ARTICLE #40 [First published in July 1997 Chicago Point]
The air in the park is still damp with dew on this refreshing new morning. The warm sun and cool western breezes provide pleasing contrasts upon my face. I feel totally awakened after a night of restful sleep.
I ws blinded in a mishap countless dark nights ago. But without sight, my other senses have b ecome intensified, especially on a beautiful day like today.
I am seated on a park bench and someone has sat down next to me. He just said “Hi!” in a friendly way. I respond in a like fashion. I feel happy. Another fellow human being is also here to enjoy the morning splenders.
He’s obviously noticed my cane and sunglasses and is aware of my situation because my new friend is now descibing the sights around us. What a kind gesture! The colorful cavalcade of people, places and things in motion is now vivid in my imagination.
Unfortunately my new friend is about to leave. As I extend my hand in fond farewell, I selfishly regret his departure for I am about to lose the great dimension of verbal sight.
Five mintues have passed. Another man has come by to talk with me. It’s not a sociable conversation, however. I can tell by the tone of his voice. The man is offering me a warning. He says that this is a bad neighborhood and a blind person like myself must be very careful. There are muggers all around just witing to find a soft mark like myself.
The man has just left. I am now in distress. What should I do? Five minutes ago, I had a different point of view. Now dangers lurk all around me. Before when I heard footsteps, I would offer the individual a greeting. Now the footsteps are a potential threat to my safety.
Somebody’s coming. If it is a nice person, I will come to no harm. But it might be a mugger. I have to prepare for the worst. I must distance myself from whomever is approaching. “Prudence on the side of caution” seems to be the appropriate course of action.
“Nice day, isn’t it?” the voice asks.
I don’t reply. Now the man is walking away. I’m safe.
A woman who witnessed my last encounter has just sat down next to me. She’s asked an enlightening question that I’m not sure how to answer: “Do all blind people acknowledge each other with such a shielded posture? A minute ago, why were you so evasive and unntrusting towards one of your own?”
One man’s cup of tea is another man’s poison. How many cups have you served today?
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