This morning I was on my way down to the park in the drizzly gloom, pram in front of me and dog at my side. I was dressed in a beige puffer jacket, jeans and Uggs (I know, Uggs and rain is not a good mix but they are so warm I can’t get them off my feet). The clothing is important – you’ll see why in a sec. I stopped at the zebra crossing – large, brightly painted white and black stripes complete with two flashing yellow lights, one at either side, and was about to step on to the road when a car zoomed past, completely ignoring the pedestrian-friendly crossing.
I gesticulated, as you do, although mildly as I had the baby with me and I don’t want to influence her gentle manner with my intolerance of bad driving, and then continued on my way across the road and on to the park. As I walked, I became aware of the sound of a car’s engine to my left and looking across I saw the angry red face of the man who had just almost run me over. Winding down his window, he began to shout at me for not wearing brighter clothes (should I be equipped with a high-viz jacket in order to safely negotiate a zebra crossing?). I was rather restrained in my response, although I did tell him off for being so aggressive.
He drove off and I embarked on an internal muttering for the duration of the fifteen minute walk to my destination. Should I be wearing bright clothes? Should I have smiled at him as he almost took me, my baby and the dog out in one foul swoop, hurtling along in his clapped-out Golf at 45 miles per hour in a built up area? Should I have given him more of a ticking off when he drew up alongside me and berated me for my beige clobber?
Half an hour later and I was just leaving the park when I looked up and saw two gentlemen in their 70’s jogging along the pavement close to the park’s entrance. ‘How lovely,’ thought I, ‘that two men in their twilight years go jogging together. Not often you see that.’ And then, as they neared me and I caught a closer look, I saw that one of the men had no vision whatsoever and his friend was linking his arm through his blind companion’s and steering him along a safe route. This was a kind and wonderful thing for the friend to do, but I couldn’t get over the massive amount of determination and fearlessness in the face of adversity demonstrated by the blind man. I was so impressed. If they had both had their sight I would have been impressed; given that one of them was putting all his trust and faith in his friend, and that they were both tackling disability and their mature years with such optimistic gusto, and doing it in the cold and the driving rain, I was nothing less than blown away.
I didn’t give another thought to the arse with the bright red face, and was filled with a sense of all humanity being utterly fantastic all the way home.