Saturday, November 2, 2019

Still Life with Robin Becomes Still Life with Olivia

by Peggy Robin

Today’s “Still Life with Robin” column should be retitled, “Still Life with Olivia,” as I’m turning this space over to Olivia Norman, a Cleveland Park resident, longtime Listserv member and occasional poster, and someone who has been blind from birth, and also has asthma. Olivia sometimes posts on Facebook about her everyday encounters with people who may be considerate or helpful, or at least are trying to be helpful but don’t know what to do. And then there are those encounters with people who just aren’t trying hard enough. This story has two out of three.

Facebook intro: Olivia Norman is  feeling drained at Walgreens (3524 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington).

While waiting in line for prescriptions:

Woman: I’ll pray for Jesus to restore your sight.

Me: Thank you, but I have plastic eyes so that’s a little difficult. If you want to pray for something constructive, you can pray that they find a cure for my asthma which keeps me coming back for this plethora of medications every month so I can stay alive.

Woman: Don’t you want a cure for your blindness?

I was momentarily speechless. Then this guy behind me said: If you feel the need to pray for her I think she made it pretty clear how to do that. If not why don’t you just leave her alone?

I thanked the guy profusely for standing up for me and went about my day. We walked out together and he told me he could tell how awkward and uncomfortable I felt and that he just wanted to step in when I was at a loss for words. He said he hoped he hadn’t violated my boundaries. And I said not at all, and that we need more people in this world who aren’t afraid to stand up and call things out when they need to. So I guess the lesson is some of the public is ridiculous, and some are those allies that help when you need them. I saw both in the span of a minute today.

Now, I’m going to make some tea and love on my dog, I’m done with people for the day.

Thanks to Olivia Norman for permission to repost this story on “Still Life with Robin,” which is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

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