My neighbors say that blind folks hear better than other people. He says I’m living proof. I tell him he’s all wet. I tell him that my hearing didn’t get better as my eyesight got worse. Nor did smell, touch, or taste. I simply rely on them more.
I also rely on Randy, my Seeing Eye dog, to bridge my sensory gap. He hears things four times more distant than me. He has two hundred million smell sensors in his nose, compared to my five million. This means that he smells better than me. But when I must fish from his mouth the exquisitely rancid morsels he scarfs off the sidewalk, I conclude he has no taste
My remaining senses help me create a picture of people, places and things. That picture may be inaccurate, but I make it pleasant. For example, I imagine that every clear and melodic woman’s voice is wearing that little black dress, size six. This image pleases me. The news that two-thirds of Americans are obese or simply overweight does not deface that picture. Just so you don’t think I’m only picking on women, I also see all men with the thirty-two inch waistline I sculpted until I turned fifty.
Most fashion trends are lost on me. Namely, tattoos and piercings. Way back when, only bikers got tattoos. Their favorite said “Mother.” Hey, dude, Can I get that in Braille? Regarding piercings, I have never asked an acquaintance permission to feel his or her face. And, thank God, no blind person has ever asked to feel mine. Don’t get me wrong. I like the feel of soft skin. I’m just not eager to feel pieces of metal jutting out here and there.
Some may suggest I am denying reality; that I run from the truth. I say don’t confuse me with the facts. My vision of America may not be accurate, but it’s all mine.