Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Day I Went Blind

Have you ever been blind? Me neither. I have been called deaf and dumb before, so adding blindness wouldn’t be much of a stretch. I do wear contacts, so I often say that I am “as blind as a bat” and as if on a cue, some know-it-all person will come out of the wood-work and say in their know-it-all way, “bats aren’t blind, you know.”

Listen, if I wanted to know that much about animals and science and nature, I would watch more public television. As it is, my brain is full with important facts, like: how many miles I can drive the car on empty before I really run out of gas, and what time I absolutely have to be dressed in the morning so that I won’t be late taking my kids to school.

Snooty, smarty-pants people really bug me. So they have some mental aptitude, do they have to draw attention to it all the time? I sweat like a rabid goat when I am scrubbing the tub, but you don’t see me bragging about it do you? Who cares if bats are blind or not, they are ugly and that is what really matters. If I saw a bat coming at me, otherwise known as a flying rat, I would scream. Seriously, does it matter if they can see? I can see them, elude and evade, that is my motto when it comes to bats.

Now, because of my disgust for bats you may think that I am biased against ugly things. This is not the case. I let my husband keep most of his things inside the house and some of it is so ugly it will make you wish you were blind. So see, I am really an accommodating and tolerant person. Except for smart people, they do get under my skin.

People of above average intelligence just don’t understand what it is like for those of us with average (ok, slightly below average) IQ’s. What I know I gleaned from the streets, otherwise known as the school of hard knocks. Things I have been taught over the years cannot be lectured about in a classroom; I have been educated in the gritty underbelly of suburbia and there isn’t a tougher one around than the cul de sac. For example: I have learned that if you say yes to the Avon/Mary Kay/Tupperware lady she will come back. I have learned that the Schwann’s man will not deliver ice cream at 2:18 a.m. even if it is an “emergency.” I have learned that if you dice up vegetables really, really, really tiny you still cannot hide them in a meatloaf.

Ok, so I did go to University, but that is irrelevant. I didn’t learn anything there except for the fact that student loans will force you to eat Top Ramen for a minimum of 10 years after graduation. My point is, even if you are smart you don’t have to be a show-off about it. I try to increase my intelligence. I do, I try. I read a lot, maybe I am just reading the wrong kinds of books.

One of the books that I read recently is “Lessons I learned in the Dark” by Jennifer Rothschild. It is basically a memoir about a woman who goes blind in high school. I loved the book because it talks about faith and trust and relying on things we cannot see. It is very moving. It also talks about things a sighted person wouldn’t worry about, like how to decorate your house, or how to choose an outfit or how to get ready for a date when you are sightless. Things that people with vision take for granted.

The book says that if you repeat the same process every time, when putting on makeup or fixing your hair, you can feel when you are having a bad hair day, even when you can’t see it. Just to show that I was trying to learn, I did a little social experiment, I decided to try and get ready to go to the mall as if I were blind, I mean, how hard could it be right? Ha!

I thought it would be easy to put makeup on and fix my hair without seeing what I was doing. Evidently, you have to really be blind to apply makeup in a way that makes you look like you are not blind. When I was through with my face I looked like I had applied my makeup in the dark with my eyes closed. On a positive note, it was the first time my husband ever asked me if I had “done something different with my hair?” Now, keeping with the theme I decided not to look at myself in a mirror before I left the house. I mean really, I was “blind” so it didn’t matter to me, right? It is the people that can see me from the front that feel frightened by my appearance. Besides, my husband likes sympathy, and trust me, he got a lot of sympathetic looks that day.

Well, the blind thing didn’t work out, but I bet you already guessed that. Yeah, I ran into a friend while I was out at the mall and she asked me what was wrong, was I sick, did I have a seizure while applying my mascara? All the typical questions one might get on their first day of blindness. “No,” I said, and I explained my experiment about putting on my makeup blind.

“Well,” she said, “you must be as blind as a bat, because you look terrible.” And that is when I said . . .

“Oh yeah, well bats aren’t blind you know.”


  1. Hey! Good to see you writing.

  2. Ha, ha, ha! Loved it! Nice resolve. Very good. As far as writing, style, etc, it's great. Punctuation-wise you have quite a few run-ons and fragments, but that's okay if it is a stylistic writing choice. Just make sure it's what you want. Great, wonderful work! Very good!!

  3. I think the fact that you said you went "to University" instead of "to college" sounds kinda like a smarty-pants. :-)

    tina v-p