As I walk, or shuffle, to work through Times Square in the heart of New York City, I can’t believe how many different sounds I hear. I shuffle instead of walk now and I hear so many more sounds than I did before. I know there are many people around me, because I can hear them all talking on cell phones and I can feel them brush past me. Some run in to me, but who cares? I’m just some random blind person walking to wherever I need to. I can’t give dirty looks to them or make rude remarks because I’m not sure who did it. This happens to me every day. I wake up to whatever song is on the radio at that time, and slowly walk to the bathroom. I grab my smooth stick so that I don’t run in to anything, and brush my teeth. My roommate already has breakfast going when I come out, which helps me out a ton. The sweet smell of butter pancakes and maple syrup fills my nose and makes me smile. I love the smell of breakfast. I can also smell freshly squeezed orange juice, which is my favorite. We eat breakfast, and then head to work. We both work relatively close to each other from what she tells me, so we take the same subway and walk together. She makes sure I make it fine, and then she heads to her work. We have to go down stairs to get to the subway, and I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. When I first started, I struggled. I had to pick up my feet and use the handrail, and when I got to the bottom I had to drag my feet again so I wouldn’t trip. It smells musty in the subway station, and when I walk I can feel people watching me. I’m not positive they are, but who wouldn’t? I do everything so different from them, and I don’t think they understand. Me without my sight is like a dog without a tail. You can live without it, but don’t enjoy it. I’ve become more used to it and my other senses have gotten stronger. While I stand in the subway, I feel like a dog in a box of cats. I can’t see anyone, but they can all see me. I just stand there and sway slowly back and forth with the motion of the train. I know its dark, but that’s all. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold. The more people there are, the warmer it is and the more I feel like I’m trapped in a huge labyrinth and can’t get out. My hand is always on Rhiannon’s arm, which gives me a small feeling of security. She is the only one I feel safe with when I’m away from my family, because she is the only other one I remember. When we finally get off the subway, we have to go upstairs, which I struggle with. I trip a few times, and people gasp and ask if I’m ok, which makes me feel a little bit better because no matter what, someone will be there to help me. Today is a cool spring morning. I can feel the sun shining on my face, warming it and the rest of the world. It’s like standing in front of an open oven after you take pizza out. We walk through Times Square, buzzing with people. There’s people talking on their phones, walking quickly, and running in to me accidentally. Then, there’s the sweet chirp of birds singing to each other, cars honking, tires and pavement squealing, and the clip-clop of people who don’t know how to walk in heels. Rhiannon and I usually talk, but today we have nothing to say, so we are just walking in silence side by side. I finally arrive at work, and Rhiannon leaves. I am greeted every day the same way by the secretary, Mary. It’s just like clockwork; she never misses a beat. I work in an office with a bunch of psychiatrists, and we each have about 10 patients a day. I can really connect with people, and I feel that being blind has given me an advantage because I can’t make decisions based on appearance. This helps me, and them, because they don’t have to worry about making a first impression. I usually just stay at the office for lunch because there is usually food in our lounge. After lunch, my day goes by pretty fast. Rhiannon picks me up after work, and we go home. People watch me like they did that morning, and nothing really changes. Sometimes at night she comments on how beautiful the moon and the stars are. I wish I could see again. But, in a way, it has helped me with my job and all my other senses are so much stronger. Except for when I’m sick and my nose is stuffy, then I just feel invisible and dead. It has taken some getting used to, but I definitely am not sad that it happened.
Broadening my Horizon
March 6, 2012