The Silent and Brave revision: page #75
Kim and I went to get our eye exams the day before the hangover too. It was a good experience, the first good one I have had in the past few years. I keep feeling like they screw up my prescription, because for the past few years they have been trying to get me into toric lenses. This eye doctor was able to tell me why I feel that way. Basically, I’m getting older and my eyes suck, so I am now at the point where they are trying to correct my vision for near and far, instead of just nearsightedness. It means the reading glasses I have been using. It means bifocals, soon. It means that they are trying to find a happy medium where I am most comfortable throughout the course of the day, and they just haven’t been doing a good job. I am better now, with one toric lens and one regular lens.
I was sitting there in the exam room, waiting for Kim to be done. I had already taken out my contacts and so I was basically blind, living in a blurred world where I can’t see anything. The assistant was one of those people who likes to talk, and so she started talking to me, about the storm, about driving in snow, about clueless drivers in general, and I suddenly realized something I want to use in the book about my character Riika, who is also nearsighted, but without the benefit of glasses. When someone is talking to you and you can’t see their eyes or their mouth, or really anything but a blank orb where there face is, it changes the conversation. Eyes and face are the windows to the soul, and without that input, the other person has a distinct advantage. Also, anything they say kind of becomes robotic, because I have no access to the other information that helps fill in the conversation: how they’re feeling about what they’re saying, how they’re feeling about what I’m saying, etc. There is no way to read between the lines, which we do every day in face to face conversations. It’s like talking to someone on the telephone, at a distance, but in the case of blindness they have the advantage of seeing me while I can’t see them, so it’s one sided, whereas on the phone it works both ways and cancels itself out–both people have to use their words to convey the extra information. I talked to Kim about this, saying that I wanted to use it in my story (and I will) and she said that it involves her as well, since she wants to do commercial work (voice overs) and so she also has to be conscious of expressing the extra information to her listeners through words without the benefit of a picture that will show them her facial expression.