Shouldn’t It Be a Cave?

By Nancy Scott

“It’s that fear of darkness thing,” Kathy says. “That’s how we think blindness must be.” We have ordered dinner at Red Robin. Kathy has just finished reading a poem called, “Blindfolded at Yoga.”

“I know you don’t understand colors and you don’t know what seeing is, but I still think you must see something in your head. Like it should be a cave or some other dark place.”

Our sandwiches arrive. “I always think that, if I just find the right words, I could explain seeing. Or at least make you understand colors even though you’ve been blind your whole life.”

“Not possible,” I say. “I understand seeing from an intellectual place. And I know a lot from reading and hearing people talk. But I’ll never know what it is to see.”

“Maybe you see darkness, but you don’t know it.”

“That could be, but I don’t think so. I just don’t see anything. I don’t know light or dark, but it just feels like nothing at all. It’s not scary.”

I decide to change the subject.
“But forget your favorite misunderstanding, let’s talk about mine. How do sighted people get three-dimensional information from flat TV and movie screens and pictures?”

I’ve asked this before. We finish dinner knowing there is no explaining it.

“Do you mind when I ask you this stuff?” Kathy asks as she drives me home.

“Of course not,” I say. “It gives me great writing material and it explains sighted people’s mythologies.”

“I’m glad you don’t see a cave all the time, but I still expect, somehow, that you must see something dark. I’ll work on that, and I’ll work on explaining flat screens. I know you’ll never get it, but that won’t stop me from trying.”

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