Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blind Date

Yesterday I had a date. A blind date. I'm not speaking figuratively; my date, K, is blind and has been since birth. I've known K for a few months (through my job) but never really thought of him beyond work. Last week I found out from a mutual acquaintance that he is "interested in me". The next day he called me at work and asked me out. When I asked what day and time, he said Saturday at eight. I thought, eight is a little late for a date, but okay, and I said okay. Then he said something to made me realize he might mean eight A.M. so I clarified the time and he confirmed that it was eight in the morning. I wondered what we would be doing that early in the morning, but I had already said okay, so I didn't say anything. Quite honestly, I wondered what we would be doing anyway; I've never known a blind person.

I arrived at K's apartment right on time and knocked. No one came to the door. I stood there, knocking every so often, for about 10 minutes. Those ten minutes seemed to last much, much longer. It was so awkward!! I finally left and treated myself to breakfast at IHOP - I was already up and ready, so why not? I didn't feel bitter about being "stood up"; I figured he probably had just slept in or maybe he didn't make it home from Salt Lake the night before. After breakfast I went home, climbed into bed (I haven't been getting much sleep lately), and read. A bit after 10am my roommate peeked in, after knocking, and asked if I had gone to K's. I told her what had happened and she told me that K had called her cell phone (it would take too long to tell why he called her phone, so I'm not going to) and had asked her to call him with my phone number. Instead, I entered his phone number into my cell, thanked my roommate, and went back to reading. I only had a few pages left of a really long book, and I really wanted to finish it. I called K a little before 11am and left a message. Shortly after he called back. I explained what had happened, he apologized and surmized that he had probably been in the shower, and I apologized that he had thought I had stood him up. We ended up talking for over an hour. He is really easy to talk to. After awhile he asked if I wanted to go to lunch and I said yes. I drove to his apartment once again and we went to lunch. After lunch we walked from his apartment to the college campus and I helped him navigate from one class to another. One route was especially challenging so we went over it a few times. It was hot, so we stopped a few times to rest and cool down. During those times we talked and talked. Really, we had the most interesting conversations! You all know how much I enjoy talking! Finally, we went back to his apartment and he asked if I would mind running him to the store. We went to Smith's and picked up the couple items he needed, then returned to his apartment. By this time it was just before 6pm. He asked what my plans for the evening were, implying that he wanted me to stay longer, but I was tired and just wanted to go home and rest and hang out with my friends. He asked me out for Tuesday night, but I already had plans, so we tentatively set Wednesday night as the next time to see each other, then I left.

I've got to say that this had to be the most interesting date I've ever had. Guiding him around was challenging but rewarding. When we first left his apartment to go to lunch, there was a moment when he needed to turn into the parking lot, but he didn't. I didn't know what to do! Was I suppose to say something or would he get offended? I ended up telling him he needed to turn right, then took his arm to lead him to the car. It felt so awkward, and I didn't want it to be that way the whole day, so I worked up some courage and told him that I had no experience with blind people and didn't know the proper etiquette. He was very gracious and said I had done just fine. Throughout the day I felt very comfortable about asking him questions about being blind and what I should do to help him. As we were going back to his apartment from the campus, he said that I had done really well and that I should consider being trained as a Guide for the Blind. I felt pleased that I had been helpful. Really, it had been very interesting trying to show him with my words, his walking stick, and the surrounding landscape how to get to his classes. There were times I felt quite ingenious; other times it was stressful trying to come up with a way for him to know what direction/sidewalk/turn he needed to take. He told me of training in Lousiana and the "tricks" he used to help him. One example: he uses the sun to tell which direction he's going. One time he turned the right way without my help and I asked how he knew to do so. He said that he knew he had to go north and he could feel the sun to the west, so he turned accordingly. I was amazed at his courage and his good cheer. He never became frustrated, even when I felt so for him.

I had a good time. K seems like a very good man, and I'm not opposed to getting to know him better. He openly admitted to thinking that I'm someone he could see being in a relationship with. It surprised me, since I feel like we hardly know each other, so I asked him what made him think that. He was very complimentary. He worried about scaring me away, but I assured him he hadn't. In the spirit of complete honesty, though, I told him that I'm not really looking for a relationship. Not that one is impossible, just that it isn't at the top of my priorities right now. I explained that I also have serious commitment phobias and trust issues. I jokingly asked if I had scared him off. He very seriously said no. It made me smile. After that moment he would occassionally allude to us seeing more of each other.

So, I had a date! It's always nice to say that my last date was recent, instead of months ago. And, if nothing else, K could end up being a new friend. All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely. Though there were a couple awkward moments, there weren't any bad moments and a lot of really nice moments. What more could you ask for in a date?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I am beginning to realize an important truth:

Just because something is "right" doesn't mean it will be easy.

It doesn't seem fair, but there it is.

After much soul searching, I finally chose my next great adventure. Then I opened the road map for the journey and discovered the way is fraught with hurdles. detours, and bad weather. I guess I expected heaven to pave a path of gold, lined with lilacs and lilies, that led straight to my destination.

Turns out the road to getting a graduate degree in economics isn't going to be a walk in the park. I figured that once I had made this decision I would be good to go. Nope. I am now faced with numerous decisions that include where to go for the degree and whether to skip my Master's and go directly to a PhD. I'm learning that the GRE is going to be a challenge no matter how hard I study. It's designed to be so. The most daunting task ahead is telling my boss that I'm leaving. SUU doesn't offer what I want, so I'm definitely moving on. He doesn't know yet. He keeps making comments like "Someday this will all be yours" that make me want to cry.

Many weeks ago I read a speech Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) gave to the 2005 Stanford graduates. It was titled "You've Got to Find What You Love". He told three stories of how things initially appeared to be going the wrong way but they ended up being for the best. They brought about situations that were very beneficial but that wouldn't have ever happened without the "wrong things". For example, he was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded. It was embarrassing for him. Eventually he decided he really loved what he did, so he founded Pixar. During this time he also met his wife. Pixar was bought by Apple and Steve once again became CEO of Apple. Getting fired (a hard time) led to many opportunities.

I love economics. Though I'm not sure what I plan to do with it, I know I want to further my education in economics. The next step is clear and I'm going to take it, despite the difficulties. I ask myself, what opportunties are lying behind all those hurdles and along those detours? What will grow because of the "bad" weather? I have to trust that the path I see in front of me will get me where I need to go.