Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blind sight is twenty twenty

A blind man walks into the restaurant. No no this isn't the beginning of a bad joke. Seriously, today a blind man walked into the restaurant. I would LIKE to say that I didn't know he was blind. I would LIKE to say that he was so good at covering up his handicap that I could hardly tell. That would make me feel a tad bit better.

Truth is he DID impress the hell out of me with how well he got along in spite of his blindness but I still saw the walking cane with the red stripe on the end soon after he came in so I can't use that as an excuse. So let's examine the various ways that I managed to screw THIS up shall we?

Door chimes.

Me:"good evening sir, welcome to Biffy's, have a seat anywhere you'd like."

Nothing more than the casual greeting I utter 400 times a day, it is just a reflex. At this point, I actually NOTICE the cane and feel just a wee bit like an idiot. Ooops.
Screw up count=1

I run over to the door, carrying a menu which I have grabbed from the hostess stand(again, just a reflex) and escort him to a seat. Halfway there I realize A)we don't have a braille menu and B)I have a normal menu in my hand, pretty much useless to a blind man.

Screw up count=2 or 3 even.

At this point, I have a quick conversation in my head.

Voice 1: "ditch the menu fool, what is he going to do with it?"

voice 2: "shit! You are right."

V1: "wait!" (menu already falling in slow motion towards the table i just threw it on)

V1: "You can't toss the menu, he will hear it, know you tried to bring a normal menu and then how stupid will you feel?"

I believe at this point People in Iowa began calling various news stations to report a loud bang. Gunshots or terrorism was the immediate thought but it turns out to only have been an idiot in Florida dropping a menu on the table.

V2: "Now you tell me! shit!"

Man: "yeah, I won't be needing the menu, he says with a little laugh, but thanks."

current screw up count=4

Determined to recover, I take his arm and lead him to the table close to the door. "here you go sir, the table is just to the left." He turns a bit to his left. This is probably as good a time as any to point out that the table is on MY left as I am now facing him. In the Army in basic training one of the commands while marching would be for the whole platoon to 'turn left'. Invariably, one idiot would turn right at this command. The punishment for this mistake was the drill sergeant would yell out "Your OTHER left!" to the offender and often force them to carry a brick in his left hand all day, to remind him which was his left. In the 15 years since then, this has become one of my little sayings that I enjoy. If I tell someone something is on the left and they look right, "your other left" I will say with a laugh patting myself on the back for my wit.

Karma, she is an evil bitch sometimes my friends.....

Tapping his cane back and forth and finding nothing but air he turns to me and says, "ahh my other left." "I ,,,,I'm ,,,,,I'm sorry," I stammer getting him turned back to his seat. "It is on MY left your right."

I have often said that my life is like an episode of Seinfeld. By now,I am reminded of the episode where Jerry has the hots for the girl who turns out to be an Indian and keeps accidentally screwing up and offending her.

When I go back in a bit to check on how his meal is going we get to talking a bit. He asks me about several employees and how they have been doing. He asks about the owner and how some of the things she was going through a while back turned out. It becomes clear that in spite of being the first time I have seen him, he had been a 'regular' at some point and time.

"I am BD" I say, extending my hand. "It has been great talking to you let me know if there is anything else I can help you with."

My hand goes unshook. Damn it, these reflexes are killing me tonight.

V1: (laughing) He is BLIND you freaking moron he can't see your outstretched hand!

I put my hand down, looking around to see if anyone else has noticed my stupidity, or the 42 shades of red I feel my face turning.

V2: "groaaaan, I give up."

Screw up count 37.

When he gets up to leave I escort him to the door. I am quite glad to have met him but glad it is over at the same time.

"Thanks for coming back in" I say showing him to the cab.

V1: "good, good no harm there FINALLY we are getting somewhere!"

In hindsight I think had I only continued with "have a good night" or any of the other reflexive comments I give guests as they are leaving the screw up count could have ended at 37.

