Movement from the corner of my left eye snaps me out of my trance and before me walking down the little hallway in front of all the checkout stands is an older gentleman with a wonderful tweed jacket and matching hat and a really long red and white candy striped cane. From the quizzical look on his face and the fierce whipping of the cane it is readily apparent that the gentleman is significantly sight challenged. At this point there is still about 4 feet distance between myself and the checkstand as I am still waiting on wine/diaper lady. I notice I have been joined in line by two other patrons waiting their turn with the only checkstand open in the entire store. They have graciously and appropriately taken their stances some distance behind me, not crowding me in any way. Perhaps they are observing the space I have given the wine/diaper lady and are just following suit or perhaps they are just scared of the big bald white guy. Who knows. So Mr Cane keeps advancing toward me with his cane flitting back and forth like a barbershop metronome. I stand perfectly still. I don't know why. I even held my breath. I have no experience with this. I don't know the etiquette. I don't want to offend anyone. I don't want to startle Mr Cane but he keeps advancing on my like a mini tsunami. Maybe he will just pass by. What is his destination. What do I do. I stay frozen.
I am an Oak.
Mr Cane advances, his peppermint rapier sniffing it's path. And then it happens. The cane sweeps left just missing my shoe and I cheer inside as the dilemma has abated and Mr. Cane will at last find his place. Then to my horror I see the cane stop. It completely misses the checkstand and the magazine racks and the drink cooler and the shopping totes and all the other mindless stupid crap that is just laying there like a virus waiting for a host to come and give it life so it can go to your brain and suck up all the common sense and decency you possess. The tip quivers slightly and then the entire length of the stick bows slightly toward the right. I panic. My eyes dart wildly from side to side. Does anyone see this but me? I am an oak. I am an oak. WHACK! A direct hit, full force on my left shin just slightly above my ankle. I am wearing black denim jeans. There is barely a whisper of a sound but Mr Cane's super enhanced hearing and baby-like touch have detected a barrier. No words. No face of recognition. I am an oak. WHACK! Just above the knee this time with a definite, purposeful smite. Mr Cane advance a half step. Still no recognition. No acknowledgement. No words. I am an oak. WHACK! Ouch. Belt high, barely missing the more sensitive organs in the area. I am mortified. What to do? But then the light goes on in Mr Cane's face. He is pleased. His face relaxes. His wrinkles melt away. A slight smile, maybe a smirk, begins to appear in the right corner of his mouth. He stops, pivots very precisely on his right foot and steps straight up to the checkstand.
What! Oh no he didn't. But he did. Mr Cane is now second in line behind wine/diaper lady. This bring sooooooo many more problems. Do I say something? I can't say anything, he's blind. But even blind people need to be courteous too, don't they? I look around. People are staring. The giant elephant in the room is plain for all to see. My mind races. Courtesy. Tragedy. Humility. Finally, my mind finds a solution. I grab the elephant by the ears and I drag that make-believe unspoken behemoth abruptly, swiftly and righteously to the back of the store and I stare a ice cream labels till everyone involved has left the building.
What would you do?