Sunday, August 21

With Great Power Comes Great Disability

Well.  That was interesting. 

I finished the 40 Hour Famine exactly two hours and forty-eight minutes ago.  I went without sight to raise money for people in East Timor, and it was certainly a very interesting experience. 

To effectively blind myself, I wore a sleeping mask.  I slept away the first twelve hours of the famine, and then the next morning I had breakfast, brushed my teeth and got straight into my bed, kept toasty all the while by my electric blanket.  I had asked my next door neighbour to borrow some of her audio books, and instead, she lent me her iPod Touch with all the audio books loaded on, so I nestled it into my iPod dock and began to listen in rapt anticipation to Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  It was one of those Focus on the Family dramatisations, of which I have the entire Chronicles of Narnia.  I don't normally listen to audio books, but in my state, listening to the dramatisation was fantastic, and I quickly forgot that I was blind, because lying in bed with my eyes closed seemed a very normal thing to do while listening to a story. 

But alas, she had only loaded on the first CD of the story, and as there are usually three or even four CDs to one book, I was left hanging a quarter of the way in.  So I went on to listen to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which, believe it or not, I had never heard before.  I will go nuts about Dickens tomorrow as there is too much to be said on the topic.  But I did very much enjoy it, and Dickens' writing gives me delighted thrills. 

Anyway, after finishing that I started listening to bits and pieces of things, but nothing really caught my attention.  The dramatisation of Robinson Crusoe consisted of a mundane back and forth between the growly narrator and a state-the-obvious-why-don't-you Irish actor, which became inexcusibly boring after half an hour.  So I decided to go back to my old beloved Chronicles of Narnia.  The Magicians Nephew is definitely a treat for the ears, what with all the orchestral background and quality sound effects, and that took me all afternoon yesterday and all this morning to listen to.  I really enjoyed that, and the memories surrounding that Focus on the Family jingle and Douglas Gresham's warm voice at the epilogue left me tingling for ages afterwards. 

Walking about was interesting.  I obviously had nowhere particular to go, but even just walking from my room upstairs to the dinner table and to the bathroom was a bit of a game.  Not a struggle, but rather a joke.  I found it quite entertaining.  I admit that a few days before I started, I felt around my room to make sure I knew where my hands would fall when I was to be fumbling around blindly, but perhaps I should have done that downstairs as well.  I figured it out soon enough, though.  I would walk from my bed to the knob of my my bed end, then to the other knob, then to the bathroom door, then to the bedroom lightswitch, then to the bedroom door.  Then I was traveling down the landing to the knob of the staircase railing, round the corner, down the twelve steps feeling for the end of the left wall for the last step.  Then to the fridge.  Then to the bench.  Then to my chair.  That was the most common of my flight paths for the weekend.  Unhappily, however, my sister thought it would be a good idea to leave her travelling suitcase in the middle of the lounge room and I fell over that with a fairly loud "ooouuuufffff!!!" 

Also, my brother, though definitely my most delightful and considerate helper for the weekend, was not brilliant at directing me, and I bashed into the bottom step of the staircase before he had a chance to say "step!"  Ah well.  Such cases as these and when everyone left me and I couldn't find anyone or anything to show me where I was...  Though being blind gave was a great excuse for everything, as my brother would say "with great power comes great disability". 

For the rest, I basically dozed, thinking all the while, not about things I should be doing, but rather about things that I might do some time long into the future just for the fun of it.  It was a very valuable time for thinking things through at tortoise pace.  It was a time of slow, warm, dark, hibernation, or rather dormancy, like a chrysalis stage for a butterly, rumination or germination.  It was quite unconnected to life as we know it.  

Ending it was interesting, because I expected the contrast to be greater.  But asides from a sort of glowy, strobe-light-like buzz, I was completely fine.  Since Dad had folded tissues up in front of my eyes, I couldn't even complain of itchy eye gunk farming yeast in my pupils.  I really feel as though nothing happened - as though the whole experience was just a dream. 

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