Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sometimes I feel sorry for people with perfect vision. Ever wished your eyes were a camera that could capture what you saw, just the way you saw it, at that very moment? (To some extent, the mobile phone-cam has made my childhood fantasy come true, but rarely with the light, detail and colour saturation that I imagined.) But deliciously, there are so many beautiful things I can see every day that twenny-twennies can only see through photos.

Tonight while driving down Sydney Rd, I took off my glasses at a red light to polish them, and the world suddenly sprang into a vivid kaleidoscope of coloured spangles. With all the detail blurred out, the reds seemed redder, the whites fiercer, the yellows warmer, the blues crisper... It reminded me of being a child driven home from ballet class at twilight on a rainy day, with the tail-lights of cars leaving shiny red smears on tarmac that sparkled as if diamond-coated.

It made a mundane streetscape look magical and full of possibility; and I had a brief but delicious sense of being special. Of course, in this day and age, coded language is a way to play down people's shortcomings but ironically it highlights them. Everyone knows that 'special' really means 'retarded'. (Except if you're Bruce McAvaney.) But when I saw those magical twinkling lights, I really did feel privileged - like I'd witnessed something special because of my special vision.

Another thing that I really cherish about my vision is how meditative it can be. When I'm stressed, I'll sit down somewhere and just take my glasses off, and it's like I'm taking my stress off as well. It's like floating in a fuzzy cocoon. I can stare into space without caring whether people are staring back at me. The pressures of the world subside into unthreatening blobs. And taking off my glasses or contact lenses at the end of the day is a lovely prelude to sleep - like I've relaxed a little already.

Sometimes I'm glad I have this ability to vary my vision. I kind of feel sorry for twenny-twennies, trapped in their harsh world, forced to look at every detail whether they like it or not. Of course they can always deliberately unfocus their eyes, but that's something they have to work at. I can do it just by taking off my glasses.

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