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Roop Gill

Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Environment › Sustainable Development

A young man sitting on a park bench, listening to music with his seeing cane resting beside him
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I guess the biggest question on my mind is, “What impact should I have on the world?”

Holding his white cane, he strutted his way through the aisle of the bus. With his careful disposition, he successfully manages to find a spot. Fellow commuters, including myself, immediately started to pay attention to the new passenger and his disability. I chalked our quick response up to ‘natural human tendency’, as it’s often referred to as.

While looking at the new passenger from head to toe, I could imagine the onlookers starting to guess and assume what his daily life was like. His backpack provided a hint that he might be a varsity student of some kind. Further, since I had been recently reading a book on racial discrimination and its sustained presence in today’s world, I thought about whether being ethnically profiled was a challenge he faced lately.

But now, I must switch perspectives. Placing myself in his shoes, I wondered if I could have successfully landed a spot in the bus. A spot that empowers me to travel as someone who is sighted. Moving on, I think I would strive to hold on to my cane as hard as possible. The cane stands as my constant companion, while being aware that all eyes stare at me because of this mobility tool. In other words, I think I would consider my cane as my friend. Yes, a friend, who has been my source of identity in this misidentified world.

A few minutes into the ride, I return to my perspective and ask myself, “Should I, as my fellow travellers, keep assuming on the daily affairs of others through my privileged sense of hearing, touch, and smell?” Should I wonder whom the person sitting on my left is texting (maybe it's their parents, partner, or colleague)? Should I wonder what grocery items might be in the bag of the person sitting on my right?

I ponder on these questions for a few seconds but then decide to switch attention to my own daily life and my purpose. For instance, “What should I eat for dinner? What should I read and revise before bed? What time should I call my family?”. I guess the biggest question on my mind is, “What impact should I have on the world?”

As I fathom my conscience, the automated announcer says, “Scott Road at 92 Avenue”. I carefully step out, while thanking and wishing the driver a goodnight, and embark on my solitary journey.


Roop Gill

Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Environment › Sustainable Development

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