Friday, January 6, 2012

Blindwalking


I was talking to Robyn on the phone the other night and I asked her, "have you ever just walked around without your glasses on? I walked home without my glasses today and it was awesome."

She laughed and said no, but that her sisters sometimes did and they called it "blindwalking."

I was excited to hear that other people without glasses sometimes do this too, and that it's not just me being crazy.

My vision is fairly poor: I'm nearsighted with a -4.5 and -5.5 prescription on whatever scale prescriptions are on. In layman's terms, I need to have my looking-balls about 10 inches away from size 12 font to have any hope of reading it. To have any hope of recognizing a person when I'm not wearing contacts or glasses, they need to be less than 5 feet away (and they need to be even closer for me to figure out if they're making eye contact).

When I walk around without glasses, it's like being teleported into a colourful, blurry, and isolating world. Why isolating? When your vision is poor and you don't wear your lenses, you can't see people's eyes, which prevents you from seeing their intentions. You don't pick up any social cues like eye contact, smiles, raised eyebrows, etc. Everyone is just a blob moving from A to B and you're moving around in this fuzzy version of reality. This isolating feeling is strangely (and consistently) peaceful, even in a busy, loud place like downtown Montreal.

The thing I love most about terrible vision (no sarcasm, I promise!) is lights. Lights on cars, street lights, digital billboards, neon signs, and Christmas trees all look more magical. When I look at a Christmas tree in low light without my glasses, I can't make out the ornaments. Rather, I see a tree covered in GIANT orbs of colourful light. This is one of my favourite things to do at Christmas - take of my glasses and look at trees.