I’m in the middle of an eye thing. I don’t understand it. My eye doctors don’t understand it. All anyone knows is that in the last month, my eyes have improved. A lot. Out of nowhere. This doesn’t happen very often, the eye doctors all tell me. Their brows wrinkle a little, not with concern. We are all of us bemused. And I am in a weird in-between eye place where my eyes are adjusting to all kinds of new things and I have a lot of headaches and strange pinching feelings behind my nose, and I feel a little like I’m an alien in my own head, a head that no longer feels like it knows how to communicate with itself.
Sometimes I think maybe my eyes are Matilda-ing. That all this wrangling with lawyers at work lately over commas and slashes is causing brain energy to make dramatic transformations in my eyeballs like all of Matilda’s brain energy made chalk write hard true things to Agatha Trumbull and saved Miss Honey. And then I start to think maybe I just need to close these old eyes just for a minute. Can you refresh eyes? Will this work?
I watched a TED talk this week about architecture. This bland, quiet woman talked about how sight is our dominant sense, and how she built a building where people were robbed of all visual context. They could only see what was in front of them while they walked through this giant whorl of fog. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how for me, sight is a dominant sense and this week, with seeing being so hard, I have started to let it go a little. I have started to figure out which are the important things to see, which things I can get by without seeing, which things are worth getting close enough to see, which things are worth the little brain-tweaking feelings that seeing clearly brings with it nowadays. And how seeing is good, but everything doesn’t need to be seen by me. My eyes have become a dwindling resource. I hope they’ll un-dwindle. Stabilize. That I won’t always have to choose between seeing and being uncomfortable in an unsettling, inescapable way. But right now, I am choosy.
A couple of days ago, my car broke down. Bad. The kind where I was crying on the side of the road. I’d had a tiring day of work and the fluorescent lights and long, uninterrupted computer-ness made my eyes unhappy and all I wanted to do was get home and take my contacts out. I told people that too. Told Kelsey. I can’t wait! And then it was four more hours before I was home. Four more hours of tow trucks and gas stations and strange roads and a lot of water. And also? Four hours of complete strangers pulling over to ask me if I was ok. Of kind people offering to look under the hood, giving me sound advice, telling me it would be ok and I shouldn’t cry any more. I don’t know why I cried, except that I was so overwhelmed and felt helpless, even as I was doing things that were not helpless. It was a long time before I got to take my contacts out. But all these people, these generous strangers–I saw them, clearly.