“What’s so funny,” I ask Adam, the I. T. guru, as he strides into my work cubicle. Our guide dogs exchange greetings: Hello. Ola. “Just this,” says Adam. “I’m standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change, when this guy tells me he’s been watching me walk up the block and, funny, I don’t look blind.”
“And neither does your dog, right?” says I.
“Now, that’s funny,” says Adam.
“Did you take it as a compliment?” I ask. “Or an accusation that you’re faking it? You know, to get sympathy and reduced bus fare.”
Adam chuckles. “All I can figure is that I don’t fit his stereotype of what a blind person looks like. He said that I walked confidently—head up, eyes forward. Hell, I know how to get around. I’ve been blind since I was seven.”
He must figure blind people flail around like Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker,” I say.
“Or drive a Maserati like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.”
“Right,” I say. “The extremes—helpless or superhero.”
“I’m not often speechless—just ask my wife,” says Adam. “But what am I supposed to say to this guy? “Thank you?”
“It’s mighty hard, but God knows I try?”
“Give me a minute and I’ll walk into a door?”
“What does a blind person look like?”
“That’s a stupid thing to say?”
“All valid responses,” I say.
“Anyway,” says Adam, “I thought I’d tell you so maybe you’d write some kind of story about it. Or figure some kind of social work angle to explain it. Me, I’m going back to my I T stuff. I can understand that. It’s people that confuse me.”
He stands and I stand and we perform the awkward choreography of blind men shaking hands.
“Now, that’s funny,” Adam says as we chuckle, clasp hands and part.