Mouth in gear, Brain in Neutral - Barry Hill

Sometimes the public just don’t think what they are saying to anevidently blind man.  


I was walking down to town a few days ago when a man with a voice like a cement mixer said, Watch out.  We’ve got a decon unit.”  I wasn’t sure if it was a threat or a warning.  I was ready to give him my wallet!  Just a hint more menace in his voice and I’d have been prepared to give him my first born.


For readers as bemused as me, I discovered that a decon unit is short for decontamination unit.  They use a mobile one for something at the factory.  Nope, they don’t refine plutonium or manufacture some new toxin that will wipe out a third of the population for a psychotic cat-stroking billionaire, although that guy sounded like he would be one of the enforcers.  They make sweets at this factory.  


I came across this decon unit a couple of years ago and got chatting with one of the guys installing it. He told me that they are posh showers for cleaners to change into super-hygienicsuits to get in and clean the places that need to be super-hygienic.  How they get from the decon unit to the place they need to clean, I don’t know.


Right, bear with me on this next one.  Wait for the punch-line.  It’ll floor ya.


I recently went shopping to a stores better class of food emporium (A kick-back for the plug would be nice, M&S).  Nope, I’m not loaded.  I went for the excellent £10 meal deal (Vouchers will do).  The process I go through is to first loiter around the tills hoping that staff are not so distracted with their excellent customer service (Am I milking that plug too much?) to notice me looking lost and forlorn.  When that fails, I accostanyone unfortunate enough to come within polite calling distance and ask if they can help me find some staff.  Somewhere down the line, a bell is rang and the on-call supervisor works out who deserves to take the blind man shopping, although I’m not sure if that’s as a punishment or reward.  On this occasion, a pretty young girl was given the punishment/reward.  How do I know she was pretty?  A lovely elderly lady said so when she came.  She must have been remarkably pretty.  Still, pretty doesn’t cut it much with a blind man.  I want efficient and friendly.  She was all three.  If my son wasn’t already engaged, I’d have been playing cupid.


We did my shopping and got on like father and daughter-in-law.  The grand-kids were going to be beautiful.  She helped me pack.  Well, when I say helped, I really mean that I offered as much help in this process as I do when me and my dad are free-running my guide dog and he needs picking up after.  The dog, not my dad…. Yet.  Yup, I just passed over the bag.


Throughout the shopping, she was considerate about my blindness whilst being totally natural about it.  Superb.  After packing my bags and guiding me safely to the main doors, she took me just outside.  This is where she fell.  She passed me my bags and said, “Where are you parked?”


I wish this next one was me, but I can’t take the credit.  You know when you are bad-mouthed by someone and all you can think of as a sharp retort in the moment is, “How dare you” if you’re middle classed or, “Fuck off” if you’re not middle class; then later, sometimes much later, you come up with the perfect retort?  Well, a blind guy I know and admire nailed it there and then.  Let me tell you what happened.


going to the surgery a while ago, my friend turned a corner to be on the end of a loud shout: 

"Watch out you stupid bastard, can't you see there are kegs all over the pavement?" 

"No," retorted my friend, "what do you think this white stick is? Brighton rock?"


I really must think of some witty retort that I can just pull out of the bag.  Idea’s on a postcard to….



Click on the image to view the larger version.