Even if I had only continued with the ever reflexive "come back and see us" comment the screw up count could have stopped at 72.

But oh no, not me, I start OFF saying just that, realize half way through what I am saying and am not really sure what came out. I think it was

Come back and seEEEE ........ahhhh mother F**&@*R!!!!!!!!

screw up count 4,234,743.



Sebastien said...

Awww. But you were nice, that's what counts! I did something similar years ago with a blind person, I can't remember what I said, and I didn't realize they were blind, ah I felt soooo bad.

Life really is like Seinfeld. My favorite is George, he screws up every situation.

Ariel said...

Oh dear. That ranks up with my "You aren't allowed to bring dogs in here, sir, can't you see the sign?"

I still resist the urge to hit myself hard between the eyes and go "dooooooooooooh".

Michael Thomas said...

I.f.a.r.t. and might get a comment in later.

mist1 said...

I have an infatuation with blindness. I always have. I have blind friends. When I'm with them, sometimes, I pretend to be blind. I know G*d will avenge this. It's cool. I know braille; I learned when I was a kid.

Killer said...

I'm blind, so I understand what just happened. My computer is in braille.

speedwobble said...

yeah, I have chronic foot-in-mouth disease, myself. I'm not going to tell my blind guy story in your blog. It's not G-rated. (just gave me a great idea for a post, though...)

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I R.E.A.L.;>

christine said...

Ugh lol. Reminds me of the time I asked my blind friend, while on an outrigger in the middle of the sea to pass my towel which was on a pile of towels next to him. He asked which one was mine, and I said the blue striped one. I bit my lip til it bled as soon as that came out of my mouth! lol But he was so nice about it, he burst out laughing and made fun of ME.

Hey,you weren't a jerk so nothing to worry about. It was all unintentional right? :) You're much too nice to be rude/mean to anyone must less a blind man.

heather said...

try not to worry about it, chances are he's had more than one run in with people suffering from hoof in mouth. the next time you see him will be better i'm sure.

briliantdonkey said...

Sebastian: Yes I was nice about it so that is something I suppose.

Christine:I am pretty sure I heard him laughing as the cab pulled away.Wow the one with the blue stripe? lol

Heather:"the next time you see him will be better i'm sure." Sounds like something I would have said to him and then been like 'dooooh'.

Speedwobble: No need for g ratings here, but look forward to your post.

Mist: Only you

Killer: Only you and mist lol

Ariel: could have been worse as I told myself afterwards....."at least you didn't ask him if he saw the super bowl."


Faz the Cat said...

Oh well, at least you tried. Maybe that day you were a bit more donkey than brilliant (it happens to us all). FAZ

alyndabear said...

Bless your cotton socks, BD, you poor dear! No doubt the guy has been entitled to a crapload of strange experiences when he's out and about, and yours were completely innocent in nature. :) The whole "your left" part had me giggling, though.

Bice said...

That's hilarious. BTW, you're going to hell. :)

Bice is back baby!

The Sarcasticynic said...

Trust me - the visual impaired have seen it all. They look out for the poor shmucks like you and me to ease the strain on dealing with their impairments. Your frazzled attempts to work with them do not make you seem less of a person in their eyes.

Chris said...

I am fortunate to work with individuals who have developmental disabilities and many of them have other disabilities (sight, hearing, etc) too, so I have gotten used to that "nervousness" of trying NOT to screw up.

Just know that I am sure that he got a chuckle out of it all.

restaurant gal said...

I remember when one of my best hosts was taking FOREVER to get back to the podium. Totally unlike her. Finally, when it was taking longer than too long, I got a little worried. I went back to the dining room, where I knew she'd seated her most recent table, only to see her reading the third of three sections of our menu to the two guests. When she came back she told me, much to my surprise, the guests were almost completely blind, but could manage the big stuff--getting to the table. "But neither could see the menu type, so I read it to them." I miss working with that host.