All these stories have been told with the permission of the people they happened to.
When I was in high school, I worked as a cashier at a local grocery store.
One weekend, at the very end of a ten-hour shift, I was utterly exhausted and partially brain dead.
A woman came through buying diapers and baby formula, and as we chatted she confided in me that she had a newborn at home.
I, in my brain-dead state, took one look at her still-heavy-with-baby-weight frame and popped off with,
"Oh, and another one on the way!"
*Hides face in mortal humiliation*
Unfortunately it didn't click until AFTER the words were out of my mouth. I spent the rest of the weekend praying I would never see her again.
This happened to me back in 1962:
My parents had been invited to a wedding, and I was about 4. They wen;t shopping for a wedding present -- a silver teapot, as I recall -- in Birk's, at that time Canada's leading jeweller and a bastion of the old Montreal Anglo Elite.
Anyway, the clerk asked if he could help them, and my Dad said they needed a wedding present. At the top of my lungs, in a totally shocked child's voice, I asked "Are you and Mommy getting married, Daddy?"
My son loves planes, well any vehicles, really, but planes are cool because they actually leave the ground. He's been flying here and there since he was 7 months old, but this one time, it had been awhile since his last trip.
I was 6 months pregnant and taking my toddler son with me to visit Grandma and Grandpa. As we were taking off, he was excitedly looking out the window. All of a sudden, he yells out "No engine, No engine! Crash!"
As you can imagine, I hastily tried to point out the engines to him and calm him down, as other passengers started looking out their own windows to make sure the engine was there. I blushed as the flight attendant came by to see if I needed any help.
As a young child, I called the phone company for information about the name of the dog aboard a Russian satellite.
The phone company advertised they had an information line which gave customers access to worldwide information on everything.
Somehow I thought the phone company was a subsidiary of the encyclopedia/some sort of possible information company.
Of course I later realized they were only in the phone business and if I stayed on the line too long, they might try to sell me some yellow phone book page advertising for a fee.
I once called the operator to let her know our next door neighbor's dog had given birth to puppies ... she didn't seem too interested, for some reason ...
There's a town where there's a famous horse race once a year, one the Queen and other members of the royal family go to watch. Afterwards, they drive slowly out of the town, and people come out to wave to them. More so in the past. A former teacher told me that years ago, she worked at a school on the Queen's route out of the town, and she knew the Queen would be travelling past there a couple of hours after the race, because she always did. It was held on a schoolday in those days.
On the day of the race, she told her class of little children that if they came back to where the school was a couple of hours after school had finished with their parents, and looked out for a black car travelling slowly with flowers on it, it would be the queen, and they could cheer as she went past.
At breaktime, she went into the staffroom, And the teachers in there heard a great cheering and yelling from outside. They went to see what was going on, and they saw all the children near the school railings, loudly cheering and waving while a hearse was going by.
The headmistress said, "Well, at least he got a good send-off."
[This group was held over the telephone via a teleconferencing facility, that meant that several people could talk to each other over the phone at the same time.]
I was doing a telephone group and on the last session of it we all had to describe ourselves and see if we were as we imagined each other would be. Anyway after I had described myself one of the other members of the group said that she had thought that I would be really short and I made a very stupid comment about me not being an oompa loompa. The next girl to describe herself began "I have brown hair and am 4 foot tall".
I was very embarrassed and couldnt say anything, thankfully she never mentioned it and not surprisingly we never kept in contact!
He went busking in Paris for a while when he was younger, playing the clarinet. One day, he met a woman who said she was a jazz musician who played the piano. In the evening, they went into a jazz club, and there were instruments there that people could use to entertain the people there if they wanted. They decided to play a series of duets, with her on the piano and him on the clarinet.
The club was full when they started, but an hour or more later, it was so empty that the owners decided to lock up for the night.
He was walking by a bus stop many years ago, having newly arrived in the country, and he banged into something. He apologised, saying, "Excuse me madam", and people at the bus stop started laughing.
One of them told him he'd bumped into a tall plastic rubbish bag.
My most embarrassing moment was last winter on a very cold day, I was going out shopping so I took my woolly hat from the draw and put it on and then my gloves but could only find one glove, and so assuming I had lost one I went out wearing only one, luckily it was the left hand the one holding on to my guide dogs harness, so I could keep my bare hand in my pocket and so I caught the bus to town did some shopping and caught the bus home, on the way from the bus stop I called in to the vets and as I went in the door I distinctly heard a giggle and one of the receptionist said I hope you dont mind me saying Mr Simpson, there is a glove on your head, it seems as the velcro on my glove had firmly attached itself to my hat and I had been walking about looking like a chicken all morning, and nobody said but I bet they had a good laugh.
[She was likely to have been posting them using software with a synthesised voice that audibly reads what it says on the screen, invented so blind people can use the computer.]
As my guide dog [Shadow] and I stood in line at the checkout of the River City Market at CSUS, I asked the cashier what I considered a simple question.
"Where are the napkins please?"
Her response was hurried, but sincere, "over there."
Emerging from the light rail for the first time, I managed to catch the attention of a passer-by. "Please sir, can you tell me where I might catch bus 63?"
A kind voice offered a pleasant response before disappearing into the cacophony of the early afternoon, 'You can catch it, 'Over there.'"
So many things reside over there -- napkins, bus stops, pencils, pens, clothing racks, department stores and even my shoes! A never ending supply of important and indispensable items and locales all reside in this place which is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
I stand in perplexed silence after learning that something is over there. It is a place I have never been and have no hope of finding on my own.
My guide dog is quite skilled in finding chairs, stairs, elevators, escalators, helping me cross streets, and can even find me the Diet Pepsi display at Food Town; however, when I tell her to find "over there" her little bottom hits the floor and a small whimper tells me that she is as confused as I.
We will not be going "over there" today. Over there has caused me abit of vexation, a lot of confusion and, on occasion, made my heart race.
I have discovered that "over there" can be a dangerous place. One day, while crossing a street, I heard a driver's irritated voice shout out a warning of a truck bearing down on me from over there. Shadow artfully dodged the oncoming vehicle and pulled me to the safety of the curb.
Our hearts were both racing as we took a few moments to compose ourselves.
Close encounters with over there can be frightening experiences. Although many blind people have wondered as to the exact location of, "over there," few have dared to venture forth in an actual exploration of the mysterious place.
One day, while standing in line at the supermarket, I asked the clerk where I might find the aspirin. With a cheery smile in her voice, she informed me that the aspirin was located, "over there."
With a weary sigh, I decided that I would take the extra step that would unravel the mystery, which had vexed my compatriots since the beginning of time.
Taking a deep breath, and attempting to look nonchalant, I smiled at the clerk, "Where," I asked, "is over there?"
I imagined the girl's shocked expression. I felt her sharing condescending and concerned looks with her fellows in the store. The silence grew palpable as they mulled the possibility of allowing a blind person access to the forbidden land. She had no choice; she would have to tell me how to find "over there!"
I had won! Exhilaration swept through me as I waited in breathless anticipation. A victorious smile crept to my lips, my hand tightened on the handle of Shadow's harness, we would soon be going over there!
The clerk's voice reeked with resignation as the decision was made. "That way," she said.