Before the kids go to bed, they like to have either Heather or I sing them a song. (Even Ian, though I don’t think he would ever admit this to anyone other than Heather and I and he certainly wouldn’t let anyone other than Heather and I sing the song)
We gave up long ago on singing any sort of traditional songs. Now the kids suggest a topic and Heather and I have to make up a song on the spot. For Heather and I the singing improve is either exciting or annoying, depending on our mood and the topic.
Ian has taken the process a step further and will let Heather or I chose our own song topic, though he has the right to veto our selection. Heather tends to go with the safer topics, while I lean to the more obscure. “Cheddar is my favorite cheese” or “I wear socks on my ears because it scares the cat” are just a few samplings of my song styling skills.
The other night I launched into “We close our eyes when we sleep because it is dark out and there wouldn’t be anything to see anyway.” After finishing the song I had a thought, “Do blind people turn on lights in their house?”
I don't mean any disrespect, but it wasn’t something I had ever thought about before. If you are blind, why bother turning lights on in a room? It isn’t going to help you move around the room or find things more easily. A person robbed of their vision relies on their other senses and other means to navigate through the physical world.
This thought conjured the image in my head of a blind person coming home from work at night, moving about their apartment or house, making dinner, doing dishes, reading, whatever – all while the house remains completely pitch black inside. Factual or not, that image fascinated me.
For someone with no vision, there would be no light needed to aid seeing of things. Even if lights were turned on, how would the totally blind person know when the light bulbs burned out and needed replacing? For that matter, how would they know if the light was turned off or on? They could be flipping a switch every night when they come home and actually be turning the light off, when the light had been on all day while they were at work.
How would a blind person necessarily know when the power went out? I’m sure not hearing a radio or the computer not responding would be an indicator. But when the power comes back on, how are the alarm clocks reset? How do you know that you’ve set the clock to the right time?
I’m sure that there is technology today that allows someone who is blind to easily overcome these obstacles (i.e. 'talking' clocks), but I imagine things were more challenging twenty or thirty years ago. But those sorts of details are something I’d never considered before.
I often wonder what it would be like to be blind. I think most people still graced with their vision ponder about things like that. Mostly I’ve thought about all the activities or hobbies I wouldn’t be able to do and about how life changing losing my ability to see would be. But it wasn’t until singing Ian that goofy song that I thought about the little details of being blind. It made me appreciate more how much of our world is a visual world, and that there is so much of that visual world that people with sight take for granted.