August is National Eye Exam Month.
Coincidentally, I just had my eyes examined. This year, the doctor took photos of my eyes to check for abnormalities. It was a completely painless – and quick – procedure, but anxious-making if only because it’s considered a “medical” test and had to be scheduled outside of the regular eye exam.
And after the exam, which meant the doctor saw something she didn’t like.
What she saw, if unchecked, could result in total blindness for me. (I’m safe, by the way. But it’s still something the doctor wants to watch.)
But the process reminded me of a question someone asked me once: would you rather go blind or go deaf?
I apologize if I’ve offended any of my deaf or blind friends with this question, but I hope you’re agree that it makes for an interesting discussion–if just in the abstract. The point is: what type of major loss–perhaps something you take totally for granted–could you live without the best?
It’s still an awkward question, I know.
My answer: I’d rather go deaf. Tough choice for me, really, but those of you who’ve ever visited or driven in a car with me know: I’ve got music blasting all the time. It’s a major part of my life. Music is pure emotion without any words.
(Song writers, I promise you, are geniuses.)
I think living without music would kill a little part of me. If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d definitely be a musician. But still, I’d rather go silent then dark.
I think I could remember the music better than I could remember sight. Memories fade–images fade–but I’m not certain about tunes. Then again, maybe it’s me.
Try this experiment: picture in your mind the face of a relative long gone. Describe their features, exactly how you remember. Now find a photo and compare. How accurate were you?
Next: try to sing an old nursery rhyme you learned as a child. Can you do it? Maybe Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star or the ABC song… Try one you can’t remember the words to. Can you still hum the tune?
Here’s Your Prompt:
- Write: would you rather be deaf or blind?
- Sit for one minute with your eyes closed in a busy or semi-busi location. After a minute or so, write down the sensations you had, the things you noticed with your other senses: touch, taste, sound, etc. Now try the same experiment with your eyes open. What’s the difference?
- Find someone who won’t mind you invading their personal space. Now, look into his or her eyes. What do you see there? (Do you see something you haven’t seen before?) Is this the first time you’ve been this close? Eyes are supposedly the ‘windows of the soul.’ Write about your friend’s soul.
- Write about a memory “through the eyes of a child.” That is, exactly how you remember feeling as a kid about it. Now try writing the same scene as “through the eyes of a stranger.” How do the perceptions differ?