Wednesday, October 06, 2010

head troubles

For the most part, I don't often think about my lack of depth perception.  (Though to this day one of my all-time favorite movie moments is that scene in Wayne's World where our intrepid hero is in bed with his girlfriend and they show him looking at her first through one eye and then through the other, with him saying, "Camera One, Camera Two."*  This is how I see all the time, except I do it with both eyes open and end up seeing double sometimes and get lots of headaches.)

For the most part, as I said, I don't think about it much.  The body learns to compensate for any number of deficiencies, and given that I've had this particular deficiency since the tender age of six months, my body has learned to compensate pretty well.

But then there are these odd moments every now and again when it comes crashing back in.

Like being made physically ill by Avatar, just for example.

Or the time a few months back when I reached for a door handle and, well, you know how when you know you're going to be pulling on something heavy your body preemptively starts to lean back?  Let's just say I've learned not to be quite so preemptive, as I completely missed the door handle and barely caught myself from crashing backwards onto the sidewalk.  In front of many people.

Or those moments of crushing vertigo when descending or ascending stairs, especially stairs with no backs or stairs made of glass, like at Apple stores or Soho's Uniqlo.  (And that scene towards the end of season one of Dollhouse, when Alpha is still playing Kepler and terrified of the stairs?**  Love, love, love that scene.)

And then there was the other day, in the bathroom at work, when I reached over to get some paper towels and thwacked my head into the paper towel dispenser.  As Nick pointed out, that one was special even for me -- a motion, a physical action, performed almost daily still getting the best of me (and with the lump, if small, to prove it).

Yes, it's been one of those weeks.  Sore of head and bruised of ego, though luckily, at least, no one was around to hear the crash or the ensuing curses.

* Take a look at this nifty little  online depth perception test.  I can't do the first part at all but I can do the second part with both eyes open.  What about you?

**Stephen Kepler: The stairs lack risers!
Paul Ballard: What?
Stephen Kepler: The vertical part that makes the back of each stair is called a riser.
Paul Ballard: I know what they are!
Stephen Kepler: No, no, wait! Please. Sometimes when I go on stairs that don’t have risers I get this feeling, this awful sensation, that’s somethings going reach out and grab my ankle, like a claw or a tentacle!
Paul Ballard: This is life or death!
Stephen Kepler: It could be a hand! An ordinary hand!


marie said...

That sucks! I'm glad you've mostly learned to compensate, but sorry it's been such a rough week in the depth-perception department.

Victoria said...

Oliver Sacks has produced some interesting articles and lectures on the subject (book due out soon... I can't wait!)
And at least one really amusing talk with the guys from Radio Lab.
Lemme see if I can dig up a link...