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5:30 a.m. - 2002-02-26

ENJOY THAT MOUNTAIN DEW, STEVIE!

Yesterday, our paths finally crossed.

I'm talking about the blind guy that works in our building.

In our building, there's 3-4 different businesses. It's an executive building, although there's only about five people that dress like executives. Everyone else dresses like college students and gang members.

So anyway, the blind guy works in one of the other businesses. I'm not sure which. Hell, I'm not even sure what the other businesses are. I think there's some kind of telemarketing business above us because everyone who works there looks retarded. It could be a Burger King though for the same reason.

I've noticed the blind guy around the place lately. He's not really hard to miss. The first time I saw him, he was out in the field outside my office window, wandering around in circles and trying to find his desk. I watched him for most of the day until his supervisor came outside and guided him back inside the building.

I also saw him urinating in a potted plant in the building's lobby one time. I had to tiptoe past him because those blind guys...they've got some kind of supersonic hearing or something. It's like God said "I'll take away your eyesight but give you the hearing of a dog." And I was tiptoeing because I didn't want him saying something like "Say Buddy...can you help me flush this thing?" and me having to go "Sure!" and then make a "Whoooosh!!" sound like a flushing urinal.

It was a pretty big deal lately when he almost stepped into the elevator shaft. I wasn't there, but from what I heard the elevator was broken and in the basement and the doors were wide open when he almost stepped in and killed himself.

"Going down?"

Anyway, yesterday our paths crossed. I knew they'd cross eventually since I've gotten into the habit of leaving my office and wandering around the building like a cocky nomad whenever I get writer's block which happens more often than not these days, if you couldn't tell from this diary.

So I'm in the little snack room area of the building. There's a few soda machines, a couple of snack machines. I'm trying to find a dollar that the soda machine will take so I can have my 2:00 Diet Dr. Pepper when here comes the blind guy.

"Oh shit!" I think to myself before realizing that these guys have such great hearing that maybe...just maybe...they can hear what you think. I mean...if Mel Gibson could do it in "What Women Want", who's to say that this guy can't hear me. So I quit thinking about him.

Which wasn't easy because he was rapping on my ankles with that damned red tipped cane of his, thinking I was a soda machine or something.

I decided to talk to him. Treat him like a normal person who just happened to have shiny black marbles for eyes.

"Hi!" I said. "Come on in!"

The snack room is pretty tiny. If you get more than one person in there, you have to maneuver around each other to get out of there.

I scooted away from the guy in order to let him come in to the area. Which meant I was now in front of the snack machine, when I really wanted to be in front of the Diet Dr. Pepper machine. But apparently Blind Guy's throat was parched as well, and he wanted a soda too. So I let him get his soda.

I mean, sure. I could have said "Wait your turn, Roy Orbison." But I didn't. I was polite.

Wrong move.

First, Blind Guy reaches in his pocket and pulls out a handful of change. I wanted to ask if all that change came out of his tin cup, but then I thought "I bet he just heard me think that" so I pushed the thought out of my mind.

So he's feeling up all his change, trying to find a quarter and two dimes to buy his soda. I'm standing there with a perfectly crisp one dollar bill in my hand, ready to buy my soda and continue my stroll around the building, avoiding anything that remotely resembles work.

Blind Guy is feeling the edges of his change carefully, measuring each coin with his fingers. This is taken an ungodly amount of time. I really wanted to reach in his hand and just grab the correct change and plug it into the machine, push the "Coke" button and send him away to go wander around in the ladies room, smacking peeing ladies with his cane.

He finally figured out the correct change and then started feeling up the machine to find the coin slot. I wanted to start moaning "Lower....lowerrrrrr" like some kinda perv, but once again...I didn't. Because deep down, I'm a nice guy.

He finally gets his money in the machine and bends down to peer at the buttons from behind his rather cheap looking sunglasses. My son has a nicer pair of sunglasses than this guy. I'm not the type to spend more than twenty bucks on a pair of sunglasses, but this guy...considering it's an everyday fashion accessory for him ... was wearing some government issued sunglasses or something. More than likely, he went to the Sunglass Hut in the mall and some wiseass charged him $120 for "tinted Raybans" and then handed him some Dollar Store sunglasses and pocketed the $119 profit.

That's what I was thinking anyway. And then, of course, I quickly stopped thinking about it.

I thought he was pretending to look at the buttons, and trying to fool me into thinking that he could really see, and that he was just really slow and enjoyed walking around wearing sunglasses with a blind guy's cane. But apparently he was feeling the buttons...knowing that the top two were Coke, the next one was Diet Coke, then Dr. Pepper, etc.

Thank God he picked a Coke. Or there's a possibility that I'd still be standing there with cotton mouth, waiting for the guy to find the Orange soda.

He felt around for his ice cold can of Coke, found it, grabbed it and proceeded to walk into the nearest wall.

Luckily, his cane saved him from any further embarrassment.

I really wanted to say something. "Have a nice day" or "Enjoy your Coke" or "Like yourself...I've always appreciated Stevie Wonder for his musical genius".

But I didn't.

Because my parents always told me that if you talk to a blind person, they'll latch onto you like a fly on a dog turd and use you for your sight until you finally get fed up with them and push them out in traffic or something.

And quite frankly ... I'm too busy to be chasing the guy around the building yelling "Dammit Stevie...you're pissing in the poinsettas again!!"

So I kept quiet.

But I think that in a way...we connected.

I felt it anyway.

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