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Blind Woman on the Bus

18 Apr 2006

The other day I was riding the bus. It was one of my last days living in Saint Paul. I was on my way home from work with my headphones on, but not loud enough to drown out close proximity conversation. I was reading A Prayer For Own Meany. A blind woman got onto the bus and sat across from me. She had a cute dog.

A few minutes later she was on the phone talking about her voice-mail. From what I could gather, her voice-mail messages had been deleted. If I had lost my voice-mail messages, I would not be upset. I may have lost a person’s number or a message from a friend I had not spoke too in a while; at the worst I could lose the time and place of a sexy rendezvous (unlikely though). But this woman was very upset; she was practically crying. These messages were far more important to her than a sexy rendezvous. It was information that she could not otherwise recover. She was blind. Later in the conversation, she was telling the Qwest operator about how there was a message on there from her father who had passed away a few years back. Imagine that! Unable to see images, a voice can be the only way to fully remember something. We usually take our memory for granted, let alone our nostalgia from polaroids.

As it turns out, her messages were deleted by Qwest. They were claiming that someone had told them to do so. She had not authorized such a thing and her partner, who I believe was blind as well, would never have either. So, who was at fault here? I am not sure. I know that mistakes get made. But this mistake, that most of us would take for granted, turned out to be huge. I wish I could have helped her but the damage had already been done.

It just made me realize that I take things for granted, even my sight. It is necessary to be reminded that I am so very fortunate, because sometimes I forget.

Also, never once did I hear her reveal to the operator that she was blind.

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