counter.
The slice was tasty, but I’m not yet sure if I’ll return. Maybe I should go back on a day of normal energy levels, and when my eyeball (the one that I can see out of, by the way) isn’t gently throbbing.