On the Wing

Flying in the face of widespread left wing extremism!

My Wife Calls it "Shopping"….

Posted by Exile on March 13, 2007

… I call it “standing outside and waiting”.

But if you have to be the one standing outside and waiting in the glorious spring sunshine in the middle of Oxford Street in London, then life takes on a new meaning.
About a quarter of the younger female population had broken into spring mode and I was treated to the beginnings of the annual display of rounded thigh and bulging breast that heralds the coming summer. The younger male section of the population grabbed their sunglasses and behind the protection of seemingly opaque glass enjoyed the show.

London was crowded as usual. The tourists are out early this year. I heard about every language spoken in the run of one afternoon. The eastern bloc, as we used to call it, was well represented. Well heeled Russians, Poles, and what I assumed to be Czechs, Latvians, Estonians and so on. African, Asian, Oriental. All the people of the world in one place. All filing past me in a never ending parade. This was multi-ethnicity gone mad.

One little incident caught me off-guard. I noticed a blind woman in the crowd. Walking with a cane in front of her, feeling the pavement stones, tapping her way forward and following the procession as best she could, she stood out in the crowd. As I watched her an ambulance came up through the busy street and was forced to stop a few feet from her. With its siren screaming, it robbed her of her primary sense of orientation. She could no longer hear the footsteps or her tapping cane. She stood still. The human crocodile that shuffled past her did not. She was being jostled and jogged by those that followed her and I sensed the discomfort that she must be feeling. Seeing that the traffic was not going to move for some time, ambulance or not, I was torn between offering my assistance or risk offending a fiercely independent person with a disability. Finally it became too much for me, and as I set off toward her she did something wonderful. She simply turned round to face the onslaught and held her white cane out in front of her. The marching masses divided. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, she stood now in the middle of the pavement and the crowd moved politely to her left and right and she was able to stand and wait for the ambulance to move off.
After a minute or so, the ambulance was on its way again and normal service was resumed. She resolutely turned round and continued on her way. Crisis averted. I was deeply impressed. For me, a one-off experience. For her, perhaps, routine. It made me think. She never really needed my help.

I returned to the business of “standing outside and waiting”, a wiser man.

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