Last weekend I was walking along the road with my good pal Gribbo minding our own business when someone shouted, 'fair play lads'. I am unsure what this congratulation was for. We were both walking with our white canes flying all over the place, slowly meandering back towards the safety of my home. Was it for the fact that we were two blind dudes actually managing the important task of walking? Perhaps he thought we were gay and decided that deserved congratulating. Had he never seen two blokes walking together anywhere before? Was his life that sheltered that it was implausible for two men to actually walk along a street next to each other? It's not as though we were holding hands or anything, and although that may have been nice, it really isn't my style.
So why then were we being congratulated for one of life's simpler happenings, walking? I do it all the time, I am sure the person praising our mobility efforts does as well. It's not exactly an achievement. If I congratulated everyone for walking, I would get some rather odd looks I am sure. Jogging on the other hand, now that's a different story. As much as I used to enjoy running, let's be fair, if you saw me hurtling towards you with a 5 foot long cane swinging from side to side, I am sure you would feel somewhat concerned. Probably not for me.
This brings me to the next random stranger saying the oddest of comments that just make me laugh. As we were walking towards the bus station to find our transport to Dorset for the day, there were a few people hanging around the street corner. Not untypical for a Sunday morning. Probably hungover and desperate to find a few quid for a Sausage and Egg McMuffin (other McMuffin's are available). So, in this chap's quest to find a few quid, he asks Gribbo and I as we are walking past, 'got any spare change mate'? As I turned around to give me usual response of 'sorry mate, there is no such thing as spare change', he immediately apologises and said, 'sorry mate, didn't realise you were blind'. I didn't even get chance to deliver my comeback.
So, one night we are being congratulated for our efforts in mobility or potentially being in a homosexual relationship, and then the morning after, the mere fact that we have sight loss stops us from having the ability to have change that we may possibly donate to a poor McMuffin chasing, hungover chap.
I am not against the idea of helping out those less fortunate than myself, I do it all the time. But sometimes, people just say the weirdest things to those of us that are 'disabled'.
It got me thinking though, why on earth would anyone think that me carrying a white stick would make me any less able to help a fellow human out in his McMuffin quest? I questioned whether both of the individuals mentioned in this blog were being quite genuine with respect to the disabled or whether it was more of an uneducated fool matter. Either way, both occasions made me laugh and at the end of the day, that is what life is all about.
That's it for now,
Until next time