Helping a Blind Man See

Paying attention to signs is so relevant to everyday life. It's easy for me to say that because on a spiritual level, I'm in tune with my body and  physically, I am an able-bodied person who has the literal ability to see. I recently attended a meet-up catered to freelancers in Baltimore, and one of the people I met was a graphic designer who's work can be found in children's museums across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S. Up until that event, I never even thought about who actually created these types of directional signs, but ever since our conversation, I've been noticing how signs are (or aren't) placed.

Today, while taking the metro to the city, a blind man entered the train. As he sat down, he used his cane to navigate which seats were empty, and began to tilt his head forward and towards the doors so he could hear where the next stop would be. I watched as he tried to figure out when his stop would be, by assuming he either was counting the stops in his head, or was waiting to listen for the announcement over the intercom system...which never came.

Up until that point, I never noticed that the 15 minutes prior to him stepping on the train, the conductor never made an announcement to let us know which stop we were at or which stop was coming next. I got emotional and frustrated at the same time while being empathetic to the man in front of me. If the particular car we were on was empty, would he have even been able to get to his destination? Why wasn't there an automated announcement telling us which stop we were approaching? Why is this [metro] system so broken?

I thought about why I cared so much - maybe it's because I'm so immersed in being in spaces that are inclusive, I'm more sensitive to those who haven't had a voice. I thought about the irony of how disconnected the transportation system is in Baltimore to the people who actually need the service, and I thought about how can I help.

The man stood up from his seat, moved his cane around and asked "which stop is this?" in which I replied, and he left nodding, right in my direction.

A cabin in the woods

  I spent the weekend with 16 incredibly hilarious and gifted humans playing games, dancing, skiing, and snowboarding. The best part about this group is that most of us had never met each other before this trip. We're all part of a young professionals group in Baltimore (+/- a few significant others), and some of us have been to various happy hours or other events around the city, but never under one roof and all together. What we all have in common is our spontaneity and openness to not only meeting new people but having a damn good time.

We couldn't have predicted the depth of what transpired over this weekend - the inside jokes, the cooking skills some of us have, the pure joy and release that happens when we step outside our "9-5." My stomach still hurts from laughing so much, and what happens at the cabin, stays in the cabin. However, let this be your quarterly reminder to grab some friends and head out of town for a weekend.

It'll be good for your soul.

on collaboration

I've always been inspired by people's stories. When I first started using ride-sharing services like Uber, I was intrigued by learning about my drivers and it felt as if every single person that chauffeured me to my destination had something incredible to share. I remember telling a friend that I wanted to work for Uber, but only to write about the drivers and share it with the world, but that idea was quickly shot down. Seems as if everyone had that idea. My point is that I honestly feel that I have met some fascinating people on the planet, just in my everyday occurrences.  As much as I don't necessarily enjoy small talk, I often get a sense that someone has an interesting story just by looking at them. One example is from last spring. I was walking my usual trail at a park near my house, I saw a black man swimming in the park lake in a full-on scuba outfit with a camera in hand, underwater.

I was walking my usual trail at a park near my house, I saw a black man swimming in the park lake in a full-on scuba outfit with a camera in hand, underwater. That doesn't happen everyday - at least to me. I started to walk the trail but turned around because I wanted to find out who this guy was. Turns out he's a local Baltimore photographer and was taking some initial shots for a future photoshoot. We exchanged numbers and are still friends to this day.

Fast forward to present day,  I've been working on a couple projects related to collaboration and amplifying the work of people who look like me. Speaking to friends, writing for various publications and throwing out ideas to my trusted circle, people like Kyle, Karlene, and Dorien (pictured below) have come into my life at the right time. Each of their stories is inspiring, impactful and I'm grateful that people like them exist in this world. We recently met to go over ideas for an upcoming event, I'm still in awe from how our visions have turned into something tangible.