The Non-existent Door
A sneak peak into my new book, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Vision Loss.
When I entered the optometrist office, I tucked my cane under one arm. Then I tried to push the door open but my fingertips met only air. Where is that stupid handle? I know it’s around here somewhere!
I could feel the eyes of the receptionist on me. I looked up and yes, as I figured, there she was, watching me. Or rather, my hands. Oh my gosh, she thinks I’m going to rip off the office somehow! She probably thinks I’m going to pocket … what? Maybe swipe a pair of glasses! If I could only find the handle, then I could get through the door and tell her I have no intention of doing anything of the kind. I’m no thief!
When I looked up again, I could plainly see the woman still staring–ready to catch me in the act, I’m sure. Her face was too blurry to read her expression but the way she sat forward, it looked like I was going to be guilty until proven innocent.
I held up both hands, palms directed her way to show I’d never dream of stealing anything. I smiled for extra measure.
Whoops! There went my cane.
I dropped my hands and bent over to pick it up. The woman’s eyes traveled to my cane. “May I help you?” she said kindly.
Her voice sounded close and … not on the other side of a door. A sneaky suspicion hit me and I took a stab in the dark. “There isn’t another door, is there?”
She shook her head. “No honey, there’s only one door into the office. And you’ve gone through it.”
I groaned. Not only did I totally jump to conclusions, I was pushing a non-existent door!
Busying myself with my cane, I swept it forward. The tip came up against something hard. “I’m at the front desk, aren’t I?” Again, I was caught off guard.
“Yes, you are.”
Great. Not exactly the impression I wanted to begin today’s sales pitch with.
The phone rang at that moment. “I’m the receptionist,” the clerk added unnecessarily and turned to take the call.
Smoothing the cover of my book with my hand, I planned my spiel in my head and waited. The call was actually a good thing because it gave my eyes time to adjust to the interior lighting and objects, including the woman, came into better focus. “…Thursday at 2:20. I’ve got you down.”
I heard the click of the receiver and cleared my throat. Let’s start over.
I introduced myself and explained I was the author of the book I was holding. “Is the low vision specialist here today?”
“She’s with a patient now.”
I wet my lips. Who knew how long that would be? I had someone with limited time waiting for me in the car.
“Do you know how long…”
I launched into a quick Plan B. “How about if I leave my book with you to give to the …” I paused, unsure if I should refer to her as the optometrist, the optician or the ophthalmologist. “… specialist? I’ll write a note explaining the purpose of my visit.”
The receptionist handed me a paper and pen.
Did she think it odd that I pushed handles on doors that didn’t exit but could see to write a note even though I used a cane?
RP had so many inconsistencies. What did she expect? Should I write it slowly and painstakingly? Or just write it?
I hate to admit it but every once in awhile, I put on a bit, as if I needed to somehow prove I was indeed vision-impaired.
Oh brother. I could see the paper just fine.
I wrote my message, being sure to leave my contact information in it. Perhaps the good doctor would call this very afternoon to say, “Yes, I’d be thrilled to review your book and purchase a copy for my office.” In small towns, people helped each other.
I breathed a silent prayer and gave the woman my penned message.
“The door is straight ahead about six feet. The handle is on the left.”
“Got it!” I turned and walked across the office. This time when I pushed, my hand met with a solid handle and a real door swung open. I walked out, my head high and my cane in front.
As I swept my cane back and forth to reach my friend’s car, a revelation came to me. No one knows exactly where the doors are. We all have to push until we come up against one that really moves.
What did you like about my excerpt? What did it reveal about vision impairment and loss? Did you smile? Grimace? What a-ha moments have you experienced after embarrassing incidents?