10:40AM, 20 minutes until class. Having about a 5-block walk to campus, the trip is straight. As I leave my house, put my headphones on, I notice a large black man, blind, walking behind me. Two short blocks into my walk I look back, becoming impressed, noticing that even with his apparent blindness, he was still able to keep the same pace as I, not to say I maintain a fast speed.
Feeling slightly emasculated by the blind mans ability to keep up, I begin to walk faster, looking back every now and then to make sure his helping cane, the longest one I have ever seen, sweeping side to side, covering more area then just the cement sidewalk, reaching the grass on each side. Students began piling up behind him, unable to make the leap over his eye. He was now at a comfortable distance.
Ostrom Avenue, two blocks away from campus, I was standing on the curb, one step from the two way street in front of me, waiting for the cars to stop appearing, or for the white walk sign to show. With “two headed boy” playing in my ear, I feel a tap at my ankle. I turn around to see the blind man using me as his sign to stop.
A habit of mine, as with many others is, when someone accidentally touches a body part of mine, my reaction is to move that part of my body in the opposite direction of whoever touched it. Now, this black mans staff touched me. Without thinking, I took one step onto the street, pretending I was back in Brooklyn where more people wait to cross standing on the street itself rather then the sidewalk.
While my mind was in Brooklyn, I was not thinking of how this stranger was using me as a reference point. I can only imagine, but I assume he thought I was crossing the street, thus it was safe for him to cross the street.
My eyes and mouth reached the same diameter as I noticed cars coming from each direction while this poor black blind man walked towards his future of disfigurement. A flash of Chancy Nancy played in my mind, “oh, um, you can’t go here anymore, you killed a blind man.”
I jumped out to the side of the man with my hands raised, as if to say “STOP” in each direction. Thankfully the cars did as I asked, and I am still a student at Syracuse.
I spent the rest of the walk behind the poor schmuck, clueless of what had just happened.