Go This Way
Today I was driving out of Cameron Village after leaving a pedicure date with a friend, and as I sat at the intersection of Oberlin and Cameron Street, I marveled at the shitstorm of construction that seemed never ending as I peered over my shoulder. Huge orange barrels, small signs, large signs, cement barricades and several men wearing orange vests and hard hats. The construction had taken over the sidewalk and as I turned onto Oberlin road I realized that the construction had taken over much of the street as well. In the midst of the visual chaos my eyes focused in on two people trying to navigate their way through the said shitstorm of construction and said lack of sidewalk when I had a ‘holy fuck’ moment.
They were blind.
A man and a woman, probably in their late fifties, were trying to navigate that hell zone and sadly, they were failing. Their white canes hit cement barricades and construction barrels. And when they had gotten themselves steered away from the barricades they had walked directly in between large metal legs of a tripod that held a big ass sign. Much like one might react when seeing a farm animal caught in barbed wire, I yelled inside my car…
“STOP MOVING!! YOU’RE MAKING IT WORSE!”
Thankfully they couldn’t hear me. I then spotted some construction men watching them and I thought the crisis might be averted. Sadly, not one of them walked over to help. As sure as the world my internal soul voice rose up and said, “If not you, then who?”
Tragically, I knew the answer.
Fucking no one.
So I pulled into the next parking lot and because I had just had my toes done, I hopped from my car and ran across the lot in a similar fashion to dogs trying to walk with shoes on.
<And by the way, all of the above happened in 8.2 seconds. >
I clomped my way over to the couple, introduced myself and asked if I could help them. As best I could I described the minefield before them, but my words failed me saying things like, “Over there” and “Over here.” They were kind and patient as I guided them out of the metal rods that were binding their feet. They told me where they needed to go, which wasn’t far at all. But the amount of effort in formulating a plan to get them there without them becoming road kill was overwhelming. And so I said…
“I promise I am really nice. Most of the time. I won’t try to kill you, I swear. So if you feel comfortable, I could drive you.”
Thankfully for them and me, they accepted.
The scene was quite hysterical actually. The man held on to me and the woman held onto the man. And in a train like fashion, the girl in yoga pants, clomping with high knees, led the people with white canes safely to her car. It took some time to get everyone in the car, again the language of “here” or “there” was the rate limiting step. But I got everyone and in and off we went.
Soon I realized that the man was leading me.
“On your right should be a parking lot... turn in and go two speed bumps and stop.”
I did as I was told and when I hit the second speed bump I stopped the car, gingerly escorted them from the car and walked them to the door.
I made them promise not to walk home and they promptly responded “No way, we’re taking the bus.”
As we said goodbye the woman handed me a CD. She said, “I don’t know if you like gospel music but if you do, this is my CD. This is me.”
With a gracious heart I thanked her and we parted ways.
As I drove away I realized that although I didn’t catch their names, their sweet smiles, their cloudy far off gazes, sweetly patient hearts and the musical grace she gifted me were priceless and would be with me until the end of my days.