Putting on the Blinders

 In Aging, SHIFT

I know I see far more than I need to. That is the stuff that neurotics are made of. Just on the physical level, peripheral vision can be distracting, if not downright dangerous. I hate it when those concrete barriers they put up when freeways are being repaired hem me in. I get claustrophobic from the closeness of the wall as it flashes past and seems to envelope me. I can feel my head begin to race as my foot lifts off the accelerator. I always have the sensation of being one of the Star fighters in Star Wars hurtling through the narrow corridors of the Death Star. One false move and I am history.

This same ability to see almost in a complete circle plagues me in my teaching profession. As I’m “standing and delivering” I am simultaneously aware of every motion in my wide field of vision. I become distracted on my left by Sally and Ralph off in la-la land. In the back of the room two guys are trying to be sly as they exchange airborne rubber bands.

To my right are a few kids nodding out (and I thought this stuff was exciting!), while at least two others are trying to sneak in doing homework for another class instead of paying attention in mine. Seeing all of the commotion wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t fall to the temptation of correcting behavior as I go. Having just eyes in the back of my head would be a blessing.

The situation is no better on the home scene. I can even see around corners, behind closed doors and through locked gates. I am not able to keep up with all that cries out for attention. I must get to that closet that needs reorganizing, but I still haven’t conquered the mildew in the shower. My thoughts are interrupted by the steady beep of the clothes dryer demanding more, more, and the empty shelves and drawers crying out to be once again occupied by neatly folded cloth articles. As I pass the fresh tiled floor demanding grout sealer, I flee to my refrigerator refuge. Every time I open the fridge, my olfactory nerves are assaulted reminding me of long-neglected leftovers I had fully intended to use. They now resemble out-of-control science experiments that look capable of walking out on their own.

I look out the window to get relief from the compulsive urge to fix things within. I feel my mind soothed as I peer out at my perfect peace roses. Oh, but that picture window is hard-water stained from the sprinkler. When did those awful weeds get so tall in the perennial beds? I am overwhelmed in every direction. There are weeds taking over the garden, crab grass choking the roses, ripe plums dropping from the tree, and drying lawn swaying in the hot breeze. Enough!

I would have thought that as my field of vision diminishes with age that I might be less distracted as I do see less. Instead, however, my ”vision” only seems accelerated by time passing. I find myself even more compulsive about what needs to be done as I feel the years fly by.

I suppose I have to develop selective vision the way most of us have acquired selective hearing. I always wondered why people put blinders on horses. I guess blinders make sense for peopl

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  • j.d. ruby

    I love this, Momboo! And I agree, seeing too much is … a double edged sword. Can we ever give ourselves permission to NOT see? Yes. We must. And (to keep us humble) think of how much we DON’T see!

    Also… I think that this should be categorized in “Teachers and Education.” Most of them would know exactly what you are talking about. And I think you should add “Teacher” and “Seeing too much” and “Star Wars(!)” to your tags…


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