“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever…” Isak Dinesen
Recently, on the NY subway, a man turned to me and asked, “What time is it?” I looked at him, not sure if he really wanted the time or was just using an old pick up line… I guess I didn’t react fast enough because he asked the question again; this time with a touch of impatience in his voice. “Miss, what time is it?” I looked up at the digital clock, displayed in military time, on the roof of the subway car and pointing to it said, “There’s the time, 10;05am!” “Thanks! I can’t see it.” He replied. I was startled. He didn’t look blind to me and I doubt he had confused read with see. He sensed my surprise and turning to look at me, he said in a calm voice. “Yeah, I don’t have a stick but I’m legally blind alright.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond, even though the term and condition is one I am familiar with in my own family. According to notes in Wikipedia, “In North America and most of Europe, legal blindness is defined as visual acuity (vision) of 20/200 (6/60) or less in the better eye with best correction possible. This means that a legally blind individual would have to stand 20 feet (6.1 m) from an object to see it—with corrective lenses—with the same degree of clarity as a normally sighted person could from 200 feet (61 m).” I smiled nervously at him and he, smiling right at me, turned his attention back to his thoughts.
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
What struck me, in that simple exchange on the subway ride that morning, was how important it is not to make assumptions of people and situations. Even when things appear one way, the back story could be something completely different. There was a time, back in the day, when subway muggings were high. I remember when there was a rash of jewelry muggings that sometimes began with the question “What time is it?”
Over the years, especially in the Rudolf Giuliani years, tremendous effort was made to quell the problem. Nevertheless, the memory of subway muggings still linger in many minds; including mine. So that morning, a legally blind man who could see me up close, but couldn’t see the digital clock above his head, reminded me of the importance of not judging others blindly; of not assuming things; and of the value in simply reaching out to genuinely ask or answer the question: What time is it? More below!
“Often times I have hated in self-defense; if I were stronger I would not have used such a weapon.” Kahlil Gibran
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay
The exchange I had with the man on the subway was an eye-opener of sorts for me, (yes, pun intended), because it reminded me that it was time to discard that old subway mugging tape still on pause in my head. How often do we go about concluding outcomes based on past exchanges or expectations? Sure, sometimes our concerns are warranted, but in many case they are not. What time is it?
Stay Inspired! What are your thoughts? What’s surprising event have you had lately? How do you assess situations? What do you do when things seem a bit unsure? Do share! Thank you.
*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience!
Positive Motivation Tip: Life is not so linear or black and white; sometimes there are other shapes and shades to consider. Ask the questions.
- Legally Blind And Still Playing Golf (whnt.com)
- Writer And Photographer Alina Oswald Publishes Journeys Through Darkness A Biography Of A Legally-blind Photographer (fineartamerica.com)
- 365 ONE: day 162…Duel on the Subway (zoeanastassiou.wordpress.com)
- Legally Blind Triathlete Sues Over Being Required To Wear Blackout Glasses During Race (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Madison Social Security Disability Attorney (socialsecurityhome.com)
- Case of Chen Guangcheng, blind legal activist, raises question of who really runs China (sacbee.com)
- The Future of the Subway Payphone… (nymuse.typepad.com)
- Blindness (socialsecurityhome.com)
- Musings: What Time Is It? (oyiabrown.com)
- Musings: What Time Is It? (eof737.wordpress.com)
- Gina Hill teaches Rotarians to see vision problems (dailyamericannews.com)
- New York Attorney Sanford Rubenstein Obtains $ 17.9M Settlement for Tabitha Mullings in “Quadruple Amputee and Legally Blind” Law Suit Settlement (prweb.com)