Sunday, April 05, 2009

Seeing Things Differently

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be different from everybody, there's a little experiment that you can do that will give you the tiniest glimpse into what life is like for those with special needs.

Look, I realize that right now D. doesn't know he's different, and that's sad. And I also know that if he does one day come to realize his differences, that will be a whole new kind of sad. And I'm not saying that my experiment will teach you everything you need to know about empathy -- not at all. But it's a start.

Here it is, so blissfully simple you won't believe it. Wear sunglasses for a whole day, and preferably into the evening, indoors. I give you permission to take them off while driving in the dark -- it's not about obstructing your vision. It's about watching how people react to you.

Basically, I got pinkeye. And in an effort to keep myself from rubbing my eye, and because of the HOLY GOD THAT FREAKING SUN IS BRIGHT, I've been wearing sunglasses. And it's so strange to watch people react to that when I'm in the mall, in a restaurant, whatever, talking to them. They studiously avoid eye contact, and I don't get any casual hellos. It's almost amusing, but it's mostly sad. SUNGLASSES. That's enough to set me apart.

A funny story about the pinkeye. Our friend's baby had it, and then our friend got it, and he came over the other night so I could help him apply for a grant. So the next morning, I had pinkeye, and my mother in law started cursing our "stupid" friend for having the audacity to show up with pinkeye. So I said, "How do you know it's from him? Maybe it was all the dust in your house."

Can you imagine her reaction? Boy, that was the most fun I've had since I arrived here.

I'm so going to hell.


Ani Od Chai said...

OMG - I wish I could have been there to see the look on your mother-in-law's face! Priceless!