By Maggie Pieper
I used to be a band kid; I played just fine, but I did not have the ear that makes people great musicians. My brother can hear a song and then almost immediately play the same melody on the piano; my parents pride themselves in saying they passed down musical genes, but I just did not want to practice and play.
Instead of spending my time in music lessons, I ended up at working at Sacks Thrift Avenue after school. During the last shift on the register I have seen the same faces recurrently checking to see what steals have recently come in. But occasionally someone comes in who is different than other customers.
I did not know her name and I did not speak to her except for telling her the total price of her purchase, but when she came in I noticed the way she moved and touched things, and I figured out what made her different: she was blind. She was middle-aged with corkscrew hair and sinking eyelids that cast shadows over her pupils. She was accompanied by another woman who described colors and patterns of miscellaneous items and then handed them to her for the inspection of texture.
After becoming distracted from what the pair was doing, I started to hear a short, slight ringing noise; the two women I had been observing were flicking all of the glasses in the houseware section. I did not understand the reason; I guessed it was a technique to tell the quality of the glass. After the wind chime-like sound filled the store, I heard the blind woman say, “There are a lot of C’s today, and only a few B flats and A’s.” The women were flicking the glasses and measuring the pitch of the ring. She had a musical ear.
School is full of whiners. Everyone complains about their classes, their teachers, their homework, but in the world outside of school the people that have real reason to complain are the ones that keep silent and move forward. The blind woman accepted her condition and learned how to adapt. Even as she bumped into clothing racks and tried to make her way around the store, she smiled; instead of complaining about how awful her situation was, she embraced the change.
School can cause people to be edgy and tense, but after a while, students will graduate, lives will move on, and the whining will come to an end.