Good People of Humboldt: Blind Faith

RobinOn a stormy summer day in Arcata, two men dressed in all black march single file down a residential street grasping at either end of a long wooden staff they carry between them.

Rain drips from the full-brimmed hats they’ve pulled down past their eyes like gunslingers of the Old West, and their matching duster coats sway with each carefully-planned step.

At the back end of the staff is Eureka resident Robin Anderson; in front, his roommate, caretaker and closest friend John Patterson.

The duo moved to Humboldt county three years ago, fleeing the crime and congestion of the Bay Area for a place better suited to their slow-paced lifestyle.

Anderson is blind, and has been his whole life.

“I like being outside in nature where I can smell the redwoods. When you lose your vision your other senses pick up. Your smell, touch, hearing, and just the feel of things,” Anderson said during a chat on the Arcata Plaza. “It’s a lot safer up here and more laid back. As soon as I get down past Ukiah into Napa and Sonoma, I can feel the stress in everything; the fast paced congestion coming on.”

Until five years ago, he navigated the world on his own, counting his steps, walking the same path, and dealing with the occasional mugging. But that all changed when he and Patterson met one day at a Santa Cruz bus stop.

“Robin was sitting on a bench all by himself; he looked kinda alone and in need of some of some assistance,” Patterson said. “So I walked up to him and asked him if he needed some help; we kinda just became friends ever since.”…

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