It’s been a demoralizing morning, y’all.
MrH had to work, but I decided to attend the Small Business Roundtable solo. The plan was for him to drop me off outside the student center where the meeting was held and for me to walk to his office just off campus afterward.
As I was getting dressed, rain began to pour down. So much for walking. Since I was already up and dressed, I decided to go to the meeting anyway.
By the time we got to campus, the rain had stopped. MrH dropped me off as planned, and I found my way into the building and to the meeting room.
During the meeting, someone remarked that the American Red Cross was setting up a blood drive in the main part of the bilding.
Great! I thought. I used to give blood, and had been wanting to get back to it. And here was a blood drive all set up and ready to go.
After the meeting, I called to let MrH know I’d be delayed, then approached the table where I’d heard others checking in and asked whether that was where I could give blood.
But before I could donate, I had to read the donor’s booklet. The booklet wasn’t available in an accessible format. The gentleman at the table asked around, but no one was available to read me the booklet. I could come back later, he suggested, and see whether someone might be available then.
During this conversation, W, the Roundtable facilitator, came up. She offered me a ride to MrH’s office. I really wanted to get that walk in, so I thanked her and turned her down.
“It’s raining out there,” another woman warned.
I wanted to check for myself, and I figured I could always call MrH for a ride, since he had to take me home, so I went outside.
I’d walked the route before with my O&M instructor, and I was familiar with the campus from taking classes when I was still sighted.
Down the ramp to the crosswalk. Let a car go by. Cross the street. Turn left and follow the sidewalk along the road.
It had been a while since I’d walked the campus, and I did have a little glitch where the sidewalk jogged. It sloped slightly downward there, and I didn’t want to step into the road. But I listened to cars going by and realized where the sidewalk lay. Onward!
I reached the entrance to the Mar-Tech Building. Here I hesitated.
I could follow the sidewalk around its curve and come out near my husband’s office–but there was a place where I’d have to cross a fairly wide parking lot entrance. I’d gone off course there before, though I’d worked on it with my instructor since.
Or I could backtrack slightly and take the sidewalk that I was pretty sure sloped upward to the Wayne West Building. At the intersection in front of the building, I could turn left and reach my husband’s office. If this was the right sidewalk.
I decided to head upward. After all, if I’d mistaken the sidewalk, I should still come to a familiar landmark and sort myself out. This section of campus wasn’t that big, after all, and there was no traffic to run into. As long as I didn’t wander off the sidewalks, I should be fine.
Famous last words.
Here Comes the Rain Again
I turned up the sloping sidewalk, listening to the thrum of air conditioners outside the buildings. That would be another good clue when I got close to Wayne West.
And then the bottom dropped out.
If you’ve ever watched the Daredevil movie , you’ve seen the scene where he meets Elektra after her father’s funeral and a gentle rain begins to fall. Suddenly, thanks to the impact of all the little droplets on her, he can “see” her and glimpse her face.
Reality isn’t like that.
Or maybe I’m just not a superhero.
This downpour was disorienting. Any possibility of landmarks was washed away, except for the division between sidewalk and grass. I kept my cane on it and followed it blindly as rain drenched my clothes and hair.
I thought I heard the air handler at the west end of the building, but I wasn’t sure. Was it another building I was hearing instead? Traffic noise from the distant street was washed away entirely, so I couldn’t orient on that.
I thought about calling MrH. But he couldn’t drive back here to get me, and there was no sense in his getting soaked, too. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to hear my phone over the rain. Miserable, I forged ahead.
Suddenly, there was a man calling out to me, offering to help. He let me take his elbow and guided me into the building.
As soon as we got inside, I realized where we were. Somehow, I’d followed the grass line around a corner without realizing it, and had been paralleling the Wayne West building. I was on the sidewalk I needed, but I was moving away from MrH’s office rather than toward it.
My rescuer guided me to the lobby. From there I could have walked to MrH’s office, if not for the pouring rain. Instead, I called and asked him to pick me up.
By the time he got there, the rain had stopped.
As if to add insult to injury, the sun came out on the drive home.
I’m warm and dry again, no worse for the wear. I actually wrung water out of my purse, but the contents only got a little damp. The only thing really damaged is my pride.
I’m unbelievably grateful for people like my rescuer, who ran out into the rain himself to help me, and unbelievably frustrated to have needed that help. I’d like to think of myself as someone competent, a person who can go places and do things on her own, and it’s humbling to fail so spectacularly–and publicly.
I like to think that without the downpour, I’d have found my way, or been able to figure out my blunder and correct course from there.
Today was demoralizing and felt like a setback, but it’s not the end of the world. I’m still going to get out there and try to get around on my own, even though I’ll probably make more misteps along the way.
Have you had any setbacks recently? Did kind strangers help you or were you able to sort them out on your own?