Sunday, January 02, 2011

BUS STORY # 217 (Proactive)

Cockeyed, originally uploaded by busboy4.

“Pardon me, but do you know how far is the school for the blind?”

She looks to be in her early 40s. Trim, nice blouse. Big, stylish sunglasses and hair rolling over her shoulders. Nice arms, too -- smooth skin, good muscle tone. She reminds me of a girlfriend from about a hundred lifetimes ago except for the bottom of the tear drop tattoo seeping out from under her right lens, and the small, circular tattoo on her neck. Pity, I think to my old man self.

I tell her the Institute for the Blind is the first stop past Gibson.

She thanks me, then explains she’s starting classes there today. I ask her what kind of classes.

She tells me she’s been blind in her right eye since birth. It hasn’t really posed any problems for her until about two years ago, when the vision in her left eye started going bad. She says she’s had to change prescriptions four times in the last two years.

She’s asked her doctor why this is. He says after years of doing double-duty for the right eye, it’s wearing out. She understands the relationship between aging and wearing out. She’s 54 (!). But she doesn’t understand why, in this age of technological wonders, there isn’t something that can be done to stop the deterioration.

I ask her if she’s considered getting a second opinion. She has -- and a third, too, if she isn’t satisfied with the second.

So what does the Institute for the Blind have to offer a still sighted person, I ask.

Everything a blind person would need, she replies.

She doesn’t use the word, but she is being what, these days, we call “proactive,” and what my grandmother used to call “planning ahead.” She’s decided to start preparing herself now for the possibility she will eventually go completely blind.

I am impressed. It’s smart, but even more, it’s gutsy.

I tell her I hope this works for her like the umbrella theory. I explain: “If you go to the trouble of taking your umbrella with you when you go out, you won’t need it. It only rains when you decide not to take it.”

She laughs and tells me she hopes I’m right.

When we’re crossing Gibson, I tell her the next stop is hers, and I’m pulling the cord.

“Oh, I see it now -- across the street,” she says.

When the bus stops, she thanks me and I wish her good luck. Then I kick myself for pulling the cord for her, as if she were helpless. The last thing she is, and is likely ever to be, is helpless.


Anonymous Brenda said...

She seems to be a glass half full kind of woman. A good lesson.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely warm story, well told. BBBH

9:37 AM  
Blogger Top-of-the-Arch said...

When my younger sister who was born with Muscular Dystrophy was little, I tried to do everything for her. I was an over-protected big sister. One day when she was all grown up, CH gently commented to me that she would ask for help when she needed it and that I should stop doing everything for her. CH is the most intelligent, with inner strength and capable person. Helpless, she definitely never was.
Your grandmother was so wise with her thinking, especially during this difficult time – we all need to plan ahead. If I may add what my Dad used to say, “Plan ahead but don’t be discouraged. Prepare for what will happen but don’t let what might be consume what your plans will be.”
Happy New Year and thanks, Busboy, for a very nice 1st post of the year.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

@ Brenda: I think she not only sees the glass as half full, but she also does what she can to make sure it stays that way.

@ Anonymous: Thank you for your kind words.

@ To-of-the-Arch: Your younger sister is blessed not only with wisdom and inner strength, but with a loving and caring big sister. Your dad's saying reminds me of the part of the Serenity Prayer that goes: God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

3:25 PM  

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