I decided to visit an old friend Facebook reminded me I knew who lives in the small town of San Carlos California. My friend was to pick me up at the bus depot after his kick boxing class, but because I arrived an hour early, I decided to take my guide dog Madge on a quick walk around the quaint neighborhood. I was enjoying the sun on my bare arms when I heard sirens and a male voice over an intercom demand, “Please halt your service dog.” Confused, Madge and I stood still as a pair of fast moving feet approached us. Although the officer was standing next to me, he began to shout as if I was a block away, “Are you lost? Can I help you?” My hair now slicked back as a result of the man’s loud voice. “Yes, you can help me by not yelling at my face,” I smirked.
Unphased by my annoyed tone, the officer started to tell me he received a call from a concerned neighbor that worried I was lost and would get hurt. I began to think about this “so concerned” neighbor and asked in an agitated tone, “Am I trespassing?” The officer explained that the neighbor just wanted to help, but that she was afraid of scaring me and so called for help.
People tend to want to treat the blind like porcelain dolls, something that really makes my blood boil when it occurs to me. Biting my lower lip I imagined an older woman who looked like Ethel from the “I Love Lucy Show” clutching a cordless phone in one hand and a newspaper in the other. I rolled my eyes as I envisioned her telling everyone in her world how she saved a blind guy from great danger.
I told the officer I was fine and continued to walk up and down the block with Madge a few times. I did not know if the concerned woman was still watching or if I had gained additional audience members. What I did know was that I did not need rescuing.
***Belo Cipriani is a freelance writer, speaker, and the author of Blind: A Memoir. Learn more at belocipriani.com
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