The blind lead the blind for a reason, I guess. They go where they need to go even if they can’t see where that is.
In the time it took for the light to change from red to green, the slim woman with the white cane strode across the street in front of me, crossed the side street, and parked herself at the bus stop. Then she checked her phone.
She walked with purpose, not like a marathon walker, she wasn’t chewing up the pavement, but she had no hesitation in any step I could see. She walked as if on a treadmill, certain that every step would have a predictable outcome.
Sitting in the car at the light, I hear nothing. I broke my cochlear implant processor over the weekend and it has been two days without much sound. People tap me when they want to talk to me and then talk slow like I am soon to be demented which I know I will be if this silence continues for long. I lip read. It is a skill. But it only works with some people. The people with good lips. Sometimes, they’re not the people I want to hear.
At the cochlear implant clinic, I sit quietly and a little smaller than I normally am while I wait for the diagnosis of my mechanical ear’s illness. I tell the audiologist that it’s a huge jolt to suddenly go silent and she nods. She asks me questions in big exaggerated words and I still have to ask her to ‘say again, please.’ I don’t tell her that my anxiety is in the stratosphere. That when I realized my implant wasn’t working a few days before, I started to cry.
I wonder about the woman with the white cane. She was walking from the local organization for the blind. I’ve been there so I know it’s in the direction from whence she came. Maybe she works there, I thought. Maybe she works there as a role model. I wish I was a role model, I think, then I wouldn’t be crying in the car because I have to wait one more day for a replacement processor. I can see where I’m driving after all. That’s something.
A man I know mostly from Facebook has posted about having an eye disease that is gradually taking his sight. His tone was such that one would glean he is preparing to go blind. The past few days he has been posting pictures from Paris. And I wondered, did he decide to go to Paris to see it before he became blind? Did he make a list? These are the things I want to see before I can’t see? Maybe he did.
It made me think. What is the last thing I would want to hear? But I don’t think about it for long. It seems narrow and dark and crushingly silent thinking about such a thing.
I decide I want to be like the blind woman crossing the street, confident, all in one piece, unafraid.
Maybe I want the blind to lead the deaf.
Photo: Tim Gouw
The Daily Post: Blindly