Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yes, I Am Blind

Yes, I am blind
No, I can't see
There must be something
Horribly wrong with me?

- Morrissey

Doctor my eyes
Tell me what is real
I hear their cries
Just saying "It's too late for me"

- Jackson Browne

Yes, I am blind. No, I can't see. How blind am I? So much so that today I waved to what I thought was a blonde at the end of the hall, only to find out, when I got closer, that "she" was actually a vase of flowers. Pathetic.

Want more? The next day I thought I saw my ex-girlfriend at the library. There was a woman with dark brown hair, about the same height and body type as my ex, or at least I thought so from way aross the main hall of Pratt Central. I saw her talking to a librarian about something, then went up afterwards and asked the librarian, "What did that lady want? I think that may have been my old girlfriend." "I don't think so," he replied, shaking his head. How would he know, I thought? Then when I asked again, he rolled his eyes and mentioned how she was mumbling to herself and stumbling around in a daze. While I have been known to have an effect on women, it had never been this severe, driving one to a mental breakdown. The next day I saw the woman close up and realized my mistake - she was one of our junkie regulars who spend all day surfing the Internet in the computer room. No wonder the librarian doubted my romantic past with this poor woman.

Anyway, while I'm on the subject of my diminished eyesight, here are a few notes about famous people who went blind (not that I'm famous, but I can dream, can't I?), as taken from Jim Lehrer's NewsHour special Dying of the Light," in which Lehrer and essayist Roger Rosenblatt discuss former Time editor-in-chief Henry Grumwald's book about going blind, Twilight:

    John Milton wrote a famous sonnet on his blindness ("When I Consider How My Light Is Spent"), the one that ends "They also serve who only stand and wait." But the sonnet begins, "When I consider how my light is spent," a line that suggests how precious the light is.

    Jorge Luis Borges, the great Latin American writer who died in 1986, wrote a beautiful essay on blindness in which he cited the realm of the blind as "inconvenient." Colors were confused for him. Worse, he was losing his eyesight just at the moment he was appointed director of the national library in Argentina. It was the job of his dreams, which were dimmed by irony. "There I was," he wrote, "the center, in a way, of 900,000 books in various languages. But I found I could barely make out the title pages and the spines." (Reminds me of the "Time Enough At Last" Twilight Zone episode in which bookworm Burgess Meredith is the lone survivor of a nuclear holocaust and is surrounded by all the books he has been trying to read, only to break his eyeglasses!) Geeze, I work in a library and can relate, but even more so when I think of my film library at home. All those movies, all those porn tapes, all those images, now just a blur.

    Homer - he made the world envision the indispensable sea voyage in The Odyssey and the fundamental war in The Iliad.

    James Thurber - he saw into the magnificent nonsense of the mind most clearly, even as his own light failed.

Roger Rosenblatt closes his NewsHour review with these insightful lines:

Love is blind. Justice is blind. Samson was blinded. The absence of sight can be made into a virtue, but reality bites. "I was blind, but now I see," goes "Amazing Grace." But the truth is that one wants to see actually as well as spiritually. I don't know if the great blind people of history would've traded insight for sight, but in any case, they had no choice. So one is left staring inwardly at all the astonishing objects they discovered in the dark. In a way, they became remarkable sights themselves. One could not take one's eyes off Helen Keller in her struggles, watching a human being deprived of the essential senses displaying what being human is about-- adjustment to misfortune, courage in the night.

This is the season of the dying of the light. From now through the end of the century, the sky closes down and the world comes up with faith to see it through the winter solstice. Henry Grunwald would say that this is a valuable time of year, when one is aware of how much light means and yearns for the light as all creatures do. But his book makes a less abstract and more useful point. "One must measure and conduct one's life on its own terms," he writes. No one sees clearer than that.

OK, time to don my reading glasses and read today's redesigned Baltimore Sun newspaper, whose editors, in a recognition of the increasing age of their decreasing readers, have made everything BIGGER in the daily rag - from Humongous Headlines that take up half the page and full-color graphics to Large Type Print that I think even Stevie Wonder could read - that make it seem like it was put together by the editors of USA Today, Reader's Digest and Highlights magazine. It's telling that my eyes are so bad that I didn't even notice the change; in fact, I liked it! Me and the retirees!


Anonymous Bridal Gowns said...

It is a promise to love that lasts forever. To make the common vows personally, can think about the bride and groom's own words.

3:59 AM  

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