He was two feet away—and steadily bearing down on me—when I realized his eyes were closed.
Glad I thought to attempt making eye contact. He would’ve mowed me over if I hadn’t nosed-dived out of his way.
The Blind Walker was likely in his teens. I assumed his closed-eye commute was by choice. The choices we all make at that age. Along the lines of: do something stupid. See what happens.
It’s just as likely Blind Walker was high. He had that look to him, as well.
I watched the teen’s retreating back long after we passed. To see if the forces of nature really do protect the idiot. When the sidewalk ended, how did traffic treated him? Or, if he veered off the sidewalk? Or if he ran into an immobile object, like a mailbox.
Started thinking about the Book of Eli. Yet another post-apocalyptic movie. About Eli. A wanderer with strange wisdom, like “walking by faith and not by sight,” gotten from a book of certain importance, which he carried to a destination hidden even to him. Searching for others who would appreciate the book’s value. Doing all the awesome things expected of a hero …
… despite his blindness. A handicap hidden from those around him.
Sure, Hollywood isn’t an accurate rendition of life. However. Neil Gaiman, my favorite author, once said that fiction prepares us for real-life decisions. I started processing that incredibly unlikely story. Overlaying it with Blind Walker.
Faith, in essence, is seeing something intangible. Then working to make it physical, both to yourself and to others. I wondered how walking with confidence, while doing the impossible, while being absolutely in the dark, manifested in real life.
What does it mean in the real world? Doing something so crazy, with such determination? Blind Walker commanded the sidewalk, despite his self-imposed handicap. Us sighted people could see his idiocracy. Then get out of his way. Or was it a handicap? In that encounter, I had less power than him. What else—among the roadblocks, fears, and calm discussions why your plan won’t work—will lunge out of your way, after making the decision to act on your conviction? What happens when others, despite your mad actions, see that you’re continuing in spite of the odds?
I continued watching the Blind Walker. The city block, though, was especially long. Couldn’t see its end. Feeling odd watching a teen so intently, I turned and continued on my way. While remembering the road eventually bottomed out onto the freeway. That would stop him. Certainly, it would stop him.
But a nagging feeling persists. I think he’s still walking.