Pass with Care

The forecast called for thunderstorms so I left early to beat the downpour. Into the muggy thick air I went, umbrella open. It felt like dragging a spoon through oatmeal except the heavy air smelled sharp like it always does before a storm. The sidewalks were deserted.

My umbrella stayed open as passing showers visited while I waited for the bus. The sun appeared, turning my umbrella into a parasol against the heat. Thunder rolled as I caught the bus. A short time later, I departed at my destination, umbrella at the ready. The sharp air greeted me with the sounds of rushing traffic and tires splashing through puddles.

Twenty yards or so ahead, I noticed another pedestrian walking toward me. With my umbrella open and my white cane sweeping, I own the walkway. I had two options: choke up on my cane grip like a putter on the green and try to squeeze by or step to the side into the damp grass.

I wasn’t in a hurry, Stockton would be picking me up on the next block. The flip-flops on my feet wouldn’t mind the detour. In the split-second of decision, I chose to hop onto the grass.

“You smell me from that far away?” the pedestrian said with mirth in his voice, “that’s terrible, that’s horrible.”

Reflexively, I inhaled but only the scent of wet pavement met my nose. He slowed his gait a half-step as he passed. I imagined him smiling. I grinned and said I’m not fully blind and he continued on his way.

I left under my umbrella, chuckling. I never know what I’m going to see or hear when it’s me and the white cane in public. The little interactions never disappoint.

Have you had any amusing interactions with strangers lately? Tell me about it.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Casee says:

    No amusing interactions but I gave up on umbrellas years ago. I like having one hand free or have a hand available for a tote bag or groceries. I tend to move off the sidewalk if I can because some people are so preoccupied with cellphones and such, I would rather just get out of the way rather than risk confrontation. I never had much luck with umbrellas anyway. I would leave them on the bus or the wind would do a number on them. Now I prefer rain hats and scarfs and you can’t beat a hood on a rainy day.

    1. Having an extra hand free is always nice.

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