Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Walk

It's become a tad colder here in Toronto of late. Almost as if it's seasonal. Phrases like "wind chill" are being heard frequently these days.

I was walking home last night, and had opted to bundle up. Coat done up, scarf wrapped up to my nose, and ears covered. I'm fighting with a cold you see, and didn't want to offer it more ammunition.

The thing about that configuration is that all my breath gets funneled upwards. Being a warm-blooded creature, my breath is hot in comparison to the outside temperature. Being myopic, I've been known to wear glasses. This was the case last night.

So the glasses instantly fogged up, causing a near-complete lack of vision. I dropped my head and peered over the rims of my spectacles and saw the world through the usual vaseline smear that is my near-sightedness. Without some sort of corrective lens in place, my vision is at best, rudimentary. Colours and the roughest ideas of shapes are visible.

So I had a choice, the fogged-up non-vision of my glasses, the blurry impressionism of my warped eyes, or I could take my nose out of my scarf.

I didn't have enough tissue left for the last option to be pleasant. Besides, I knew the walk home like the back of my hand, and after listening to talk about the role of absences in film, I figured this would be an interesting way to see the world.

So I walked, peering over my frames at the blurred surroundings I passed. People I couldn't discern from the dark background until they were a few feet away, and whose faces I'd never see, passed me by, seeing their world clearly. Cars became moving headlights, and my eyes were constantly watching the ground in front of me for splotches of shadow that could be ice. At one point, I nearly got angry at a parking meter for not moving, until I realized what it was.

The soundtrack to my promenade was the voices of those I passed and the noises a city makes on a cold winter night. It was a playlist that was both soothing and revealing. Echoes of John Cage sitting silently at a piano.

Eventually, I was a few blocks from home and decided to drop the scarf and readjust my glasses. I was passing through an area I'd rather be able to see than not. As the fog on my lenses cleared, the remaining, partially-frozen condensation shattered the world into crystalline shapes. Lights sparkled, and reflections were moving bursts. Slowly, the world came into focus around this stained glass filter. The tower that symbolizes my city stood solitary against the night sky in front of me, welcoming me back to the world of the sighted.

I turned a corner, pulled the scarf back up, and returned to the far more interesting world I'd just left. Knowing I had only a block left before the warmth of my home cleared everything back up again.

Sometimes, the world needs to be seen from a different perspective.

1 comment:

BamBam said...

Amazing read!

In a bizarre twist, I have the exact same issue. Well, in reverse that is. My issues are from about 36 inches and in. That part of the world carries a haze for me, not unlike your vaseline reference.

Although glasses can often bring clarity beyond belief, I frequently feel rather inspired and far more creative, when I leave them at home and go with the flow.