I have been patronised by a pelican twice in the space of a week. “Say no more David, we know exactly what you mean, we’ve all been there”; only I doubt you do know what I mean. You are probably thinking that I am referring to an animal. But no, this is not your everyday story about a condescending Pelican; these tales occurred at a pelican crossing and it was two humans that did the patronising. “Aaah, well that’s much more exciting and much less predictable and commonplace. Pray, do continue”. Thank you. I do miss our little chats by the way.
OK, so now we’ve established that my story is a great deal more exciting than you thought it was going to be, let’s begin. But where to start. “How about the Pelican crossing?” Ah yes.
Imagine if you will in your mind’s eye – I assume that you do have one, and that you’ve done the proper upgrade and everything, otherwise you might feel a little dizzy – that I am standing at a pelican crossing. This is nothing out of the ordinary; I have to cross this crossing everyday too and from work. I am currently standing at the Pelican crossing, waiting for the green man, having already pressed the button – I hope you’re following this OK. I have been waiting for about half a minute; sorry I can’t be more specific than that, I didn’t realise I’d be recounting this incident back to you in a blog so I wasn’t really taking much notice. I was just standing, waiting for the green man. I’d like to think that I looked nonchalant and at ease, like this whole standing-at-a-pelican-crossing-waiting-for-the-green-man thing was no big deal, that it wasn’t phasing me in the slightest. Because it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. But I obviously wasn’t convincing the woman fifty metres or so down the road, on the opposite side, who was now running towards the Pelican crossing shrieking, “Don’t move, don’t worry, it’s all right, I’m coming! It’s OK, I’ll help you, stay there son, I’ll get the button for you”.
“please,”, I thought, “come on, green man. This woman obviously thinks that I don’t know how to operate a Pelican crossing. Beep now and show that just because I’m blind, I am not completely deficient in the comprehension of the basic rudiments of Pelican crossing operation”. That is exactly what I thought, word for word; I was starting to take note now, as I realised that this situation wasn’t your average humdrum pelican crossing incident and that I’d probably write about this in a blog – I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to write something about Pelican crossings since I started this blog, so any excuse would be graciously seized.
But the green man did not answer my prayers; I was starting to doubt his existence – I know, I should have faith, happy are those who have not seen etc. The Pelican crossing did not beep and so I stood there as she ran and shouted at me to be still and be calm and that she would be with me in a few seconds. She then reached the Pelican crossing box at the other side of the road. She pressed the button and shouted across to me “I’ve pressed the button for you, it will beep now, and you can cross”. I prayed once more to the green man that the Pelican crossing wouldn’t beep at that exact moment. At least if she had to stand there and wait a few seconds before it beeped then she might entertain the notion that I might have actually pressed it myself.
Unfortunately, yet again the green man failed to heed my prayer. Well that’s it, I won’t be making any more child sacrifices to him; he’s had it. No sooner had she spoken these words, the beeping commenced and I crossed the road while the woman offered words of encouragement and reassurance. “That’s it son, take your time, you’re doing well, I’m here”.
I reached the other side of the road. I turned to the woman and paused. I wanted to remonstrate with her and explain that I was aware of the basic principle of pelican crossings, and that in fact I had pressed the button awhile ago and was merely waiting for the green man to do his thing. In fact, it is she who seems confused as to how the whole Pelican crossing thing works, as she intimated that the Pelican crossing would beep immediately after she pressed the button, and this is not the case, most times you have to wait a bit. Granted she was correct on this occasion and the green man did beep straight away, but that was just coincidence, unless she have some psychic connection – a special relationship – with the Green Man; I’ve read about the existence of such people, the chosen few, perhaps she’s made more child sacrifices than I have. I wanted to let her know how embarrassing it was for me and how she had obviously just assumed, because I was blind, that I would be unable to operate the pelican crossing by myself. I wanted to rant at her about stereotyping, labelling people with disabilities, making sweeping, ill-founded assumptions etc etc. But in the end I just said thank you and walked off.
The next day on my way home from work I was presented with the opportunity to gain my revenge on such patronising members of society.
I walked up to the Pelican crossing, pressed the button, and waited. You see, I wasn’t lying about knowing how to use a Pelican crossing. As I waited, I could hear the conversation between a man and his child who were at the other side of the road. The little boy was messing around trying to clamber up on to the pelican crossing pole. The father was doing his best to stop him but to no avail. But then the father must have noticed me, and an idea hit him. “Son, look” he said, “you see that man at the other side of the road?”. The boy stopped his clambering. “Yes daddy” he replied. “Well, that man is a blind man”. The father was obviously very pleased with himself, having found a good distraction from the pole. “That means he can’t see”. “wow!” gasped his son. Evidently this fact had impressed him. “Now, we people, you and I, know when to cross because of the green man, but a blind man cannot see the green man”. The little boy made a noise of understanding. “He will wait and listen for the beeping. The blind man will only cross when he hears the beep”.
The father was talking kind of in the style of David Attenborough.
He was discussing me as if I was a fascinating creature, “the blind man” and talking about me crossing a road as if it was some interesting ritual.
“You see now,” he continued, “there are no cars in sight. We could cross the road now because we can see that it is safe. But the blind man will stay until he hears the beep”. “O no he bloody well won’t” I thought. The child made another impressed noise. He was obviously taken by his father’s knowledge. I stepped out into the road and strode purposefully to the other side. When I reached the pavement, I turned to the father and his son and gave a cheery wave, then walked off into the distance.
Behind me I heard the child shouting “Daddy! You were wrong. He crossed before the beep. Look, he’s there. Daddy! You were wrong”.
“Hah, yes little child, your daddy was wrong. He thought he understood the workings of “the blind man”. But he quite clearly didn’t. In fact, he was “the blind man” in this little tale. Let this be a lesson little child. Tell it to your friends at school. Let this parable spread throughout the playground like wildfire. Let it journey through cyberspace, through Facebook and Twitter. May it set the heart’s of a generation ablaze and give life to a more enlightened breed, one which refuses to countenance ignorance, stereotyping, labelling, assumptions, social ills that have held human evolution back by centuries. Let this action create piece, harmony, equality.”
To be honest, I wasn’t thinking any of that, I was still smarting after yesterday’s incident and I simply saw this as sweet revenge. But I am sure that all of the above- peace, harmony, equality, a more excepting society, a new enlightened generation, a glorious utopia – will all be a by-product of my actions. So well done me.
Finally, in other news, I am trying to create a website for myself rather than just a blog, and shortly there will be dedicated pages for The Young’uns Podcast, David Eagle’s Pick and Mix and other projects.
is the web address, so if you’re visiting the old blogger page, the one that’s listed at the top of Google searches for David Eagle, then you should stop doing that and go to davideagle.co.uk
instead, because the old page will be leaving us soon. There are lots of other exciting things happening that I’ll hopefully be able to tell you about really soon.
Thanks for reading.