It is hard to find things once a blind man puts them away. But it is strangely easy to find things that a blind man has misplaced. I think this is some sort of Blind Murphy’s Law.
Last weekend we had a garage sale. It’s one of those things you have to do once the garage has more furniture in it than your house does. I made a garage sale sign with huge arrows to mark the way. One on each side of the box. I asked my husband to go and put the box at the corner.
Sales were very slow at first. And people kept telling me they didn’t see my sign at the corner. I had my husband check to see if it was still there and he said it was. Sales went well enough that I sold all the biggest space hogs in the garage. But I still kept hearing that no one saw our sign.
Monday morning as I was driving to work I saw that our sign was there on the corner all right, but the arrow was pointing the wrong way! I have to blame myself because who can blame a blind man for putting the sign with the arrow facing the wrong way!?
At least the garage sale was still a success. Mostly.
Before I met my husband in person, before we were an item, i wrote up a list of things I wanted in a man. I posted it on my Livejounral and my hobbit replied to it. Here is my list and how he measures up:
1. You have to follow through. Don’t promise me anything you can’t deliver on. The time for dreaming is done – this is a time of doing. You must do what you say. I will be even more disapointed if you don’t follow through on promises you make (have made) to yourself.
This was important to me because I had been in so many relationships where men made promises to me they did not keep, not the least being fidelity. My Hobbit is very good at follow through.
2. Must not lie. Small lies are the worst. Do not tell me you will do something, even if you just tell me to get me off of your back, and then not do it (see #1), no matter how small it is. Lies that are completely unacceptable and will not be forgiven are adultery, addiction and abuse (of any kind, I’m done with all of them).
My Hobbit is so honest I feel guilty for not disclosing as much to him as he does to me.
3. Must be kind. White lies are okay. You must be smart enough to know when to lie. Don’t tell me I look like shit if I’m in labor, have PMS, am suffering from an illness, or am dying of cancer.
I don’t get flowers as much anymore, but I get chocolate, apple soda and when I am sick, he waits on me hand and foot (literally since he will also rub my feet).
4. Do not tease me when I ask you to stop.
This was a big sore spot for me, something my ex did relentlessly, but my Hobbit has never hit it even once.
5. Do not make fun of my hobbies, take interest in them. I promise in return, I will not only take interest in yours, but make sure you have the time and distance you need to participate in them with me and without me (because I know you like time alone or with your friends).
My hobbit is my biggest fan. He treats my creations with utmost respect, sometimes with greater respect than they deserve.
7. Must comfort me when I cry. Even if I am crying and it’s your fault – and you KNOW it’s your fault – and even if it isn’t, you MUST comfort me, no matter how many times I tell you to go away. You must come to me, hug me, kiss my forehead and hold me until I stop crying.
This is a hard one because he can’t see and hear when I am crying unless I tell him and all men seem terrified of crying women. I’m not sure why. In any case, my Hobbit comes and hugs me when I say I having a bad day or I have cramps and aches from fibro. It is clear he is on track here.
8. Must be kind to children, and more specifically mine. They are good children but they have their faults and they have their vices. You can discipline them in a manner appropriate for a close friend, but not in a manner appropriate for a father. If they take advantage of you, we will deal with that together.
He is better at this than blood relatives.
9. Must take as good care of my things as you do of your things. There are ways I can tell how much I mean to you, and one of them is that you think of me on the same level as you think of yourself (or even above). If you see children destroying my things, or see something misplaced, treat it as you would something you personally value. I have found that how you treat the things of your significant other reflects how you treat (and how much you esteem) your significant other. If you know I love Harry Potter, don’t let the children step on the books.
See the hobbies section. My Hobbit honors my creations and collections more than I do.
10. Must love to learn. You should never stop learning
He gets an A+.
11. Must have an interest in a social life. This means you must have friends, be friendly, be willing to MAKE friends, to fellowship and interact with new people. Video games are not a substitute for human interaction.
