I was at the Tampa Library earlier today and I stepped outside for a moment to check the weather. There I found a very thin, grey-haired man standing alone leaning up against a pillar near the front door of the building. I noticed that he held a white cane with a red tip on it that informed me that he was blind. We both stood there about twenty feet apart without speaking. I noticed that the cane was held lightly in his right hand and his left hand was hanging loosely with nothing to do . I looked again at the cane and, being someone interested in math, I was curious about the angle that he and the cane formed.
“Forty-five degrees,” he said without looking in my direction.
“What?” I asked, surprised by his comment as I had said nothing to him and wasn’t even sure if he knew I was standing near him.
“Forty-five degrees,” he said again, and then added, “You were wondering at what angle my cane was set from my body. It’s forty=five degrees.” He sniffed and wriggled his nose as if something had irritated it.
“But I didn’t say anything to you.”
“I know,” he signed. “But it’s a common question by those, like you, who are curious about angles and such.”
We stood in silence for several moments and then I added, “But I am the only one out here.”
He turned his head to the left and then to the right and said, “Yep, you’re right. I haven’t seen anyone out here for at least twenty minutes.”