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Life as an Inigma

Smaller towns are interesting. I lived in Milwaukee for half a month short of eleven years, and in that time I've gotten used to certain things. Fargo has a population of around 90,000 which, although it's not a small number, it's definitely less than Milwaukee. To get to my bank, I leave my building, walk to the end of the block, cross one street, turn and cross another street, and then walk down about half a block until I get to the clinic. Then I follow the clinic around until I get to the bank. Incredibly simple, and convenient. I went there yesterday because I needed to get a check for rent since I recently switched banks and don't have my new checks yet. I did the route on Wednesday evening, so I was pretty sure I knew where to go. As it turned out, I had absolutely no problems. The people in the bank were great, and I got everything done that needed doing. I walked out and started heading back to the street. I noticed while I was walking though that there was a car kind of tracking me as I walked. At one point, the driver rolled down his window and asked me if I needed help. I told him no, that I was okay, but he continued to watch me until I got clear of the clinic building. In Milwaukee, there were a lot of blind people around, and they even had signs posted in certain areas warning drivers that there were blind people in the area. Here though, I guess people aren't used to seeing a blind person walking around on their own. Many times when I go out I feel like I'm on display; like I'm being watched and scrutinized. Somehow, (at least yesterday), it was different. Yes, I was being watched, and the person was obviously amazed that I'd venture out alone, but it just felt different. I can't really explain it.

Then, last night, I'd put my pot pie in the oven and was getting ready for a nice relaxing evening. I used the bathroom and flushed the toilet. After the flush though, I heard the one sound that nobody ever likes to hear ... The sound of water hitting the floor. I kind of went into panic mode for a second, and wasn't sure what to do. I've never had a toilet overflow in an apartment before, and considering that I didn't know anyone, and didn't have numbers to call off the top of my head, I just didn't know what to do. I ran across the hall and knocked on the door of the people across from me. It was a lady and her kids. The lady didn't really speak English, so I was trying to explain the problem, and I didn't think she was getting it. She was talking to one of her kids in, I believe, Spanish, and I had no idea what was going on. It turned out that they were just trying to figure out what to do., One of the kids came over and looked at the mess, which by this time had completely filled my bathroom and had started to get onto my brand new carpet. Then the lady came in and switched off my valve. They also called management for me. Within about 15 minutes, management was there. They cleaned up the water, and gave me a temporary fix for the toilet. They had to come back today to fix it completely, but at least it was useable in the mean time. As I told masterofmusings last night, there was a part of me that wondered if people were thinking that the poor blind lady shouldn't be living alone, but then the other part of me said that this had nothing to do with being blind at all. There was a problem with the toilet, and it could have happened to anyone. What I thought was cool though was that while all this was going on, the lady's daughter, (probably about twelve years old or so), was talking to me; just natural conversation, and she didn't ask any of the usual kid-type questions.

It's a different way of life up here, and I need to really adjust my way of thinking. I still love walking around outside and hearing the relative silence and the peacefulness of everything around me. I really am liking it here, and each day it only seems to get better. There were times when I didn't know if this was going to happen, but I'm so glad that it finally did.