I don't mean this in any squishy metaphorical sense, though I'm sure that people that know me well might be able to make a case for that. I mean literally, legally blind. There's a little note on my driver's license which says, essentially, if I ever drive without my glasses on, they can haul my ass in for reckless endangerment, and frankly, I wouldn't blame them. Uncorrected, I'm 20:500 in one eye, and 20:700 in the other. Don't cry for me, when I pop on my spectacles in the morning, my vision's as good as anybody elses. I suppose in times past I'd've been eaten by lions or something, but there's no real point in dwelling on that.

However, thanks to a combination of genetic defect and the simple but priceless technology of corrective lenses, I get to live in two different worlds of visual perception. You wouldn't realize it to see me, but when I pop my glasses off for a minute, or slide them way down my nose and stare over the edges, I'm actually looking at the world as an Impressionist painting.

Everything is the same but different. Past four or five feet, everything's bright colors, vague shapes, blurred motion. If I do this somewhere I know well, or if I just peer over the edges of the lenses at somewhere I've already seen, my mind tries to impose the ghost of form on the new indistinctness. Sometimes, I'll walk someplace new without my glasses on, try to guess or imagine at what it actually looks like, and see how different the truth is from my picture in my head.

One year when I was young, I went away to summer camp, and since the camp was mostly for sports, I didn't take my glasses; I'd figured they'd only get broken. My vision wasn't quite that bad then, or at least I don't remember it that way. But memory plays tricks. I stayed at that camp for a month, and by the end of the month, I'd convinced myself that my vision was barely any better with my glasses than without it. I'd got on fine, after all. Then, when the month was up, I went home. Didn't bother with my glasses at first, since after all, I'd established that I didn't really need them. Then, that afternoon that I got back, I figured I should at least see the difference, and slipped them on.

Instant satori. I hadn't lived my whole life in the world of blurs and distance and formlesness, but my memory painted everything that way, because after all, I'd decided that my vision was pretty near perfect anyway. And then, imagine it all coming into focus, the tumblers on the lock of the vault marked Vision clicking and falling open in a second.

There's a non-zero chance, that with my vision already as bad as it is, I could end up, by the end of my life, incorrectibly blind. It's not likely, but it's not inconcievable either. I wonder what that'd be like. How long it would take me to forget what it's like to see. How long it would take for my dreams to blur and smear away. I see the blind people walking down the streets with their white canes, and I wonder what it would be like to slide away into their world.

If you fix a set of mirrors in front of somebody's eyes, so everything in their field of vision is inverted, in few days or a week, their mind makes the switch and everything seems rightside-up again. Once you take the mirrors away again, it takes just as long for everything to switch back and up go back to being up, down to down. Seeing is trickier than we think.

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