How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Tunnel Vision

There was a tv show perhaps some time in the 1990s, that talked about a dad and his son who had some sort of degenerative eye disease. Meaning, their eyesight was being eaten away by something like maybe a bacteria. Whereas once upon a time, they could look and see everything, now their eyesight was becoming more and more narrow. 

It sounded like they were gradually starting to look through a more and more narrow tube, like a toilet paper tube. And all you can see is the circle out the other side of the tube. 

I remember being fascinated with this story, and also frightened. I love color so much. There is a question sometimes that people ask each other: “if you had to lose either your sight or your hearing, which would you rather lose?” I have never known what I would answer to this question. I love music with a passion. I have played violin for as long as I can remember. I have listened to all kinds of music my whole life. My mom used to take me to jazz bars when I was a kid. My dad would take me to go hear folk singers.

Some day, I will share stories here about my dad’s encounters with Bob Dylan and Ella Fitzgerald. My dad took me to the Smithsonian Folk Life festival. I sat in orchestras playing music for decades. I love music with a vibrant passion. When people ask me, “what kind of music do you like?” The only response I can give is: “everything except church organ music and bluegrass.” I love music. 

I also love color. I love using my eyes all day long to look at the sky, the trees, my sons’ faces, my sweet puppy girl. I love to paint, draw. I used to draw cartoons for my school newspapers. I have even illustrated a few books on “how to yoyo” with my dad who wrote them. My dad was Stuart Crump Jr., “Professor Yo-Yo.” You can find his books on Amazon.

I love matching colors and thinking about colors. 

My life feels completely rich with color and music surrounding me. 

I can’t imagine having to choose between “if you had to lose either your sight or hearing, which would you choose?” I don’t think I would be able to choose. 

I use my hearing (I memorize voices) to compensate for the fact that my eyesight is so poor. People call me on the phone and I know who they are from the moment they say, “hello.” I may not be able to picture their face, but I know their voice. 

One time, our family found an old cassette of our grandmother’s voice reading a paper she wrote. I knew instantly it was her voice. Her own daughter didn’t even know what the recording was. She said, “what’s that?” And I was perplexed. I finally realized she didn’t even know the sound of her own mom’s voice. To me, it was as clear as a bell coming through the cassette speakers. 

Would I choose to lose my sense of hearing or my sense of sight? I hope neither. And, I hope my eyesight will get better and better. I hope I don’t lose the extra amount of hearing I have long relied on. I love being able to hear things from far away. Birds, my sons when they were babies, music at a festival from far away, the band practicing at the local high school — drums reverberating around the neighborhood. 

Would you be able to choose - between having sight or sound taken away? What would you pick? 


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