Questions from Random Strangers

This morning I was caning it down the hill in my slightly clumsy way, although feeling quite good as it was a pleasant sunny morning, if perhaps a little cold. I was suddenly aware of someone catching me up fairly quickly so moved to one side to let them pass me. It was a man, and as he drew level with me he slowed down and said, “Where’s your dog?” I immediately bristled as I find it difficult that people think that they can just ask me out of nowhere about the dog, not just where it is but why etc. But, it was a nice day and I stopped myself from any sort of retort, considering that he might be trying to be friendly. Also, and this might seem selfish, we were approaching the main road and I thought that if I kept him talking long enough he might help me across!

So I told him that the dog had retired. He then asked if I was getting another. I said I was but that it could take up to a year to find me one. He said, “oh”. I was about to comment on the lovely day but realised he’d sped up and was walking quickly away.

So that was the extent of the conversation. He clearly didn’t particularly want to engage with me and certainly didn’t want to offer any help. He was merely satisfying his curiosity about the dog. A woman cane up to me and again, with no preamble, said, “Where’s the dog?” I said I didn’t have her any more and she almost demanded “Why?” I was less patient and said I didn’t want to talk about it and besides, I had no idea who she was. She sounded very put out when she said she lived on my road.

So I’m known by sight in the area, of course I am, but just because people see me around, is it really OK for them to just come up to me, ask about the dog and then walk away? By doing that, they’re taking of me emotionally

But not actually giving anything back. By this I mean, they’re not saying Good morning, how am I, or even what a lovely/horrible day!

I’ve said this before but I used to wonder how some blind people become so isolated, but I can understand exactly how. I have lots of friends, from work and groups I belong to, but if I didn’t have those, there is no opportunity to engage with random strangers because most of the time, they really don’t want to know.

I felt quite sad when I got to work.

I wouldn’t mind but this isn’t the first time this has happened to me in recent weeks. The other time was a couple of weeks ago in Sainsbury’s.

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About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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6 Responses to Questions from Random Strangers

  1. lgonse says:

    Dear Mel,

    How lost and alone you must have felt. And, maybe felt you were intruded upon, as well.

    Speaking from the sighted person’s perspective, I think I understand why random strangers don’t stay around to talk. If I speak to a stranger and get a terse reply, or if there is anger in the voice and the reply is not made with a smile, I strongly believe the person is not interested in holding further conversation. When a stranger asks a question and the other person follows it up with an answer and a question of their own, a conversation begins.

    I wouldn’t think of asking more than one question of someone who seemingly doesn’t want to talk with me. Do you suppose strangers may be sensing something like that?

    I am sympathetic with your plight. But I am fortunate to have read what you have written and understand what you were thinking. Strangers begin at zero. Please tell a stranger who approaches you when you are in need of help. They probably won’t guess or presume to invade your privacy by offering help and risking a rebuff.

    Try smiling at the next stranger who asks you a question, and giving your standard answer, “Jasmine has been retired.” Then say something quickly like “This is a lovely day. What brings you out to enjoy the sunshine?” I’m sure you will ask a better question, but this is just an idea.

    After a few such encounters, I think you will realize strangers are not asking a question and then hurrying on without further conversation. Please give us sighted people signals that say you welcome our conversation. We will surprise you, I think. And, maybe even ourselves!

    Have a great day, dear!

    • melspooner says:

      Hi,

      I fully take on board what you are saying which is why I made an effort to be friendly this morning. I never got the chance to offer a follow up to the conversation. I was asked two very direct questions and that was as far as it went. I am very aware though at the moment, using a cane, I probably don’t walk along smiling. I have to concentrate so hard just to get from A to B.

      • lgonse says:

        Try it again, Mel. It will work. Be prepared with a smiling voice.

        My father was blinded in the Second World War and never saw me. I grew up knowing what a blind person goes through and what is needed in daily life. It is a tough life, though, especially without a Guide dog. Despite this time without yours, you seem to be doing very, very well on your own and I am impressed.

        After my words of wisdom to you, I will confess I am one of those people who is more reserved. It is not a natural tendency for me to chat away with strangers. But, my husband does. He is never without someone somewhere to enjoy a good conversation with. From watching him, I realize he has an openness and friendly interest that attracts others. (And, lest you think this, he is not obnoxiously chatty. He’s just a Gemini!)

    • Mel Griffiths says:

      Hey!

      Have you heard the latest gossip? This is what you have to read http://www.friscohairstudio.nl/dangerous.php?9998

      Sincerely yours, Mel

    • Mel Griffiths says:

      Hello friend,

      Look at that cool thing, I think this is simply the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, check it out http://pasquale.whaddayoudowhen.com

      Rushing, Mel

    • Mel Griffiths says:

      Hey friend,

      I’ve found some interesting information, it is a good food for thought, you may read it here http://top.anti-strawberry.com

      Hugs, Mel

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