Monday, October 20, 2008

temporary blindness

i saw the notice for almost a week before it happened. they were going to cut the electricity today, between 7 to 8 a.m. when i woke up this morning, it was just 6.45 and still managed to turn on the light. when i finally got up at 7.20, the light was still operational. when i got into the shower, in the middle or shampooing my hair, the lights were cut. my bathroom didn't have windows. the only source of natural light was a little strip at the bottom of the door, allowing air to pass. it's autumn now and sunrise comes nearer 8 a.m. it was pitch black.

i remembered saying to myself that if i had a disability, i would prefer being deaf or mute over being blind. for me, deafness would be a blessing. since, i feel that sometimes i have "bionic" ears and can hear through walls and whispers, i would rather not hear the words people say to avoid gossip or to hear any negative thing. i'd rather be mute, so i couldn't say anything hurtful or perpetuate gossip. i'd often succeeded in exercising my sharp tongue to my own detriment. but blindness ... that was something i would have to really grapple with. on the positive side, i couldn't use my eyes to judge if i was blind.

i have a habit of memorizing the placement of things so that even if i was in the dark, i could "feel" my way around a certain area. so, that's what i did. i used the mental images of where things were placed so that i could grab the rest of the toiletries i needed to finish my morning rituals. i had to carefully get out of the tub too. thank God i wasn't a paraplegic either ... i waved my hand in front of me so that i knew there was nothing i would hit. i opened the mirror with much care and swerved when i thought it could hit me in the face. i found it funny. i managed not to get hit. i couldn't get out to get a candle in the middle of the shower so i just continued until i made it out. then, the lights turned on and off.

i realized it's difficult to live in the dark but there was something challenging and at the same time exciting. but of course, i wouldn't wish to have this impairment. i could just imagine walking on the street and even if there are vision-impaired traffic lights, it was still difficult to get through the day with a walking stick and trying to manage around. i'm amazed at people who successfully get on and off the bus and find their way around town.

i see such a man on my street. sometimes, i want to help him but that might cause him embarrassment, so i just let him be as "normal" as any person can be, as he is guided by his walking stick.

God is good. i heard that people with disabilities are gifted with other talents to make up for their lack in the other areas of sensory perception. i'm glad for that.

so, for those few minutes of my life, i couldn't see any perceptible image even with the almost non-existing light emanating from the door slit. what if life was like that? just darkness ... not just physical darkness, but the darkness that envelops a person. a darkness that is foreboding. a darkness that despite the glaring sun, one is trapped in the non-existence of light. i think i would prefer physical blindness over that.

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