What I Wish I Could See
At the beginning of a recent VIBES meeting, we began by everyone introducing them self and saying what they wished they could see or what they missed most by not being able to see normally. The answers were so interesting, and so varied, that I’m devoting this post to reproducing what was said that night.
Appearances to the contrary, this was far from a depressing exercise. These were up-beat, positive, the “glass is half full” people who, since they had been asked, focused for a minute on an aspect of their life they wish they could change. While the answers are serious, strange as it may seem, the evening was filled with much laughter. Most, but not all, of the people in the group had some vision – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – at some point in their life. Some answers dealt with major aspects of their life that were affected, and others touched on seemingly small things that contributed to the richness of life.
* I miss hiking in the mountains.
* Because I have trouble recognizing people and I don’t always need to use a cane, people sometimes think I’m blowing them off. This makes a difference when you’re trying to make a first impression.
* I miss little things like trying to locate objects that I’ve misplaced. They might be right in front of me, but, if I don’t remember where they’re located, I may struggle to find something obvious.
* Even though I still have some usable vision, the little I have sometimes causes me to look stupid. For example, the other day I was taking a shortcut between two rooms where I work. I knew they were separated by a door which is almost always open. This day, the door, which is made of glass, was closed, and I ran right into it. I wasn’t hurt but I’m sure I looked pretty silly bouncing off the door.
* I wish I could see my brothers as they get old. But, on the other hand, I don’t have to see myself age.
* I love small kids but playing with them has been harder since I lost all my vision. They may hand me a toy they want to play with, for example, and I don’t know it’s there. I really miss the ability to have complete interaction with them. I’m also never certain when to offer my hand to shake hands. I don’t want to ignore them if they’re offering their hand but neither to I want to offer my hand if the other person doesn’t want to.
* I love art and still have some usable vision to see it but wish I could see more detail. That would add to my enjoyment.
* I wish I could see “body language” and facial expression. I’ve never been able to see enough to pick-up on this and I know it’s very important. I really have no concept of body language, and, when I perform as a vocalist it feels strange and uncomfortable because I know other singers use it naturally when they’re on stage.
* I wish I could make eye contact naturally. When I try to look at someone, my eyes tend to bounce around. This is just something that happens automatically as a part of my eye condition.
* I miss being able to see birds flying through the sky and read body language.
* Since I lost my vision, I’m very uncomfortable around heights. That never happened before.
* I wish I were better at recognizing faces. My biggest problem is recognizing facial features or distinguishing characteristics.
* I would love to see my cat. My cat is a dusty grey with white belly and tips, and big yellow eyes. since his eyes change with his mood, that would be awesome to see. I want to see him sleeping in my bed, on his back, with paws in the air. For a long time, I thought he was weird but was told he sleeps like that because he feels secure. I would like to see that contented look when I scratch his ear or belly while he purrs and purrs, shifting ever so slightly so I will scratch the right spot. The look of mischief on his face when he tries to unroll the toilet paper and lay real still trying not to make a sound while I look for him. I’d like to watch him flick his tail, walk away with attitude when he is annoyed at me, or wants to be left alone. I’d like to visually capture the moments, especially after I was away for a while, as he lay on my chest, kneading, purring, stopping every few minutes to lick my face.
* I wish I could go back through my life and visit all the places I’ve traveled to with 20/20 vision. I’ve been to California four times in my life, and every time I go I notice something different. With my vision it’s hard for me to take it all in at once since the picture I see is different than everyone else. I’d like to go back there and see all the things I’ve missed. Lastly, I live close to the mountains and go there multiple times a year. I can tell the view is beautiful but I’d like to see just how beautiful they really are.
* Me? What would I like to see? I’d like to see Donald Trump’s hair. I’m not kidding. Even my seven-year-old granddaughter, who doesn’t know a Republican from a Democrat, talks about it. Some things in life, like the Donald’s hair and that great play in last night’s game, just can’t be described, and, so, you can’t participate in those conversations at the water-cooler.
PS If you’re wondering why no one mentioned driving, it’s because we prohibited it before asking the question. Driving is at the top of virtually every visually-impaired person wish-list.