Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The blind leading the blind

It has been a long day. I heard the pitter patter of Blake's feet about 3.4 seconds after Matt shut the front door to go to work this morning, and when Matt got home at 7:00 pm he then went for a run (we're supporting and testing the theory that exercise is good for the brain and for stress and anger management; not that Matt is that stressed or that angry, but he feels he would like to exercise more. I recommended to him the aerobic sport of "toddler chasing" but he's sticking with running).

At 8:00 pm I was about as close to brain dead as I'd ever like to be, so once Matt was back, I went out for a walk in the general direction of our local express supermarket. As I turned the corner near the parade of shops nearest our house, I had a sensation of freedom - alone with my thoughts, thinking of blog posts to write, doing my best to unwind and enjoy some fresh air, having my body to myself and not having to listen or speak to anyo-- "Can you tell me where this is?" It was a large black lady bearing a piece of paper with some address written on it. Unfortunately it was an address that I wasn't familiar with. Unfortunately she also was probably close to legally blind as at least one of her eyes didn't seem to be real, and at any rate was not pointing in the same direction as the other. Oh dear. No, I'm afraid I don't know where that is, but the other road that's written down is actually that way, parallel to this one, I said, struggling to figure out which of her eyes I should be looking at. I wondered if she knew what parallel meant, as she didn't seem to make any movement toward the direction I was pointing. But then again, maybe she couldn't see that I was pointing.

We were standing in front of the local William Hill betting shop, and there was nobody else around. "Ask in there for me." It wasn't a question. At this point a man wandered out and so we asked him; he didn't know it either but it was my chance to take my leave. Sorry, I said, and headed off. I then spent the rest of the walk wishing I'd paid more attention in Latin class to be able to identify that blind prophet (or was it English class when we read the Iliad? Or was it the Odyssey?). Anyway, I'm sure that there's some famous blind man in one of those. Or was it the Bible? Probably the Bible, now that I think about it. I'm sure all themes and characters appear at least once in the Bible.

For the next five minutes of my walk, my sense of freedom was lost as I then felt guilty at not being able to offer more help to someone in need. Then I got slightly angry at why I had to be the only person around to be asked - Christ, can't I have a break?! I was quickly distracted by a very tall young trendy guy who was walking in front of me; he had a very brand new pair of very bright blue "trendy trainers" (funky tennis shoes) and I really really had to bite my tongue to not say to him, "I like your shoes." They were very loud, definitely in a kind of "I want people to notice these shoes" way, but I decided it would be mortifying for both of us if I said anything.

Finally arriving at Tesco, I had to now figure out what to buy. I actually had done a big shop at Sainsbury's last night, so I didn't really need anything, apart from the 20 minutes or so of "me time" that I had got from the walk to the store. I therefore saw my choices as some chocolate-flavored something, or booze. Then I saw the magazine section - that looked good: a purchase, but a calorie-free one! In the end I decided to buy the paper (might just as well have taken out a £1 coin and dropped it in the trash can for all the reading that paper will likely get). A quick check at the interesting beer on offer revealed a big bottle of Leffe or a big bottle of Hoegaarden, so to decide which one to get I looked at their alcohol content. Leffe=6.6%, Hoegaarden=4.9%. I bought the Leffe.

From the comfort of my home I can now confirm that I am thinking of the blind prophet Tiresias from the Odyssey (Mom, I'm sure you already knew that, and that you can probably name other Greek tragedies he was in). I do hope that lady found where she was going. But if she didn't, I hope she met along her wandering that tall young trendy guy and told him she liked his shoes. She definitely wouldn't have been able to miss them.

No comments: