A few months ago, a question was posed to someone on my Twitter timeline: which would you choose?—to be blind or deaf.
Allowing myself to step into existentialist and hypothetical clothing and footwear, the latter pairing of which i’d rather not do normally, i decided that if i was given the proverbial poison choice, it’d be to deafen the cacophany of reality rather than cover the visions of lives.
In a quick expanse of the possibilities and hindrances of each, it was quite simple to choose, actually.
Knowledge and experiences are the crux of my happiness; they are the foundations of my world. I’ve learned more from reading and writing than listening. Easily. I’m more of a visual learner than aural (and more kinesthetic than either of the two).
Being stripped of the key ability necessary to both reading and writing words, visualizing and carrying out a task or witnessing an event, would disable me. It’d be a most discouraging and depressing occurence in my life.
The litany of changes is too stacked: audio books, text-to-speech website readers, seeing-eye dog or walking stick, admiring beautiful things, enjoying library book-browsing, mirror-gazing, ad infinitum.
I’m very mercurial as is; i’m very malleable and adaptive; and i’m admittedly and proudly vain; but that proposed combinate is too much, is too impactful on a myriad of known and unbeknownst facets of my life.
Being open to alternatives, for the first item I’m aware that braille is an option. But the process of learning a secondary way of reading, especially at post-adolescent age and via a separate sense and function (touch), it would be an increasingly frustrating, daunting task.
Furthermore, I’m not a fan of audio books even now; they cannot be annotated and unless there’s a professional voicing the words, the quality has a higher chance of being subpar, especially for small-budget titles. It’s a scary prospect.
And, even scarier: how would I write in general? Nearly impossible. Sure, I could type, but the process of revising via TTS is cumbersome. The autodidactic within would slowly be consumed by malnutrition and a broken heart.
Blindness would put a stopper on two key elements and pastimes that produce knowledge in my life. It would also destroy any chances of other things, like playing basketball, videogames, witnessing the birth of my child(ren), gazing into someone’s eyes, enjoying the latest fashion (fails and fads), beer pong, wasting hours viewing family and friends photos on Facebook, etc.
Underneath all, however, lays a carpeted behemoth. There is an organic dependence element with blindness that is active more than with deafness. I shudder at the thought of being wholly or even increasingly dependent on another person for anything. The prospect and unfortunately hopeful actuality of being a senior dependent upon a child or a relative, or worse, a hired worker or stranger, is also a matter of trepidation, but one that is saved for another time—ideally decades upon decades hence.
This choice was not without at least one point of contention. I am an audiophile; without being too literal, if books are my victuals of meat, music is my libation. Playing music, only to be able to watch its visualization, while reading the liner notes and lyrics, doesn’t sound (no pun) too enjoyable. But it’d be more agreeable than its alternative.
Here’s to the future: hoping that this choice will never come to pass, that i can enjoy all of my faculties during a long, fruitful life.
As usual, thanks for reading.