23. Blind and Kind

Philip is 55 and blind. He has been since birth. He says he does not feel he is missing anything, because he cannot imagine sight is like. He can smell a rose, he cannot tell if it is red, white, blue. It does not matter to him; he the beauty of the scent itself.

People sometimes pity on him, but he tells them he a contented man; he does not feel cheated Mother Nature. The doctors never figured out why was born blind.

But his life is not bed of roses. It is difficult for him travel. He cannot drive, of course; he travels bus. At home, he cannot just look out the window to see what the weather is , and then dress appropriately. He can’t look at clock on the wall to see what time is. He uses his Braille watch or a radio for that.

He must always put everything the same spot in his apartment. If he ’t, “I’ll spend forever looking for it,” he laughs.

can look for and look at, but he see. He says strangers often correct themselves when to him. They’ll say, “I see,” meaning “I .” But then they think they’ve been rude, so ’ll correct themselves and say, “I mean, I understand.”

has never seen a good movie or a TV show. He has no idea what a or a full moon looks like. He is musician. He plays the saxophone, but not in band. Four times a week, he travels to Town in Pasadena on the bus in the . He gets off at the bus stop and finds his way across the street to The , a hat store. On the sidewalk in front The Cap is his “spot.”

He unfolds an chair and assembles his sax after taking it of the case. He sits down and starts up. He puts a hat, upside down with in it, on top of the case. “The keeps the hat from blowing away,” he says. “ also lets people know where to put their . I usually spend about four hours here. I’ll from $10 to $30. One evening I made $100. Another evening, someone stole everything. I guess needed it more than I did.”