According to my globe, Germany is still split into two parts.
Someone must have thrown it out because it was obsolete, and it languished in the garbage until Baxt rescued it and then it found its way to me, festooned in silver garlands. It used to hang over the dining room table in Fort Bragg, and here it sits at the end of a bookshelf. I never built a stand for it: I was too lazy. But it is the sort of globe that is meant to go into a stand.
Sometimes I look at the dualistic Germany and I think about the snapshot in time that this globe represents. Cartography is an ever evolving science, not at all fixed like we seem to think it is.
A friend of mine is going blind. Or something. His maculas are degenerating.
It seems to be crunch time for him now. At first he was having trouble seeing, and he got diagnosed. Now there’s a big black spot flitting across his blurry vision. He writes about it. I am afraid for him, and I also wonder what snapshot in time he will see. It would be strange to walk around the world drinking everything in, thinking that this might be the last thing that I see. This drunk man covered in urine wrapped up in a sleeping bag outside the Transbay, or this suited businessman hurrying down Market Street. This choppy surf spitting up bits of wood and plastic.
Someone screamed at me last night. It filled me with a white hot, bitter anger, which is churning in my stomach. The fact that I will never get an apology, or any sort of acknowledgement that it happened, makes me even angrier. I got a headache and I sat in bed until the early hours of the morning seething with bitterness.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, my father always told me in response to the cruelty of my school “friends”. I think he was hoping that by the time I got around to revenge, my white hot rage would have cooled enough for me to decide it wasn’t worth it.
He was wrong.
After my eye accident, while I was cruising around town with a rakish eyepatch, I couldn’t really see. The vision out of my left eye was blurry and tinged with green. People attributed my unsteady walk and lack of reading comprehension to shock, or maybe stupidity, I’m not sure which. I remember thinking that life would be really unpleasant if this was how I was going to see for the rest of my life. I felt like I was inside an old DOS system.
When the eyepatch came off, the light felt blinding. I wondered how I had gone around all those years in this bright, painful, white light. But I still couldn’t see anything.
Can you see this,, my eye doctor said, while he waved cards in front of my face. I saw dark spots in my vision while clusters of neurons exploded in the back of my head.
During my brief flirtation with blindness, the world totally changed. Sounds and smells became so much more meaningful. My father read Nancy Drew to me until the small hours of the morning. We even played Monopoly, I remember. I rolled the dice and he would move my piece and tell me where I had landed.
Electric Company, he said. Do you want to buy it?
I wonder what my friend will do if he loses his vision. In a world so defined and bounded by visual cues. He says he is going to watch a lot of porn now, to sustain him through the rest of his life. But I wonder what the last thing he will see will be. Or if there will be a last thing at all. Maybe the slippage will be slow and languid, so he won’t realize what he has lost until it is too late.
I realize that holding onto my anger in the face of bigger problems is probably foolish.
But foolishness is such a human trait.
You just landed on Boardwalk, he says. I’ve got a hotel on it. You’re fucked.