Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visually-Impaired Two-Year Olds Shouldn't Walk in the Dark

I thought about titling this essay "The Perils of Public Transportation" or "A Cautionary Tale About The Importance of Asking for Help" or maybe "My Big Honking Bruise."

Last Friday night, I had an attack of the "Do Myself" demons. I had a haircut appointment after work which is about a 15-minute walk from my house. Piece of cake. Usually I go to a Friday night meeting one town away. Well, since I wasn't going to be home at the usual time I leave for the meeting I decided that I would get there myself rather than calling a friend for a ride.

I proudly used my new Google phone app which allows the GPS to determine my location and how to get where I want to go via public transportation. Much to my dismay, I discovered that I would have to take two buses to get there and that the first bus wasn't scheduled to arrive for about 30 minutes. There I was standing at a clearly marked, well-lit bus stop on a well-traveled sidewalk and for some reason that now seems absurd I decided to walk to the bus connection.

So off I went, thinking it would be about a 1 mile walk. I walked on the right side of the ride so I would see the bus stop. As I walked it got darker and darker. Then the sidewalk disappeared. Then the street lights disappeared. Then, I tripped over a rock buried in the leaves and fell on the ground, smashing the front of my hip on the rock as I hit the ground.

I wanted to cry. Well, I kind of did just for a second. Then I realized I was lying in the leaves at the side of the road and that I was not so much hurt as humiliated and really, really pissed off.

The anger helped me get up, brush myself off and keep on trudging. Plus, I had been walking for more than a mile and I figured I was closer to the bus stop than to home. I decided that when the first bus came by I would flag it down, take it to the transfer point, and then catch the second bus to my meeting where I would whine and complain about poor me and my bruised hip.

So, I kept on trudging, continually looking over my left should for the bus. I finally saw it and started waving. The only problem was that it was dark, there were no street lights, and I was wearing a black coat. zoomed on by.

After another couple of miles walking carefully in the dark so I wouldn't trip over another rock, I reached the bus stop. I called a friend who lived in New York to cry and whine. I did not, though, call anyone who could pick me up and give me a ride either home or to the meeting.

Eventually, another bus came along but it I figured out that the meeting would be over before I ever got there. Instead, I took it to a TJ Maxx , spent an hour in retail therapy and then took a cab home.

The moral of the story: When I act like a two-year old, stamp my foot and insist on doing something all by myself, it does not make me independent. It makes me stubborn. Sometimes being able to ask for help is the only way I can achieve independence and freedom.

1 comment:

  1. Julie, that is one important lesson learned. I'd say you got off easy, walking alone along an unlit road in these times, but I'm sure it's already crossed your mind.

    I hope the 'retail therapy' helped the bruised ego. Take care.