Like many politicians seeing out the end of their time in office, David Paterson is a little worried about how things will turn out. He doesn’t know what he’ll do yet or how people will see him. But unlike a lot of other politicians, the soon-to-be-former governor has another thing on his mind: how his lack of sight will affect his life in New York City. He’s just starting to get used to the realization that he’ll no longer have a state full of government employees to help him out.
“If I go into a grocery store, the state police come in with me,” he said. “It’s kind of like, hey, Governor, just tell us what you need and we’ll get it for you. And, I know I have to adjust.”
Although he’d had nearly a half-century of finding ways around his blindness before becoming lieutenant governor in 2007, Paterson claims the position hampered his independence. “I haven’t been on the subway,” he said. “I haven’t crossed a street by myself. Haven’t gone into a restaurant by myself.”
In an attempt to make the transition easier, Paterson says he’ll start taking classes at the Helen Keller Services for the Blind and might consider hiring a full-time aide. Then he’ll start worrying about dealing with the loss of his title and stature and the other inconveniences of being a regular citizen. One thing he is looking forward to, though, is earning more than a paltry $179,000 a year.