This is something I would have given him a complete pass on. It is a difficult task for someone with such vastly complicated communication issues, but Sam is more social than my ex was and encourages me to do social activities. He is a great host.
12. Must be willing to sacrifice. In this one, I almost don’t care if it’s for your kids, my kids, me, your family, your dog, your church, your time… I want to see that you believe in something bigger than you.
Yeah. I think the life of a deaf blind man living with kids and a wife involves a lot of sacrifice.
3. Must be willing to address/express your feelings in a healthy way. Don’t laugh and tell me everything is okay when you feel like crap inside. Don’t shut me out that way. You should be old enough to know your own moods and how to express them to someone.
This is always hard for a man but I think my hobbit does it well.
14. Must take equal responsibility in the relationship. Romance isn’t just my responsibility. Housecleaning isn’t just my responsibility. Discipline, cooking, laundry… you get the point.
I think my hobbit is a romantic in the purest hobbit sense. Food is very important in Hobbit courtships and by any measure of hobbits ways ours continues very well.
15. Must be at least occassionally indulgant. (Of me, and I will be of you).
We do extraordinarily well with this considering how poor we are (though at least middle class by Hobbit terms).
16. Must have a personal ethical/ moral code that you adhere to – though not zealously.
Sam had this way before we met and it continues to evolve upwards. He is, simply put, the best man I have ever known.
17. Must be open minded. I think it would be better to say “Must be open hearted.” Example: It’s okay to believe homosexuality is wrong, but it is NOT okay to close your heart OR your ears to a homosexual because you believe their lifestyle is wrong. I know some things will always be hard to hear and I will forgive you for having a hard time hearing it, but I will not forgive you if you do not reflect on those things. That is closed minded.
I would have to say “dittos” for this.
18. Must have a strong work ethic. Signs that you do not have a strong work ethic: you are consistantly late, you call in sick when you are not, you overcharge your boss/client, you have someone else do your work or cover for you.
Though his work is different than I had imagined for my spouse, he still sticks to this. He does work he doesn’t like, he doesn’t make excuses and he finishes the job.
19. Must act upon your feelings. If you feel for me, if something moves you, if you feel something, you should act upon it, not keep it inside and treasure the moment. Moments are meant to be shared not hoarded. Don’t be selfish with your feelings, act upon them (within reason).
This is probably what he does best. We have so many of these small, precious moments.
He had a lazy eye. That’s the first thing I noticed about him. It wasn’t that his eye was looking off into the west when he approached me in the grocery store. We were in the baking goods aisle, surrounded by flour, sugar and spices . His slight wall-eye was made even more noticeable by his Elizabeth Taylor violet eyes. His face was pleasant enough. He had this Matt Damon ‘just handsome enough but completely clueless’ thing going for him, and I fully expected him to talk in elongated, slightly slurred, two word sentences like that puppet in the movie about the Film Actors Guild (or F.A.G.).
“Excuse me, Miss,” he said, waving his hand slightly to get my attention or make sure that I knew he was talking to me. “Do you know where the tunafish is?”
There is something about me and the way I look that makes complete strangers come up to me and ask me for directions. I have been on walks and had people pull up to ask me how to get to the pharmacy, or where was such-and-such street. In the store I attract lost children, bachelors and married men on their first grocery trip for the wife.
I must look like a human GPS station.
“Down the next aisle,” I tell him, pointing to my right. “At the end.”
He smiled and nodded. “Thank you.” And then he was walking away.
I really didn’t think anything more of it, or him. Like I said, people come up to me all the time and ask me directions and I don’t remember all their faces, or what they asked for. I was a single mother, recently widowed, with a feisty two year old on my hands every hour I wasn’t working. Except the weekends that I sent my daughter, Katie, off with my mother for a child-free mental vacation. And you know what I do with my child-free time? Run errands. Grocery shop. Sleep. I do the things that I can never seem to get done while Katie is with me.
