I noticed him as I pushed by, he noticed me and nodded a disabled old guy to disabled old guy kind of greeting. I also noticed right away that he had a really, really unusual cane. It was one of those with three prongs on the bottom, but it also had a strong piece of white plastic that stuck out about a foot from one of the three legs. Whatever it was for, cool, he had it.
I parked where I normally do while Joe went to get the car. He passed me again, and again, smiled. Two women at the bench were talking about the cane and the white plastic that stuck out from it. They'd never seen it before and were desperately curious about it. "I'm going to ask him," said one of the women who stood up and started. I asked her to maybe consider just leaving him alone. It's none of her business about the mobility device that he uses and it's an intrusive question. She flared up and me and said that she was sure he wouldn't mind.
He walked very slowly and was now just at the door. I noticed that when he got to the door, he stopped and very carefully placed his cane and stepped over the small bump separating inside from the outside. She came at him, and startled him. He used the cane to stop himself from falling. She asked about the plastic and wanted to know what it was for.
Looking at her carefully then pausing and asking, "Were you raised with no manners? My business is my business not yours. Please excuse me." He said this in such a genteel kind of way, I wished in that moment that I had the ability to add grace to my voice when I'm annoyed, or startled, or bothered but I don't.
She looked at me watching and over-hearing.
"Fine!" she said to him and then to me, "And you can fuck right off!
He was on the side walk when Joe pulled up in the car, I said to him as I passed him, "I tried to stop her. Sorry."
"No bother," he said, "I'm sure we're both well practiced with the indecent curiosity of those who should know better."
Class. Yep. Class.