While waiting for the train on my way to work this morning, I noticed a blind man standing a few feet from me. Every time I see a blind person I have the same quandary. I would very much like to go over to offer my help, but then there is that inner inhibition arising from the uncertainty of whether my help will be needed or appreciated. Maybe he can manage, maybe he would like to be independent, in which case helping him will hurt his pride, I would tell myself. I felt the same this time. In any case, he most probably wouldn’t need any help getting on the train so I just let him be.
A train came. We got on. It was still early morning and before the rush hours, so there were lots of seats. But he just stood there. I thought it was his preference, but when a woman stood up and guided him to a seat he graciously took it. It immediately dawned on me that there is no way a blind person can tell whether there are any empty seats, so unless someone guides him he will have to be standing. Next time I will not hesitate to help.
I wondered why it is that while I have absolutely no problem at all understanding and helping my blind cat, with people it can get quite so difficult. I gathered that the difference lies in trust, or the lack of it. That is what has got human relationships so complicated or even alienated. That is what has caused us to be on constant guard. Not a very pleasant state to be in, but at least it gives us an odd sense of security.