Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Different Kind of Hokey Pokey

This entry isn't really about the Hokey Pokey (though there is a band in the story!) or even a cat. I just gave it this title to remind myself that life is something that needs participation, and the Hokey Pokey is something that most people really get into with their whole body. That's the way I want to live my life. I don't want my vision to hold me back. I want to enjoy myself!


Tonight I tried out a "Church Café.” The band ‘Sellah’ was playing. My friend, Vicki, called to see if I wanted to go. What a coincidence! I’d also read about it on my Facebook page. Did I have energy for a night out!

I expected a rock band scenario singing Jesus music, that it would be dark, but minus the smoke and alcohol that a bar would contain. I envisioned some socializing, which would require some serious listening skills with the music going on. What was I getting myself into?!

My mom worried, “It’s going to be dark. Don’t forget your cane and wear your hearing aids.” I know. It sounds like she’s talking to an elderly aunt, doesn’t it?

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry. I have ‘em both!”

I am just forty-nine and use a blind man’s cane and old lady’s hearing aids. But they enable me to do things I wouldn’t do otherwise!

The café did indeed appear dark. ‘Sellah’ consisted of about ten women singing back-up, four men with various instruments and a lead singer who played the guitar. They belonged to Our Lady of the Peace Church. Pretty tame stuff! But at least it wasn’t blaring loud and I felt at ease. We liked the music anyway. They sang nice praise music as well as some old church hymns.

We got some coffee and pie, then sat down in some fold-up chairs. All the tables were taken. I really needed one to set my coffee and pie down on.

A few minutes later, my friend, Vicki, whispered loudly, “they’ve cleared that table now. Let’s grab it!”


It was a bit awkward with my cane, so I decided to make two trips. First I carried my pie and coffee, then I planned to get my cane, bag and jacket. I was halfway to the table when—BAM! I ran smack into a bearded man! My coffee splashed out of my cup and into the air, on him, on me—wherever. My pie flew to the floor and he stepped right on it. Splat!

It took me one second to react. Hot coffee! Hot! Hot! Hot!

Not again! Didn’t even have my cane to show why this cotton-pickin’ disaster happened. There it lay folded up as nice as you please next to my bag…

I plucked my sparkling black t-shirt away from my belly to save my skin, and before I could sensor my language, a mild curse escaped my lips. Oh! Where did that come from?

The lights came on and the band stopped playing. I kid you not! Was this God's wrath come down upon me?!

That moment felt like forever. It reminded me of when a sudden intercom announces to its shoppers that a lost child is seeking a familiar family member... except I imagined that my single curse word ricocheted around the room and back again. This would be followed by an explanatory voice, 'Lady in black curses in church café. Will the responsible party please pick her up at the front of room.' At this point, my imagination went wild. Every face in the room would turn toward me, including the ten angelic acappella singers and band members, in mid-stance (I’d guess about seventy-five in all).

Aaaagghhhh! I sought for a life-sized cross to hide behind! My imagination alarms me at times.

"Are you okay?” I asked the bearded fellow anxiously. "Did I burn you?"

"Just fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. " Was that echo in my mind? Or was he really four times fine? "Coffee didn't even touch me."

He rubbed his beard, "Let me get you another coffee."

No. No, no, nO, NO coffee! I hate, abolutely HATE coffee! Never drink it! Look what it caused!

"Yes, please." I found myself saying.


"French vanilla," I replied.

I tried to scoop up the mashed pumpkin pie from the floor but someone took the plate from my hand, and sat me down.

Although my eyes never work at the right time, I did notice the bearded man wipe the remnants of pumpkin pie off the smooth black sole of his shoe.

He handed me the coffee. "Oh thank you." The bearded man went back to sit down in his seat.

Vicki jabbed me, "That could be your future partner. It happens all the time!"

I rolled my eyes at her. "Shhhh. Hey Vicki, did the band actually stop back then because of my accident?" I was desperate for reassurance.

"Oh no, not at all. That was the last song of the set." She sounded certain of her facts. I wanted to believe her.

The band started up again. "Oh, there's Steve La John. I think it is, anyway. I haven't seen him in years. But it looks like his picture on Facebook" I shielded my eyes to see better.

"Oh, let's go talk to him!"

"No, no, no, no." I sputtered, terrified of another collision, and bringing more notice (read SHAME) on myself. "I'm not sure if it's him, actually. It's been thirty years."

After the band finished for the night, Vicki took my arm, "C'mon, let's go talk to Steve."

It was him, after all. He stood up and smiled at us.

"You remember Amy, don't you? She was in your class in high school..."

"Oh Amy, is that you? I didn’t see you.”

"Yeah, I kinda blend in with the darkness in my clothes!" Great comeback! I applauded myself.

As Vicki and Steve chatted about a beach they had both visited in Florida, I thought about my situation.

Let’s go back to my hokey pokey analogy, “you-put-your-right-eye-in, and your right-eye-out, you do the hokey pokey and ya shake it all about. That’s what it’s ALL aBOUT!” If I were completely blind, people would know. If I had normal sight, this wouldn’t happen. But as it is, I have one eye in both worlds.

So what can I do? Well, God, help me to simply laugh. This is me, quirks and all. I wanna dance the hokey pokey, and shake it all about! I don't want life to pass me by. I remember something I learned last summer. People who can't see well (or at all) tend to forget that others CAN see them! Maybe that's a good thing, 'cause I don't think I'd be too graceful dancin' the hokey pokey!

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