I had leftover sweet potato fries for lunch. Yeah, it’s that kind of day. I can’t focus. The city is bumpy and screeching outside my windows and I can smell summer approaching. I know that spring has only recently officially begun, but there is no Spring here, not really. I fell on the sidewalk, while walking the dogs and gawking at the monstrous buildings that are popping up like weeds in Hollywood. I got a bit scraped up and bruised. Why does falling hurt more when you’re almost 49? And almost blind? I cry when I fall, not because it hurts, but because it reminds me. I am resenting Zelda (my white cane, for those who haven’t been introduced) and RP and middle age. I should be working on poetry. I am writing this blog post instead.
So, Zelda and I have not parted ways, but we are not exactly friends. I still take her with me, most places, but I don’t use her. She feels like a chain around my neck. I don’t feel like I need her, until I do. I feel like I am almost normally sighted, until I am on the ground or colliding inappropriately with a stranger. It is being in the in-between that is so frustrating, so demoralizing. I am blind but I am not. I can see, but I can’t. Where the fuck do you go with that? I live precariously on the best of days and foolishly on the days that seem to sink beneath my feet. I don’t feel self pity, I feel angry, at my disease, at Zelda, at the invisibility of my blindness and the balancing act it forces me into.
I cried the other night and told Joe I didn’t want any of this shit; No RP, No Zelda, No fucking tightrope. I think all people need these moments. I allow myself these sojourns into frustration (ok, yeah, maybe it is a bit of self pity), but I allow myself to climb out of them as well. I don’t know if I would truly feel alive without the sensations of both falling and rising.
The truth is, I think I need Zelda mostly as an indication to other people that I am visually impaired. People expect me to be able to see them, to move out of the way. Why wouldn’t they? I find myself standing as close as I can to Joe when we are out, using him as a sort of shield. This isn’t fair to him. And, even though Zelda’s case leaves her exposed, it isn’t enough to really warn people of impending collisions. To be fair, I don’t actually have a lot of falls or collisions – I have gotten really good at navigating with impaired sight – but near falls and collisions happen with frequency, or so I am told.
After I climbed out of my self pity enclosure, I decided that I would get a smaller cane, something that doesn’t feel like such a burden to me, but will make it clear to strangers that I have some vision challenges. People avoid the hell out of you when you carry a white cane.
In the UK, they have something called an identification cane, but we are, as ever, behind the times, so my option here is a slightly shorter, skinnier cane. Zelda is about shoulder height and it feels awkward to just carry her around without going through the motions of what she was designed for. So, I will retire Zelda, get the new cane and give it a pretty name, and see what happens.
For today, here in my house, wearing pajamas and trying to write poetry…..I don’t want fucking RP, I don’t want blindness, I don’t want Zelda. And while I am at it, I don’t want to be fucking middle-aged. At least I can bid farewell to one of them.