“There he goes again, being all intoxicated,” said Bailey Fey, shaking his head. “We can’t take him out anywhere without causing a ruckus!”
It was a treacherous obstacle course for Keith Rich just to get to his intended destination: the men’s restroom.
It involved knocking over a stranger’s wine glass (which nearly instigated a brawl), kicking a wet floor sign that sprung up out of nowhere and accidentally walking into the ladies’, which warranted screams of “pervert!”
Visually impaired with retinitis pigmentosa, Rich was adamant about not using his white cane for fear of, ironically, being judged. “My friends don’t know I am legally blind. I’m afraid they won’t accept me for my disability, so I fake it till I make it, and I do pretty darn good!” he said, oblivious but proud. “I mean, what guy doesn’t accidentally walk into the women’s restroom every now and again? Although it’s a shame, it’s not like I can see too clearly anyway.”
His friends, however, think he has a much different problem. “He’s constantly stumbling around and walking into things like fire hydrants. I mean, who does that unless they’ve had one too many? I also never see him drink, so he must be a closeted alcoholic,” said one concerned friend. “Geez, you’d think he was blind if he wasn’t always drunk. Remember he once nearly tripped over a dog leash? Or that day he stepped on that poor dog’s tail?” said another. “It’s time for an intervention,” said Fey resolutely, as the others nodded. “He needs help! It’s time for AA.”
Days later, Fey and the gang invited Rich to a party. “I thought it was a really weird party when people started introducing themselves and saying they were an alcoholic,” said Rich, who doesn’t drink. “When I realized it was an AA meeting, I ran out of there!”
These days, to avoid AA meetings, Rich is finally using his white cane and moving soberly, although wet floor signs are still his archnemesis. He also still has friends. “My buddies actually appreciate my white cane,” said Rich with a grin. “Not only does it help me not look drunk, but it also helps move me to the front of most lines, and I’ve saved myself a lot of bruises and maiming dogs. Who knew there were perks to using a white cane?!”