My father says I look haggard and says that life has made me hard. But I don’t think that is the case, or people wouldn’t come up to me in the store and ask for directions. You don’t ask someone who looks overwhelmed for anything except “Can I help you?” At least, that’s my opinion.
I stood in the checkout line, having put all my items on the belt, making sure I got extra wipes for sticky fingers to keep in my car (on the floor beneath the carseat). I saw a bright yellow romance novel on the rack and picked it up, turning it to read the back.
“John Conner is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.” It read.
I admit that I love a good romance novel. They are an easy read and fill my head with what I wish could be between a man and a woman. But I have never met a ‘rogue’ that wasn’t perfectly content with staying a rogue.
“I’m tired of devilishly handsome rogues and of their secrets,” I mumbled to myself, putting the book back in it’s place.
“How about “the normal looking guy with an unusual shopping list” instead?” A voice behind me asked.
I tuned and looked, seeing the same wall-eyed man who had asked me for directions to tuna. He had a much folded and wrinkled sheet of notebook paper–frayed edges still hanging on for dear life. The print was so large and black that it had bleed through the paper. I could have read it from fifteen feet away. It read: “chicken nuggets, peanut butter, tuna, ice cream.” His cart was filled with just those four items, but filled none-the less.
I tried not to laugh as soon as he put the first jar of peanut butter on the belt behind the partition, but I had to say something to counter his remark.
“Interesting combination.” I motioned to his cart, wondering if four family size bags of chicken nuggets would get frostbite before this obvious bachelor could finish them off. He wasn’t overweight, or not obviously so. He looked fit and healthy, and it did make me wonder how children and bachelors can survive so well on such an unbalanced diet.
He blinked up at me, his wall-eye moving just slightly to his left while his other eye focused on me. He squinted for a second and then lit up with recognition. “I found the tuna!” He pointed at what had to be 30 cans in his cart.
“I see that,” I said, amused.
He continued to put what he could on the small space left for him on the belt. The cashier was moving forward at a steady pace, checking out the customer in front of me with a steady beep, beep, beep of the upc scanner. “Yeah,” the wall-eyed man said, not looking at me while he kept loading the belt, building a tower of peanut butter and tuna, “My nephew is coming over this week and all he will eat is chicken nuggets, tuna, peanut butter and ice cream.”
“Have you tried giving him yogurt?”
He stopped loading the belt to look up at me.
“They have kids yogurt in kiddie flavors…”
He was still looking at me and it was a little disconcerting. I know I am not UNattractive, but I have never made a man stop and stare, not even my dead husband, who married me because he was very practical and wanted an equally practical wife. I had on sweat pants, a BYU tee-shirt and an old, favorite sweater that was just as comfortable as my old, favorite tennis shoes.
My hair was up in a pony tail, to keep it out of my face. In the two years I had been a widow, I hadn’t cut it once. At first that was because I just didn’t care. I really was, like my father had said, hard. But I had an infant and my husband had killed himself on that stupid motorcycle. He had to have it, you know. He was a tall, thin, geek with pale blond hair and amber eyes, but he thought he was a sex god while on the motorcycle. It still made me angry. It was the only thing he had been completely impractical about, and it killed him.
Anyway, back to my hair.
By the time I actually cared about my hair, it had become a habit to put it back in a pony tail, or banana clip and just leave it alone. I would braid it for church and let the long, chestnut rope of hair fall to the middle of my back like a tail.
That morning I had been too lazy to even put it up in a pony tail. I must have looked like I just got out of bed, with my sweats, unkempt hair and no make-up on. Until the man looked at me so closely, so deeply, I really hadn’t cared. But now I felt self conscious.
I saw his hand move up and then down as his mouth opened to say something.
“I’m mostly blind,” he said, starting the conversation in a new direction that made me want to squirm in my shoes, “and sometimes in less light, all I can see are shadows. But there are people who have a sort of ‘glow’ about them. Like a golden halo.” His voice was soft, and I couldn’t help but notice how rich it was and how it made my spine shiver when it softened. “You have it.”
