Jim's Richard III Blog

What had started as a blog of Richard III rehearsal process at Cal Shakes has now evolved or devolved into a small novella. The author is petrified to change the name for fear it'll disappear, and wouldn't know what to call it anyway. Many stories are included and questions are even answered sometimes!

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Blind Leading

This has nothing to do with Theatre, but is just one of those things you see that sticks in your head, and you find yourself rewinding like a film.

So. Yesterday evening I took a stroll up the street to go to the corner store and to exercise my gimpy foot that was bothering me a bit. It was dark out, and being gimpy I took my time crossing the streets, walking carefully to avoid tripping on the sidewalk. I got to the corner of San Pablo and Solano, and saw kitty corner from me, an entire herd of blind people, or if that's not PC I'll say sight impaired.

And they looked more like a flock, actually--somewhat birdlike --very close to each other and keeping in contact, 12 or more of them all with canes in hand, all canes at the exact same angle and leaning forward peering intensely at the pedestrian crossing signal across from them while I looked at the one across from me. ".......Unusual." I thought, and waited for the signal.

I crossed the street as carefully and as quickly as I could, went into the store, got my stuff and exited into--that same herd of blind people; they'd decided apparently that they'd cross to the corner store first, then cross to the other side. One of the group who apparently had some sort of vision remaining (I'll call him The Boss) said "I can just make out the signal light from here--Everybody go when I give the word!"

I realized I had two choices:

1. Follow behind them and possibly get run over by a vehicle because I didn't have a cane and was therefore fair game, gimpy or not, or:
2. Get ahead of them and try to stay out of their way.

I chose the latter. The signal changed, Boss yelled "It's changed! Everybody go! I moved ahead of them and began to cross, gimping at a rate I deemed reasonable to stay ahead of a passle of people with canes until I realized they were going faster than I'd anticipated and that the entire group was on my heels. I began to hustle, pursued by the sound of feet and the "Twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata, twak-ata!!" from the 12 or more cane wielders--an ominous, thunderous sound--and realized as well that I was currently more in danger of being run over by pedestrians than by cars. Meanwhile, The Boss was yelling encouraging admonitions in the background; "Go Louie, go!", "To the left, to the left!" and "Stay on course everybody!" like a Marine D.I.

The foot is fine today, but this is the film I'm rewinding: My eyes desperately fixed on that street corner, gimping like a bat out of hell, the sound of clacking behind me as if I were being pursued by an enormous crab driven on by a Marine Sargent. It was like The Sand of Iwo Jima, or D-Day, and made me laugh like hell once I was out of their way--not at them, but at the absurdity of the entire scenario. Makes me wonder what the people in their cars saw and thought--I mean, that's just not something you see every day.

And it made me realize how brave that group of people were--I only gimp once in awhile.


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