You know how kids shut their eyes and think you can’t see them? Being blind is kinda like that sometimes. I can’t see you, so I don’t realize you’re there, maybe even watching me. That’s kind of creepy, but I hope I do something that makes you smile instead of something that makes you laugh at me. When I walk down the street, I have no idea anyone is there until I’m like a foot away – up until that point, I’ve traveled alone in my mind, so forgive me if I jump when you touch me or say my name. I can carry on entire conversations on the sidewalk with people and walk away with a smile on my face and a head full of questions (who was that? Should I have asked how a loved one is doing? Have they recently posted on Facebook that they were in a barroom brawl and I should have politely mentioned that their black eye really makes their blue eyes pop?) I have one friend, I’ll call her “Friend” for anonymity, who will put a hand on my arm and say, “Hi Nomi, it’s Friend.” And I relax, and ask the appropriate questions, and tell her she looks good. Everyone looks good in my head because I haven’t seen them (literally) in fourteen years. Gone grey? I didn’t notice. Packed on thirty pounds? I couldn’t tell.
I don’t push shopping carts anymore because it’s really not fair to your ankles. Or to small children. Or store employees that just finished a huge display of cereal, making an entire Egyptian pyramid display out of Cheerios. I can’t shop alone anyhow. I can spend an hour trying to pick out a bottle of dish soap before someone comes along and tells me I’m actually looking at hot sauce. Frustrated, I’ll throw six bottles of Frank’s into the basket and wander off for dish soap until someone tells me I’m looking at corn syrup. I don’t use that, so I don’t impulsively buy any. I have been known to knock down little display stands with the basket on my arm, walked into customers who are bent over looking for something on the bottom shelf, or spent ten minutes asking an ’employee’ where the dish soap is, only to realize I’ve strayed from grocery to clothing and am getting annoyed with an unresponsive mannequin. There’s victory in getting to the check out and putting my things on the conveyor belt. Pride. Then comes defeat when my total is $133.64, and I ask the cashier ‘How is that possible?’ Then we run through my purchases. Six bottles of Frank’s, ten bottles of olive oil, and four bottles of KY warming massage oil and lube. None of these were on my list (a short list, considering dish soap was the only item needed). “Could you take off the olive oil and get someone to bring me a bottle of Dawn?” I mean seriously, who needs ten bottles of olive oil? I am blessed to have a husband that will occasionally take me shopping with him (after we clarify that Home Depot is not one of the stores that I will be expected to tag along at). He even pushes the buggy, and will, when prompted, tell me exactly what we’re buying today. He says I come home with stupid things? We’ve bickered over why he feels we need to buy an entire display of Creamsicles. I’ve yet to buy the proper feminine product when I’m out with him, though. Men just don’t get the whole with wings or without debate. One of my best friends is a pro shopper like I used to be. I try to leave those purchases for when I get out with her once a month. I come home with a lot of stuff I don’t need, but I also got everything I wanted, too. If I say I want a blue shirt that is long enough to hide my bum and feels good against my skin, we’ll hit seventeen stores until we find one she says she can’t see my bum in and I feel like I’m draped in the finest fabric. She even knows exactly the shade of blue I want – which is lucky, because my eyes see the strangest colours. Me, holding up shirt–“This is blue, right?” BFF, in calm tone– “Uh, nope. That’s black.” Me, grabbing another shirt –“This?” BFF, forcing laughter from voice– “Black again. Here, this is blue.” Me, eyebrow raised in disbelief –“Are you sure? Looks like grey to me.” She hasn’t hit me yet, and she hasn’t said that she can’t come visit today because Toronto has been hit by a bizarre plague that hasn’t affected anywhere else in the world and is being kept mum by politicians and newspapers. Fourteen years of this routine, and she still visits regularly. I guess the four years we were friends when I could see keep her around.
I have been known to play the blind card to get out of stuff. “Oh, you wanted me to clean the house today? I looked around, but you know, with my eyes, I thought the house looked clean”. My mother-in-law (MiL) is a wonderful woman whom I love dearly but is not high on my list of people to shop with. She also will say things like “Did you know there’s a black spot under the dog’s water dish?” Black lab that drools out exactly ½ of the water taken in means her hair sticks to the floor there. I smile, pick up a cloth, and hand it to her. “My house, my rules – you see it, you clean it”. She hasn’t mentioned seeing that black spot since. My dad, too. “Did you know you have cobwebs in the corners of your foyer?” My foyer area is probably sixteen feet high. “Well, mine papa, considering when I stand on the landing and look up, I’m not aware there is a ceiling, Imma let you do the honours.” And I hand him the telescopic feather duster that reaches the corners. He mentions this twice a year, so I worry about his memory as he always seems surprised at the whole “my house, my rules” speech. My mom used to say “People either come to visit me, or they come to judge my housekeeping. If they come to see me, they don’t notice the housekeeping, and if they come to judge the housekeeping, I’ve given them something to talk about.” I’d like to say I have that attitude, but honestly, I just don’t see it. If the dog can’t leave the kitchen, I know there’s either yummy meat cooling on the counter and she’s working her brain around how to sample it, or the kids have spilt something and she’s stuck there until I get the mop. I birthed three kids for a reason. The dog can wait til they get home.
I don’t wear make-up often anymore. Not since I got more mascara on my nose and eyeballs than I did on my lashes. Doesn’t matter though, because I look good. Usually. I still look like I did when I was twenty-one (even if, when I was 21, I thought I wasn’t, but I really was in hindsight compared to now) Unless I’m having a sad day, then I look eighty. Like old eighty, not “I can’t believe you’re eighty, you look sixty” eighty. I look in the mirror, and I look however my mood wants me to look. I might feel eighty from all the health issues I have, but if I feel good mentally, I look twenty-one. Not bad, for someone who’s given birth to over twenty-two pounds worth of baby (divided between three separate children over a decade span of time). It’s a beautiful spring day, I’m writing right now, and the house is quiet (the dog is ignoring the leaf that just skittered around outside somewhere), so I look twenty-five-ish.
Since my Eeyore coffee cup is empty and there is no one here to fix that problem but me (cat has no thumbs, he’s useless), I’m going to sign off for today. But I’ll leave you with one last thought. Since I’m blind and can see only what I want to see? Imma pretend that I’ve got a rapt audience waiting for my next post. If I’m the only one reading? That’s sad, but no one else will ever know how sad because I choose to believe there are other eyes reading too. If you’re here, thank you. If you come back again? I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
I’d say see you later, but honestly? I’m not likely to see you, so don’t be offended if I don’t say “Hi – love what you’ve done with your hair!” I’m sure I would love your hair though.