I have been given the opportunity to live two lives—one sighted, the other blind. Each holds the potential to be sublimely enriching and maddeningly soul-sucking. Neither contains a free pass to serenity. Each comes with some assembly required. Both have everything and nothing in common.
How, then, do I describe the space between? Which adjectives and adverbs lend distinction? I’ve heard blindness described as an inconvenience. Inconvenience is having your car in the shop. Inconvenience is running out of Buffalo wings on Super Bowl Sunday. I believe blindness cuts deeper.
In my blind life, I elevate frustration to an art form. How tiresome, how tedious when simple tasks become two times, five times, ten times longer to accomplish, if they can be done at all. If dawn brings opportunities to find new ways to do old things, by sunset, reinventing the wheel has turned exhausting. And in the darkest hour, I yearn for the simpler life.
But next morning, I’m out to prove that a job done well is its own reward, even when done well becomes just plain done. I remain solvent by paying myself by the job, not by the hour. I work within my limits and compete with no one. I value my effort as much as its result, not as measured by an efficiency expert.
My makeshift tool kit overflows with affirmations. I think I can. But not all clichés hit the mark. Slow but sure wins the race? That mantra tries my patience. I want to attain effortlessly, to window shop for this and that, to run errands. In life’s supermarket, I falter in the express lane. Where others whip out their Gold Master Card or peel a twenty from a thick roll, I pay with nickels.
[Jeff’s Note: The phrase “paying with nickels” is not my creation. It reached my ears via a third party. Whoever its author, I am grateful.]