The Kindness of Strangers

Okay, it’s past 2:30AM and I just said I wasn’t going to blog right now, but CrunchityFrog’s prompt for today (well, yesterday) has me thinking. This is supposed to be a daily prompt thing, so I might join in more often. Anyway, the prompt is to write about the kindness of strangers.

I’ve probably written many times already about overbearing, intrusive strangers. Particularly when I was a teen, I didn’t realize that my autistic behavior (of which I was unaware that it was autistic) combined with my blindness often caused people concern. I am more appreciative of people’s attempts, even awkward ones, to help now. That probably changed on the evening of November 2, 2007.

Okay, I’ve shared the story of my mental crisis probably more often than anyone cares to know. Today I’d like to focus on the kindness of the people who helped me stay alive and safe.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I was in a suicidal crisis that evening. I had left the training home I was a former resident of and had hoped to find safety in, because I was told the staff had no responsibility for me and I was to leave.

I took the bus to the city’s train station, talking into my former care coordinator’s voicemail. I told her I was going to take my life that night. I was completely unaware that people could hear me until a woman across the aisle from me started to talk to me. She told me that the bus driver had heard me, which initially only caused greater panic. She kept saying over and over again that he was getting help for me. (“Help”, of course, came in the form of the police, as is customary here in the Netherlands if someone’s safety is in question.) I was in utter shock, constantly crying and very overwhelmed. I am forever grateful for this woman’s kindness. And of course for the bus driver’s. It most likely, after all, wasn’t within his duty to report his concerns to the police.

Looking back, I realize I rightfully worried random people on the streets many times before and they were kind enough to help. Even if “help” meant to call the police. My parents often felt that people were just stupid, assuming that a blind person shouldn’t be traveling independently. Some were, indeed, but in some cases my parents were stupid, assuming that I was just blind.

Share Your World (April 22, 2019)

For the first time in a long while, I’m once again participating in Share Your World. Today’s questions are very interesting.

I tried to write this post on my Mac, as I cannot copy the questions on my iPhone. I finally however decided to continue on my phone, as the WordPress editor is hard to use on the computer.

1. Was the last thing you read digital or print?
Digital. I am blind, so cannot read standard print. I rarely read Braille either, although I recently received a Braille letter.
2. Are you more an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert for sure. I definitely am not energized by a lot of interaction. I also prefer a few deep friendships to having a lot of acquaintances. That being said, online I can be more of an extravert.
3. How is your life different from what you imagined as a younger person?
Very. I am not sure there’s any resemblance, in fact. As a teen, I imagined being some type of university professor when I’d grow up. I for sure didn’t imagine doing day activities at a center for people with intellectual disabilities. I also didn’t imagine having a husband. The only thing I did imagine at the time was being a writer. I didn’t know about blogs at the time, but did know about online diaries. My online diary gradually morphed into my first blog.
4. Do you think about dying? Does death scare you?  Why or why not?

Yes, of course I think about it sometimes. I saw a man shortly before his death last January at day activities (a fellow client) and this did make me acutely aware of the finiteness of life. Death doesn’t really scare me, although sometimes it does.

Additional Gratitude Bonus Question:  Who has been the kindest to you in your life?

My husband. He loves me despite the fact that I can be quite blunt and a pain in the arse to be around.

Some Kind Words Meant the Best Part of My Day

Boy, am I feeling awful right now. I ate a whole bag of sugar-free candies (a small bag, but still) and now I’m having the worst bowel cramps in the history of this body. A part of me is still not convinced that I should never buy these candies again, as this part believes with their laxative effect, I’ll actually lose weight while indulging into my sweet tooth, so a double win. I have already banned myself from buying candy containing sugar, as that’d mean I’d eat a whole (usually much larger) bag too and I’d have the added drawback of it containing like 1500 calories. My goal is to be healthy though, not skinny and awful-feeling. That same part of me disagrees, but well.

To cheer myself up and to find inspiration to write a post for today, I looked at some question of the day posts on other blogs. On A Writer’s Life, last Monday, the author asked a question that could fulfill both these purposes. They asked about the best part of our day.

I had a pretty boring day today. I didn’t do much that was truly exciting. That is, I exercised on the elliptical for the first day in a while, but that’s while I was already suffering from the aforementioned bowel cramps. At day activities, I did a few things I enjoyed, but nothing that stood out majorly.

However, some kind words from my day activities staff did stand out. Yesterday, I had been taken home by taxi as usual. The drivers know the day activities in this area well as they regularly drive clients there. As such, they know that my group is for pretty severely intellectually disabled people. The driver who drove me home yesterday asked what I, being of at least average intelligence, do at that group. I did go into an explanation, which I later felt maybe I shouldn’t have. I mean, she’s just a driver, not one of my staff.

I also worried that my real staff would soon enoug find out that I’m too good for that group too. So today I asked one of the staff at my group. She said: “Because you can talk so well, people may get that impression, but we know better.” It didn’t sound like it was a blow to my self-esteem at all. She didn’t mean it to highlight my social and emotional difficulties, which are the reason I’m at this group. She just said that they’ve gotten to know me well and we’ve together decided that this is the right froup for me. Phew, was I relieved.