I hate when people ask me what it’s like to be blind.
It seems like people are absolutely incapable of imagining a world without sight. They ask me if everything is just black all the time. But I’ve been blind since birth – I don’t know what “black” is. They ask me how I can possibly make it through the day, when so much of the world depends on vision. No, your world depends on vision.
What they don’t understand is that I can do just fine for myself, that being blind has just given me the opportunity to cultivate my other senses to near perfection. So much of my day depends on texture – the smoothness of my kitchen counter and the smoothness of my coffee table are two entirely different kinds of smooth. The glide of a person’s skin can tell me what kind of job they have, what kind of life they live. There are so many secrets in the grain of things that most people ignore.
What I don’t get from texture, I get from sound. My ears are able to pick up the minute shuffles and scrapes of life from hundreds of yards away. It is easy to make my way down the street, when my course is mapped out by the living space around me. I don’t need to see the car in the crosswalk to know that it’s there. I don’t need to see the businessman staring at his phone to avoid him.
Trying to explain this to people is a pain because they don’t listen. Have you ever noticed how poorly people listen, in their worlds dominated by sight? They’re always shutting off their ears, believing that nothing can be gained by listening. If only people would open their other senses, maybe this world wouldn’t be so confused, so misguided.
Yes, being blind comes with its difficulties. But never once have I felt wronged by living without sight.
A couple of months ago, I decided to find a roommate.