Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

I’m doing a show tonight at the Make Out Room in San Francisco called “Mortified” which is a show that stars everyday adults sharing aloud their most embarrassing, pathetic and private teenage diary entries, poems, love letters, lyrics and locker notes… in front of total strangers,” — a kind of “personal redemption through public humiliation” so to speak.

I’m reading some diary entries from when I was in Junior High School, and participating has made me acutely aware of how much I love imperfection and the perspective it affords.

The journal entries I’m reading concern themselves with my adolescent crush on a boy named Aaron, and the ways in which I decided I would go about changing all the things wrong with me in order to win his love — a typical story of trying to change one’s literal and metaphorical glasses and braces, if you will. (You can, if you like, read the diary entries here.)

The wonderful (and essential) thing about this show, of course, is that a bunch of “pathetic crap” (as the Mortified website calls it) written in childhood now serves to entertain others. If we were all perfect in Junior High there would be fewer hilarious stories to tell, and might I venture to say, fewer interesting people in this world; people shaped by the embarrassing, trying, and dispiriting experiences of their youth.

Yes, I just included myself in that group. But I think it’s true that I’m a lot more well rounded (or at least just learned some good lessons) due to the fact that I was a relative dork as a kid. A really, big, dork.

With all this perspective-inducing, imperfection-loving going on, this morning when I awoke to heavy sheets of rain — and the reality of having to wear my glasses today, having lost one of my contacts over the weekend — I decided to go for broke: I removed my glasses walked to work without any visual aid.

I am legally blind.

I didn’t get glasses until I was twelve.

When I was eleven-and-a-half, my mom finally realized there was a problem when she took me to McDonald’s and I couldn’t even read the neon menu right in front of me.

Yes, I was literate at the time.

As such, walking to work without the ability to see anything more than two feet in front of my face afforded me a particularly unique experience; it fundamentally changed how I felt, my actions, who I was. It was utter Monet

1. I was less sure-footed, both physically and mentally. I had less balance, was less confident crossing the street, and had to walk much more slowly for fear of running into people. Luckily, the traffic lights were easy enough to follow (thank goodness I’m not also colorblind…) but I had a hard time crossing the street where there were no lights, nor people; there might have been an errant car without its headlights on that I was just unable to see. When normally I would make a dash, I didn’t sprint to cross the street on the blinking red hand (manifested as simply a flashing red blob), because I couldn’t see the numbers count down; couldn’t tell how many seconds I had left.

2. I had to trust people more because often I would rely on them to indicated my own movements. I couldn’t see their faces, their legs blurred into the street which rendered them phantom-like splotches of color, canopy’s of umbrella-halos hovering above them. I could, however, follow their movement, and when they crossed the street, I crossed the street; I had to trust that they knew what the hell they were doing.

3. I felt both more present and less present. I had to pay a lot more attention to my surroundings and depend on my other senses more heavily. I also, however, felt more isolated, being unable to see other’s eyes or facial expressions nor words on buildings or even at one point any defined objects at all (walking through the Financial District was rather harrowing, when the presence of the buildings limited the amount of light that filtered down until I couldn’t see anything but shades of charcoal and grey and shadow.) It was as if my inability to see these other things meant they had an inability to see me; I felt almost invisible; it was as if without proof of reflection, the mirror doesn’t exist.

4. I got a lot, more, wet. I got soaked, in fact. It took me much longer to get to work, thus more time in the rain, because I had to proceed so slowly. Additionally, I stepped in countless puddles, because I — well — couldn’t see them.

Sitting now in front of my computer, getting ready for work, my pants are drenched and I feel a little pathetic. Coworkers are wondering why I didn’t just take the bus. I tell them I needed a little change in perspective.

And my mom said I should Lasik surgery. Pfft.

§143 · February 27, 2006 · Love Project · · [Print]

2 Comments to “Imperfection Cum Change in Perspective”

  1. marc says:

    don’t catch a cold!

  2. marc says:

    and knock ‘em dead tonight!

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