I decided that I don’t really want to spend money on glasses right now. I can always do it later. I can always do this later. I don’t know what the numbers mean that come out of the eye doctor’s machine — you can’t tell — I don’t know what to say. I don’t know! But I started this video because I wanted to say something (laughing). I remember now: it’s been a long time since I’ve been to an eye doctor and it’s neat medicine; it’s a neat science; those guys know their stuff. It’s good. It’s not one of those medical disciplines that you encounter and think, “Wow, what a crap shoot! You guys have nothing! Really!” Eye doctors know what they are doing.
So, I mean, the doctor said I don’t need eyeglasses, by the way, which is nice.
Did you ever feel like life has too many options? Sometimes?
(laughs) I’m not sure what’s funny. Is it my sunglasses? I couldn’t find any that were larger. Or more blue.
When I was a kid, my mom knew a guy who lived on the water — what was it, Neck River Back Crick Neck Co-tom’s Creek Neck Branch, I think? Some kind of water that we have here. And we used to go out on his boat– he had a couple of boats — and I remember one time we went out on his boat to a restaurant.
(If you’ve never done that, try to set up something in your life where you get to do that. You could be a barrel of rum for Halloween, for instance.)
So we went to this crab place, in his boat, and we were sitting there eating crabs, and the poor man, he asked me, “How many crabs can you eat?” and I said, “A dozen,” which is not the right answer. And my mom looked over like, she’s right, she can. I think I was nine.
And I was playing a game with my eyes. I used to play games with my eyes a lot, when I was little. We do this, don’t we? We play with our bodies: what does this do? What does that do? I don’t think we even know half the stuff that we’re learning, when we play with our bodies.
I’ll be making you
I’ll be making you some brand new shooes
Brand new shoes you will get from me
They won’t be the least bit squeaky…
So: I had two games that I would play with my body, when I was little. One, when I was five and six, I was into squinting. Especially at night, I loved to squint. Because you squint, and you can change the shape of the light that you see. And I loved that. So when you see a light, it looks like the shape of whatever the light is coming out of, like a round headlight, but if you squint, you can make that shape into a line, and as you squint more, the line gets longer. And I remember very seriously telling my mom one time — I was lying down in the back of the car, which was my favorite, if I could have the whole backseat, and lie down, maybe with a blanket, and then stare up through the window at the tree branches overhead, and the moon and the stars while she was driving. I didn’t have to drive, I could look. And these streetlights would go by, and I would squint, and change the shape of the light. And I was telling my mom about it. And very seriously, when we got home, and she pulled into next to the house, I said, “Don’t tell Dad that I can squint and change the lights like this.” I think I was 5 or 6. I didn’t want him to know that I had this ability. (laughs)
But this other time, when we went to this restaurant, I had this different game that I was playing. My friend at school and I — I don’t know which one of us had this brilliant idea — but we figured out that if you closed your eyes and put your fingers on top of your eyelids and sortof pressed, for a couple of seconds, then opened your eyes, you’d be blind, for about a second. Less than that maybe. But the world would go black, and you couldn’t see. And I thought that was pretty great.
So we were sitting in this restaurant, waiting for the crabs, and I was bored, so I was pressing my eyes in, and then opening them, and then pressing them in, and then opening them, and this guy asked — the guy who had the boat; my mother was completely ignoring me, which was wise — “What are you doing?” and I said “Well, if you press your eyes in like that for a second, then when you open them you can’t see.” And he said, “Oh, that’s wonderful. I can just picture you at the eye doctor’s, years from now, saying, ‘I remember'” — and now I’m supposed to remember the name of the restaurant, but I don’t — “‘I remember when I was at the X-and-Such-Waterfront-Restaurant, with my friend Mr. Whoever-He-Was ‘” — I know who he was but let’s protect him — ‘”pressing my eyes in.’”*
And I do. He was right.
Brand new shoes from me…
“Doctor, tell me what’s wrong with my piece of meat, I mean, me.”
It almost feels irresponsible to speak during medical exam: No, no, shh, what do you see in there, doc?
“If I breathe deeply I cough.”
“Well, but if you don’t, you don’t, do you.”
If you can imagine your ocular nerve — mine are great, by the way; I just had them checked — you can imagine your ocular nerve sort of threaded back into your brain, right? Connected to something that gives you all of your visual imagery.
What if what it’s connected to is maybe less like a — a pipe, or whatever, and maybe more like — what do you call that? — the cylinder, on a revolver. And so you can spin that cylinder, and you can sortof feel your nerve clicking past different parts of your brain that are better or worse at interpreting what the ocular nerve provides: ‘Loaded…, not loaded…, loaded…, even more loaded…, whatever…, loaded…’
If you empathize with this, you have options, is what I’m saying. It feels like I do have options, at least: that’s what I’m saying! You have to decide, Well, do I want to see that? (laughs) Should I have all six cylinders checked? Or should I pick the worst one? Should I pick a middle one? The best one? (laughs) That was puzzling me a little bit.
I thought, Ummm? More than once.
I went for best.
Just sortof following the doctor’s lead on that.
Because he said, “I don’t think you need glasses yet.” I thought, ‘Alright then. Me neither.’
But this business is not bizarre to — what do you call it — optometry. This is nothing strange to them. They say you either focus or you don’t. If you focus, you’re connecting to different– you are using a muscle– anyway, you change the shape of the eye, but it feels like sortof modifying what you see.
Like squinting. Anyway, those of you who have glasses, maybe this is all old news to you. I don’t.
Maybe what’s different is that I don’t feel like I’m squinting; I don’t think I’m moving my eyes; but I can do some things, I can exercise a kind of effort that will make my vision just horrendous. The thing about spinning that cylinder is that you can’t spin it very quickly. Each time you make a connection like that, the tendency is to stay there, be stuck there. And some of them are really not, not good at all. It’s like they don’t want you to see! You connect to some things that are just — I don’t know, Ew. And I feel like my eyes are crusted shut, that’s how well I’m seeing, but they’re not even. If I wanted to opt to have horrible vision it would be easy.
That’s probably bad. I’ll tell you, I think life is probably more fun when you think you have exactly one ocular nerve connection, and you think, Hey, that’s vision. I’ll not mess with it.
What a skill! It’s a superpower. “She is …. Near-Sighted Girl!”
“Look, in the sky, what is that? Is it a bird or a plane?”
“I don’t know, it’s so fuzzy I really couldn’t say!”
“Thank you, thank you, another day saved by … Near-Sighted Girl!”
Which brings me to a topic I need to decide whether or not I want to discuss. About thought, language, words and aversion. And you know, I just really can’t believe they got a Burgher King here. (pulls into Home Despot parking lot) Good morning, can I have french toast?
2 – walmart
I feel like I missed a good opportunity to talk philosophy wth the eye doctor. “You know, doctor, do you think I even see the same world that you do?”
He’d say, “No, lady, you see a world that is perhaps slightly blurrier.” But I don’t! My vision is fine.
By the way, one of the more dangerous places in the world would be the parking lot of the eye doctor’s. Not some place you’d want to step off the sidewalk without checking first.