Before I share with you all what happened to me yesterday, let me explain a bit about my daughter’s route to school. There are two main crossings, each with crossing guards stationed at them. Both crossings angle oddly away from the sidewalks, but nine times out of ten that is not an issue for me.
Except when it is, apparently.
So, two days ago, which would be November 26, 2018, I was on my way to pick Rose up from school, and I was approaching the second road crossing at a fair clip. It had rained all day, so it was darker out than I find comfortable, but not too dark to make navigating with what little usable vision I have too much of a chore. My mind being seven hundred miles away thinking about a podcast was the issue, because let’s face it, I was not paying attention. Yes, it totally does happen to us blindies too!
I angled left toward the crosswalk I needed, but not soon enough. My right foot struck the edge of the curb, landing halfway on it and halfway off it. My ankle twisted, and I went down. Now, when I fell, it was not a full-on sprawl. I landed in a crouch on the edge of the sidewalk and was able to push myself back up to my feet within a few seconds. (One foot was in the grass, the other remained on pavement; I did not almost fall into the road.)
There was a mother behind me who reached down and grabbed me, trying, I think, to halt my fall a few seconds late. That was sweet, though I did have to face the typical “oh my gosh, you fell” horror that often accompanies the aftermath of a blind individual taking a tumble. Honestly, you would think I had just fallen from the top story of the school, they were so concerned. I reassured them that this sort of blind navigation moment just happens sometimes and crossed.
On the way back, the crossing guard kept calling out to Rose, “Okay now, keep mommy centered! Keep mommy centered!” This did irritate me, because it is not my five-year old’s job to keep me centered when I walk. I am a cane user at present. I must use the edge of the sidewalk as a shoreline, and that is why I don’t generally parade down the center of said sidewalk. I let it go, though, and Rose just ignored her entirely.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was on my way to pick up Rose again and I ran into the same crossing guard. She was waiting at the corner to escort me across. When I thanked her and laughingly reassured her that I was all right and had been doing this route without incident since September, she just said it made her feel better to be able to assist me.
All right, I can roll with that for now, I told myself. She is just a temporary stand in for our original guard.
I do not like it when my assurances are brushed aside as though they are meaningless, but at that moment, I just really needed to go get Rosie. This behavior was not the thing I could not abide. It was the fact that when she let me go after steering me across that road, she bid me farewell with a fond pat to the bottom, sending me off as I might send my five-year-old off after doing the same thing.
Dude! That is not okay! I am blind. I am not five, and I most certainly do not take kindly to strangers touching my butt in public! Or, you know, ever, for that matter. I just gaped after her as she walked away, but before I could regain my voice enough to speak, she was already calling to someone new.
My beautiful Treasures, this is not cool. If you ever assist a blind individual across the road… no, actually, if you ever assist anyone across the road, do not pat their bottom and send them on their way in such an insulting manner. I don’t believe she meant to be insulting, but I truly cannot fathom how she thought touching me like that would be remotely appropriate.
So, there you have it, my blind girl story of the week! Please, I beg of you, learn from it.
Until next time, my Treasures, I bid you a fond adieu.