Today Dee and I were sitting outside a fast food restaurant eating our lunch in the crisp fall sunshine and grasping the last of autumn as it slipped through our fingers. A man walked by with his dog on a leash and I smiled. Stopping a moment, no doubt recognizing a fellow animal lover, he mentioned that his dog was blind. Blind? I asked, so you’re a Seeing Eye Person? Get it? I don’t think he got it. But that’s not where I was going with this.
As we nibbled our fries another man approached us. Quietly he placed a couple of hand-painted angel pins on the table with a card that said, I am deaf. I am trying to make a living. I would appreciate it if you would buy my pins for 2 or 3 dollars each. Have a nice day and God bless.
I rummaged through my bag for my wallet and pulled out six bucks. The man grinned and spread out his wares. I pointed to the ones I wanted and he nodded and handed them to me. “Gracias,” I replied. Wait. Gracias? The guy was deaf, not Spanish. Still, he seemed to understand. He put his hand to his chin and extended it in a sign language thanks.
I think all of us are in some way handicapped—deaf, blind, dim-witted, language impaired—we each have our challenges. I don’t care who you are, you are flawed. You could be the President of the United States and you’d still have imperfections. You just might not recognize any of them.
Some handicaps are easy to spot—a person in a wheelchair for example, although some would say that people will look right past a person in a wheelchair as if they weren’t there at all. Maybe they just don't want to stare? Or some people will talk to friends or family members as if the disabled person themselves were incapable of understanding. Often, when I would push my mother around in her wheelchair, store clerks would talk to me instead of to her. It would driver her crazy. I got a little taste of that when I had my knees fixed. "Would she like that to stay or to go?" "Does she want to wait here while you get the car?" I would think, I’m right here! Why don’t you ask me?
Certain disabilities are more difficult to identify and many of them are relative. For example, some might deem a Mount Everest climber to be crazy or consider a cat person “handicapped." Most people think politicians are totally incompetent, but I guess that’s more obvious. The point is we all have our limitations and maybe some of them aren't really infirmities. Who's to judge? The world is made up of a lot of different animals. And some of them are blind.