October 2, 2009


The New York Times has a regular feature in the Science section that puts some long-held beliefs to the test. Real or myth? they ask. Can getting wet feet give you a cold? Can wearing a hat keep you warmer? All those things my mother told me, they debunk or try to prove.

I didn't even need to read past the headline of today's feature. Does being blind heighten your other senses? Darn tootin'.

While I am not blind, I am severely near-sighted, far-sighted and damned near no-sighted. I have thick glasses that sharpen my vision, and when removed everything dissolves into a milky dream sequence from a bad movie. They're not thick like Bubbles on Trailer Park Boys (click on that. Really. I'll wait). But they're thick. And though I wear contacts often, with that whole bifocal thing going on now, I realize we can put a man on the moon, have 2-in-1 shampoo, cold water detergent, cell phones as thin as a credit card and steaks as fat as my head, but we still can't get contact lenses that let me read the paper and see traffic signs - and no, not at the same time.

Stumbling in the night has led me to sharpen my other senses. I can smell smoke where I couldn't even see fire; I can hear a small child sigh in his sleep, but I can't find my pillow if it falls on the floor. Once I'm actually awake, I can't do anything without my glasses on, so I think my superhero-ness dangles in the ether between consciousnesses.

I went to a birthday party when I was little. It was strange, and memorable for all the wrong reasons. My all-time most unfavourite game was the oddest thing I've ever been subjected to before or since. Wearing a blindfold, all these little 8-year-olds were supposed to obediently stick out their tongues to guess what was being deposited. You might think it would be pixie sticks and potato chips, but you would be wrong.

For some reason, Odd Mom fed us things like mustard and kielbasa. It was a weird party. But I learned instantly that when I couldn't see what was being jammed in my mouth, it tasted ten times worse. Mustard, people. Geez.

I still reach for my glasses fast if I wake up, but I then rely on sight as my first instinct, and let my other senses take a back seat. Unless I promptly fall over Stupid Cat, at which point pain figures prominently. Actually, I just remembered something. Christopher used to smell all of his food before he ate it when he was little. Sniff, eat. Sniff, eat. Sniff, eat. We thought it was cute.

It was probably just an early detection system guarding against my cooking.


Blogger aka Joe said...

Oh God, I get the whole bifocal thing Lorraine! I've noticed the last couple of years that in order to read anything, I need to remove my glasses and forget reading anything if my contacts are in. Thank God my wife is there to read stuff for me! My next pair of glasses will probably be bifocals but they're so damn expensive! And I only wear my contacts if I have no intention of reading, maybe one day they'll create a contact lense that will allow us to see both distance and up close.

October 05, 2009 10:15 AM  
Blogger DJW said...

My sister has bifocal contacts...
...and reading glasses.

Suck it up, age happens.

BTW, I can't see past the end of my nose without mine, and after almost two years, I still catch myself looking over the top to see things up close.

October 08, 2009 9:39 PM  

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