I enjoy documenting strange or funny encounters in my everyday life. I’ve written many blogs about ridiculous customers when I worked retail, odd classmates when I was in graduate school and people’s reactions to my disability (on the train and on the street). I have a visual impairment and use a cane; this doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would cause issues, but I get some of the strangest reactions from people. I’ve become accustomed to fellow pedestrians yanking their children out of the way, folks leaping over my cane or going out of their way to avoid being touched by it (presumably, they would explode on contact). Those reactions are, for lack of a better term, normal. There are occurrences that seem so strange that I’m left confused and questioning if the encounter really just happened.
Recently, I went to the movies and decided to use the accessible restroom. A man was just coming out as I entered; he saw me go in, but for some reason reached in before I closed the door to flip off the lights. I guess he figured I didn’t need it. I stood there for a second in the darkness with a call of: “Really!?” I was baffled, but the man walked away as if nothing was amiss. I guess I was both blind and invisible for a moment.
There are some people who probably mean well, but I’d prefer if they just didn’t bother; invisibility would be a blessing in some of these cases. I was once on my way to work, when a Marta (Atlanta’s mass transit) policeman tried to “rescue” me from the stairs that I was clearly slowing to walk down them. In order to “help” me, he grabbed my hoodie and jerked back, unannounced, which caused me to spin around to get free. I almost fell backwards down the same stairs he was trying to keep me from going down. He was confused when I scowled at him. Pushing me down the stairs would have been more direct and helpful than making me think I was getting mugged at 7:30 in the morning.
Finally, there are the religious pedestrians/mass transit users/patrons. Many times I’ve been asked if people could pray my “affliction” away. I smile politely and say “no.” It’s easier and less socially awkward in the long run.
Do you have any “did that just happen?” moments? Feel free to share in the comments below. I love stories and experiences like these, annoying as they are in the present, I can generally laugh about them afterwards.