/ A Blind Guy
It’s the best thing about it, this ability we have to bring out the good in people, how we give them the opportunity to be kind. When I came out as blind, when I started using a cane, I went from being that rude, aggressive man who walked about the world as if he was the only one in it, bashing into things, knocking over chairs, cutting people up, to being the person who people greeted in the street. They saw the cane and asked if I knew where I was going. They asked if they could help carry things up stairs or down, whether I realised there was a large hose stretching across the pavement that was best avoided. Still, for all those positive encounters, it’s the negatives that stick in your mind. Like the other day when I was walking out of New Cross station and up the road. It was late, about eleven, and I think they would have said something to me whoever I was, whoever they decided I was. They were that kind of group. If I’d been a woman walking past them they’d have said something about my body, sexually charged, either that they’d like a piece of it or that they wouldn’t. If I’d been black or brown or Asian I’m guessing there would have been some racist flicker, some nudging at least, some comment. What if I’d been a slim young guy with my hair styled and a bright shirt on, walking with my hands in my pockets and my head up? I would have been a poof. But what I was for them was a blind guy. That was my bracket, signified by the stick, nothing more. There’s a blind guy, one of them said. A blind guy. Where the fuck are you going? Where the fuck are you going?