Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moving Away From Me: Other Ways of Thinking

I have an unusual problem with my body, and it's nothing to do with my joints. My depth perception doesn't work right. I don't know why. Yes, I wear glasses, but the prescription is up-to-date, so I can see clearly though both sides, and there isn't any alignment issue being correct.

Fortunately, because my head doesn't shut up, it's always finding ways to get around my body's shortcomings.

I'm sure most people have noticed, and if you haven't, maybe it's due time that you do, that when something gets further away, it looks like it's getting smaller, just as it appears to get bigger when it gets closer. That's my trick. I know how big things appear to be and how big they ought to be, and through some convoluted process in my head than doesn't quite happed automatically, instantly, or consciously, I can tell how far away it is.

This is why I have trouble driving at night. For the most part, I can't see the cars around me, all I see are head-lights and tail-lights. Generally, I can tell how far away they are based on how far apart those two points of light are. Yes, yes, I remember motorcycles, and they're not the only ones I have issues with. There are a lot of cars out there who have a bulb out: I can't tell how far away they are. I know I've pissed off a lot of drivers driving behind me when I refuse to turn in front of a vehicle with one light leading it. It could be a quarter mile away and moving at ten miles-an-hour, or it could be ten feet away and moving at sixty; I can't see a difference.

Daylight is so much easier. I can see the outside shape of things. I know how big cars and trucks and semi-trailers are, and so I can easily tell how far away they are.

There's another side to this.

When walking around in a multi-story shopping mall, I can look over the railing and down at people below me, and with a flip of a switch in my head, they can go from being full-sized people a dozen or so feet below me to miniatures only a dozen or so inches below me. That switch is sometimes easy to flip, and sometimes not, which goes to show that even the connections in my brain aren't free from the issues that I have in my joints.

But at least I've found other ways to think. I can see both the old woman and the young maiden at the same time. I can see the dancer spinning in both directions, and I don't need a minature train set to see the world from a different perspective.