"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Nov 1, 2017

Lazy Eyes

This is how I see:
So you can imagine my difficulty while driving.  OR catching a ball; pouring liquid from one container into another; plucking my eyebrows; hitting ANY target. Years ago, before I received help from Uncle Sam, I tried to earn money in a variety of ways, including being a ‘trimmer’ for a medical marijuana grower. Only trouble was it took me three snips to finally hit the buds, so out of sympathy they moved me to transplanting tomatoes.

From a distance things seem fine, but as a subject gets closer it gets a bit weird. I’m never certain when my double vision will begin, but it makes my eyeballs screwy and my head hurts until they back away.
It’s taken me over 50 years to understand this affliction, and how to correct it: close my right eye. I’ve learned how to navigate with one eyeball so that’s not a problem, but I was forced to give up flying lessons since I kept bouncing down the runway.  I’m lucky I didn’t land on a prickly pear while skydiving in New Mexico.

I was born with a Lazy Eye, but you couldn’t tell at first.  Check out those baby blues! At birth I was almost 10 pounds and my Mom, 5 feet tall with narrow hips, was in trouble; so they yanked me out with forceps. I’m lucky they didn’t punch holes through my scalp (as they had on others) or I would not be here to entertain you today. But the forceps did stretch the eye muscle and surgery in the 50’s was not what it is today.

This is how I looked growing up. You cannot imagine how frustrating it was to speak to someone and have them look over their shoulders. Even after my eye was corrected (cosmetically, but not visually), around the onset of menopause, I'll point to my Left eye and say This is the good one; especially if speaking to another Lazy Eye’d person.

Here lately I’ve mentioned to new acquaintances that if anyone waves or comes from the right, I can’t see them. It seems like I'd be able to, but the eye doesn't focus and it's basically useless. It’s possible in retrospect that throughout my life many people just assumed I was blowing them off.  If I was tired or drinking the eye drifted even further, causing me to comment to pal Mary,

“I’m the only person I know who can walk into a bar, say Hello, to one person and get responses from two different directions.”

It’s not so bad. I could have looked like Marty Feldman, and I have learned to compensate. Whenever I drive a new-used vehicle, I take someone along to tell me when I'm in the middle of the road; then I just line up the white line with some part of the hood. It works, more or less.

Without any depth perception, I need to handle whatever I'm painting because I can't tell when the brush actually hits the surface until it does. That took time to accomplish with the rocking of the boat, you can imagine. 

The worst part's hitting my head against things I don’t see. I helped at an Alpaca shearing and kept running in to a stupid bicycle hung from the ceiling in the barn. The Shearer finally asked,

“You gonna keep doing that?” I felt foolish, but kept it up all afternoon because I needed the hundred bucks. 

Perhaps that’s why I’m stubborn: whenever someone says I can’t do something I keep at it until it knocks me out. Imagine the frustration of a child who can’t hit a bullseye or catch a ball, no matter how hard they practice? No wonder I enjoyed Crab Soccer so much. Can you picture me at darts? It's a good thing I’m not a man or I’d be in real trouble.

I’ve been distracted my entire life, is that surprising? Nowadays I’d probably be diagnosed with ADD. My parents tried the recommended eye patch-while-reading exercises, until they realized it was as useless for straightening my eye as prayer (I can say, now that Mom’s gone). No sense asking, “Did they try’s” or “Couldn’t you have’s?”  It’s all water under the proverbial bridge and I managed anyway.

There’s no escaping my skewed vision unless I’m asleep; during which time life’s in wonderful 3D, or at least what I IMAGINE 3D to be. Who’s going to tell me otherwise?

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