I'm walking up St. Charles Ave. on the way to work. I'm talking to my uncle on the phone. I look to my left and there is a guy walking down the middle of the street. There's a line of cars behind him. What I found fascinating was that not one horn was honking. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this guy had a white cane and sunglasses. Aha.
I politely excused myself from the phone conversation and ran to the edge of the sidewalk. "Sir! You may want to step about 5 feet to your right!" He comes to where I am, starts telling me about his bus ride and how rude the driver was. He then introduces himself. "I'm Jack by the way."
"I'm Jay. Nice to meet ya, Jack." He was surprisingly enthusiastic that we both had "J" names.
"So is this McDonald's?" He's on the opposite side of the road from the popular fast-food chain... and facing the old Border's Books building.
"No. I can take you there if you want. It's right across the street." It occurs to me that he must certainly know his way around if he got this close.
There's alot of traffic on St. Charles, and there are the streetcars to look out for. As we are crossing, he's telling about his life and the book he's writing about being blind in New Orleans. Fascinating stuff. Seriously. I was loving hearing about his experiences. Unfortunately, I also had to concentrate on keeping us from getting run over.
We got across successfully, got inside the fast-food restaurant, and got him in line. "Well, Jack. I have to get to work. Be careful out there. If the ground seems particularly smooth, you may be in the wrong place." To a blind person, New Orleans sidewalks are a hazard to say the least. Describing them as smooth is like describing Rush Limbaugh as tactful.
I made sure that an employee would get him safely back to the bus stop, said my farewell and departed.
I like to think that Jack is out there somewhere right now enjoying a Big Mac. I thank God that we crossed paths and will perhaps meet again.
Goodnight and have a great tomorrow!