Ok, I just came back from the walk from hell. I figure something good has to come out of it, so I’m going to blog about it, in the hopes that it will help people be more helpful and less likely to get yelled at.
Let me just describe what happened, and then I’ll break it down. I walked up to a major intersection, and try as I might, I could not get Trixie to cross there. Every time I said “forward”, she would gently turn right, following the sidewalk so that now I was walking down the street I was intending to cross. I would retrace, reapproach, same deal. I would stick out my feet. There was nothing of consequence. Then, a voice yelled from her car, “Are you trying to cross?”
I answered her, shouting as loudly as I could that yes I did want to go across the street, but the dog and I were having trouble. She then yelled back “It’s ok to cross now.” I’m thinking “Yeah, I’d go if I could, lady.” Once again, Trixie did the deak and weave, and I was around the corner. I retraced my steps, and I heard the woman’s voice. “Stay there, I’ll help you.” I thought great. If she comes over, she can tell me what Trixie is having such a problem with.
She came over, and said “Let’s walk.” I reached for her arm, but she was just out of reach. Just then, she reached across me, and grabbed Trixie’s leash! Wooosh! This caused me to yell at her to let go of the leash. I don’t usually yell, but it happened. At this point, she stood there, going on about how she was just trying to help, and Trixie and I, once again, did the deak and weave around the corner. She stood way back and yelled, “Did you just get her?” Then I heard her voice getting smaller, andI couldn’t even make out what she said.
When I returned, she was gone, and a much more helpful fellow came along and allowed me to take an arm. It was then that I discovered the river of a puddle and realized that was the problem. Once we had crossed the giant puddle river that had accumulated at the corner, Trix crossed the street like the trooper that she is. The rest of the trip to the store was relatively uneventful. She would do her level best to avoid puddles, but she did get us from point A to point B.
Now, let’s analyze why that poor woman got yelled at. It wasn’t just because of the leash-grab. No no, that was the final straw. First, I always wonder why people ask complicated questions from their cars. You won’t be able to hear the answer, and if it is a long answer, you won’t be able to hear all of it, because you’ll get mowed down if you don’t move your ass through the intersection! Yelling from your car is one-way communication. That works for things like “You can go,” or “The light is green for you.” But when you start getting into “Where are you trying to go,” it’s pointless to communicate that way. If you want to help, pull off the road, and come over to where we can have a civil conversation.
And people always just ask “Do you want to cross?” They never bother to ask which way you’re crossing. They just assume they know which street you want to cross. An intersection is the meeting of at least 2 streets, perhaps more. Ask which one I want to cross before telling me I can go now!
And now, never ever ever ever ever ever ever grab a guide dog’s leash! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again! Don’t grab a guide dog’s leash, or the end of a blind person’s cane. Sighted guide technique involves me taking your arm. It is not even remotely helpful for you to be dragging my dog. I need to have a hold of you, and you need to take the lead. This is why I take your arm, and you don’t take mine, by the way.
I do feel bad for yelling at her. Usually, even though I want to yell at people, I don’t. I can explain things in a calm way and they understand. So, sorry, lady, for yelling at you. I hope you will help another blind person and I haven’t scarred you for life.
I can’t really blame her for just standing there after I yelled at her, but if you’re going to help me when I say I’m having problems, don’t just stand there yelling directions. Walk with me until I get across.
On the way home, I got some help at that corner because I knew I would be crossing the busy street right into the river puddle, and I didn’t really want to be fighting with her when I was trying to get *out* of the street, so I took help. But the man helping me completely disregarded which way I was facing, and decided to help me cross the parallel street!
I felt him take a 90-degree turn to the right. I asked him why we were crossing this street. First he says “Oh yes, we’re crossing the street….oh, you wanted the other one?” Yes, it is good to ask me where I’m going before helping me there.
When we got across, he said “I’ll point you in the right direction for you to cross the other way, and then will you be ok?” I said I wasn’t sure, I was a bit disoriented now. So he decided to cross the other way with me. Thank you! Then I asked him exactly where I was, and figured it out. I pointed out a landmark, and he said “yes, that’s there.” Then he asked me if I was ok. Hmmm. I was ok at the beginning, then I was not ok, but now I’m ok again. I thanked him and headed on home.
Oh yeah, and here’s a message to the asshole who thinks he owns the road. Thanks for almost running my dog and I down at Speedvale Avenue West and Kathleen Street. If it wasn’t for Trixie’s quick reflexes, she and I may have been injured or killed. It was red for you, asshat. I wish I could have written your license plate down so I could have called you in. People like you need to pay hefty fines for your stupidity and carelessness. You drive a car, you need to be able to see to drive, use your damn eyes once in a while.
So I’m sure you now understand why I called that the walk from hell. And I hope that what I said makes sense and I don’t sound like an unreasonable person. There’s always a part of me that says I’m not helping my cause by writing this stuff down. I’m only making people more afraid to help. I hope that part of me is wrong. I don’t want people to be afraid to help. I just want them to listen to what I say when I ask for help and not assume. That’s all I really want. If we could communicate effectively and hear each other, this whole post wouldn’t have happened. I’d only have to write about the numbnut behind the wheel who almost turned us into road meat.