Friday, April 24, 2009

Seeing in the Dark

An actor, new to the agency, was watching me type last week.

"Don't you ever look at the keyboard?" he asked. I thought about it, and then looked at the keyboard, and realised that there are lots of keys that I don't understand and a whole number pad on the right that I've never ever used. But I learned to touch type years ago, and the answer is no, I don't ever look at the keyboard. In fact, with a keyboard I'm used to, like this one, I'm not really aware of its existence - I just seem to think what I want to write and it appears on the screen.

I was reading a magazine article this week about a blind actress who has just joined the cast of Emmerdale. Actually, I was struggling to read it rather as I'd been hanging around waiting a lot, reading a lot of small print, and my eyes were now refusing to focus properly. So I was peering at this article about the actress and her blindness and then read the chilling phrase "and I went blind in five months, because of my diabetes."

I'm diabetic, of course, and my eyesight's always been rather rubbish, though it's not too bad with glasses. But I dread losing my sight, primarily because I'd hate not to be able to see my family, my friends, the countryside, the sea and some favourite photographs and paintings. So I'm hoping that blindness won't happen to me.

However, I wrote recently about how, in everyday life, I just tend to see what I expect to see, and not what's actually there.

Today I had a rather surprising proof of this.

In the middle of the interesting meeting I was attending at Leeds University today, there was a power cut. This didn't matter to us - the room had windows and all it meant were that the lights in the ceiling went out and the room got a little bit darker.

The power cut continued until we finished out meeting and set off to go home. Andrea and I decided to go to the Ladies on the way out of the building. But, of course, when we peered in the lights were off and the only light was the daylight coming in where we'd opened the door.

"Oh, I'll go to the ones downstairs," said Andrea, but I was leaving the building a different way and thought I'd just use the ones where we were.

So I went in, went to the loo, hanging my bags on the hook on the door - you may remember that one of my pet hates is when women put their handbag on the toilet floor and then a few minutes later put it on the restaurant table. Then I flushed the loo, came out, washed my hands, dried them, and came out - - - all in the pitch dark, with no problem at all. I just seemed to know where everything was, because I've been in those loos many times.

I do wonder if I go through all the everyday stuff of life in touch-typing mode - - seeing things, but not noticing them. Perhaps that's why, when I see a stunning view in the countryside, I like it so much. I'm wondering - - is it just me? Or do other people have ways of not seeing, too?


Blogger Debby said...

I think that sometimes we all go through life with blinders on. I really try to notice the small things. The beautiful things every single day.

1:00 am  
Blogger Andy Holroyd said...

I was caught in the power cut too, but I remembered that the disabled toilet on the next floor had emergency lighting :)

I've no idea what caused the cut though. It's Saturday morning now and most of the computer systems are still down.

Best wishes

9:36 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I call it being on auto-pilot. Doing things without realizing it. Driving a car and suddenly realizing you don't remember a thing about the past five miles. That sort of thing.

Happens to the most creative and brilliant among us, touch-typers all.

8:55 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Debby - you're right!
Andy - good to hear from you, I'm amazed that someone caught in the same power cut has found my blog - thank you!
RWP - - I agree, I think I do a lot of things on auto-pilot, perhaps because I'm always so busy. I'll try to do it less in future.

9:32 pm  

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