I met a blind man today and after a few minutes, his service dog came and laid over my feet.
He apologized and pulled the dog back when he realized what was happening.
He said, “Ralph only does that if we like your voice. Uh, I mean, if he likes your voice.”
Ralph sneaked back to my feet a few inches at a time and I just let him.
I love dogs and my feet were cold, so it was a win-win for me.
And yes, I know you are not supposed to pet service dogs. I didn’t pet Ralph.
But I wanted to!
I had an instant rapport with this person and I can’t stop thinking about the entire situation.
It’s weird. I usually never instantly like someone I will probably not ever see again.
Yes, I talk to people here, but in my actual life I’m very closed off.
I don’t know why I was so receptive to this person.
We meet at a professional event for my new career. I had to drive to a city two hours away and I just wanted to leave when it was over.
But someone who knew of my involvement with a major publishing event asked if she could introduce us.
“He’s such a huge fan of “*******,” he’ll be delighted to meet you and I’ll warn you in advance, he’s going to have a million questions!”
Of course, I’m happy to exchange pleasantries about the event, it’s probably the biggest thing I’ve been involved with.
She took me to his office and when he stood up to meet me, it surprised me.
It shouldn’t have, he’s blind, not paralyzed.
He’s also tall.
Sooner than I expected, his questions about the publishing event stopped and we segued right into an hour long conversation about everything under the sun.
I wasn’t sure of the protocol.
When you speak to someone who is sighted, you get visuals signaling the end of the conversation.
I didn’t know what to do. And he kept talking.
I just kept listening.
Finally I started getting dizzy because I hadn’t eaten all day. I told him that.
It’s not that I wanted to leave, but I could feel my blood sugar dropping.
“I’d love to take you to lunch,” he offered.
I had a board meeting in my town that I had to drive back to, but I declined the lunch offer before I remembered that.
I honestly would have loved to go to lunch with him. I just had no idea how to navigate that situation.
How does he take me to lunch?
Y’all don’t judge me. I just didn’t know what to do.
[*We are vastly far apart in age and established that by mentioning the ages of our children. Not a romantic connection.]