Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Have No Idea Who You Are

My eyesight has not improved perceptibly; the current strategy of bringing both fields of view into closer vertical alignment is better than nothing, but not as good as obscuring one eye, and a lot bigger pain in the neck. I'm going to change, but not until I'm back in the UK for good… I have too much to do before then.

One of the ways in which my vision sucks is the effective lag I have in forming a picture and passing it on for recognition. My eyeballs are fine. The muscles controlling my eyeballs are not. So the visual data I send to my brain is in constant motion. It's a lot like having a shaky cam on each eye and trying to make sense out of the picture when they're combined with built-in displacement and shaking inconsistently.

I can do it; I form an image. It's slow though: it takes me seconds, not milliseconds. In practice, that means I have no idea who I'm passing on the street until they are past me, unless there is some other input. To give you an idea how bad it can be, I didn't recognize my own father on the street until he spoke.

It's easier when people speak: there's nothing wrong with my hearing, nor with the recognition itself, just the basis for recognition. Context can make it easier, too: if I'm expecting to see a certain person in a given place, then I can more quickly fill in the visual gaps to confirm that I'm actually seeing that person not someone roughly similar.

Happily for everyone else, there is no need to cross the street to avoid me: I won't recognize you. Sadly, the pleasure of running into someone and chatting is lost to me: I can't see who you are, let alone pick up the subtle cues that tell me if you want to chat.

On balance, I think this has made me more gregarious. I'll talk to pretty much anyone, but it's probably because I have no idea who they are.

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