Arthur says that the best thing about being blind is that you never have to pay for tube fares. You just ask for assistance at the station and then fake how bad your English is and claim not to understand anything and eventually it’s just easier for the tube staff to put you on a train.
Arthur has coincidentally started busking outside one of the offices I work in, and I see him three days a week as I leave. For the first couple of days, I said hi to him.
“Arthur!” I would say. “It’s Paul, Dave’s friend!” I would feel pleased with myself for being so polite and friendly and also because people passing see me making conversation with a blind Polish busker and must think I’m a caring person.
He obviously has to stop his busking to talk to me, and even though he is very polite, I start to wonder if he secretly hates it and just thinks “Oh great, I’m losing money for every second this guy is talking to me.”
Today I decided not to talk to him as I pass him. I spend several minutes in the lobby, debating if he would have any way of telling if it was me walking past. Could he smell me? I know blind people have heightened senses. And then I realise he might miss me saying hello because I’ve already set a precedent by doing it every day. He might get offended at me snubbing him on a daily basis. Perhaps I could tell him I’d lost that job? But that would demand a whole new inventory of lies.
I walk out of the lobby and approach him.
“Hi Arthur it’s Paul I can’t stop I’m late for an appointment bye!” I garble.
Jesus, I think. I can’t do this every day.