That was the best line I had ever heard come out of a man’s mouth. It may have been the truth, from his point of view, but in the back of my mind, it was still a ‘line.’ I blushed, none-the-less, and felt my cheeks tingle and burn.
“So, do you like romance novels?” he asked.
If it was possible to blush more with your cheeks completely flushed, I am sure I accomplished it.
“I do love to read something quick, easy and entertaining at times,” he replied, almost hinting that he also liked read aforementioned manuscripts.
It was my turn to look up and stare at him.
“Try Julia Quinn,” he said to me, as matter of fact as any man might suggest a Tom Clancy novel to another man. “She has some historical romance that’s pretty good.”
I blinked, stunned.
I had never met a man who admitted to reading romance novels.
“Or you can try Nora Roberts if you prefer modern romances.” The checker had started on my goods and asked me for my savings card, but I was too busy staring at the man to give her any of my attention. “That’s where I started. And then, naturally, I had to move on to her J D Robb stories. She’s not a bad writer for someone so prolific.”
He kept talking. He went on and on until we were talking about all of our favorite novels, focusing on historical romance.
Little tidbits leaked out while we walked slowly out of the store. He attributed his prolonged bachelorhood to his blindness. I explained my early widowhood while saying how much I hated antiheroes and how tired I was of stories about ‘rich rogues.’
“I’m definitely not rich,” he said in response, and then he smiled. His smile was dangerous, and maybe even a little wild when coupled with his wall-eye. “But I could be a rogue if the situation called for it.”
“Why would you want to be?” I asked.
“Because every woman wants one.” His smile turned crooked. “If that wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be five billion romance novel covers with the word ‘rogue’ in the title.”
I laughed. “You have a point.”
“The point is to be just enough of a rogue to attract a woman, and enough of a man to accept that you can’t act like one if you want to keep her.”
“That was brilliant.”
We exchanged email addresses, but I swear to you, I was in love with him by the time the Dial-A-Ride disabled bus came to pick him up and load his seven bags of chicken nuggets in.
I stood with my full cart, watching the minibus pull away from the store front and wondered if anyone had ever wrote a romance novel about an occasionally roguish, mostly blind man falling in love with an ordinary looking woman at a checkout counter…
My hobbit and I have a goodly neighbor. He is quite old and wise about many things, but some things he isn’t wise about. The first is that he doesn’t realize how blind my husband really is. He thinks that men are not real men unless they are fixing things around the house. He thinks my Hobbit could at least be Tim the Toolman Taylor if he just really tried. He’s right, my husband IS Tim the Toolman, but what most people have no concept of is how much it must cost the Taylor family in repairs to repair the repair that Tim repaired. Tim broke things being fully sighted, well informed and well equipped. Can you imagine what it would have been like if Tim had the eyesight of Mr. Magoo? I can, and that is why my Hobbit is not allowed to fix things that break (even if HE broke it-and nothing breakable survives in our house unless proactively and constantly protected). Getting someone who actually can fix things the first time around is why there is such a thing as Angies List AND neighbors/friends that know a little of this and that.
I know that many people don’t really GET how blind my husband is. Because he has some sight, and functions in familiar places (which is where most people will meet him) without his cane, people think he is not THAT blind. Let me assure you, he is. He can’t tell orange from pink, he can’t read this post in fourteen point font, he can’t see cars approaching him in the parking lot and he can’t read your lips (and none of this addresses his being deaf at all).
If a blind man asks you for help to fix something, don’t try to show him how to do it, just be a good neighbor and fix it for him. He could probably tell you exactly how to fix what is wrong after reading the dozen books he has on the subject, but he’s BLIND, it’s not really wisdom to expect him to figure out what the problem is on his own or do anything that takes hand-eye coordination. I mean honestly… he still can’t even really do the deacon shuffle.