Sitting in my living room I shot the breeze with my flatmate Joe. He sat on the old squeaky couch, his baggy gym shorts and t-shirt rumpled around his small frame. I perched cross legged on the giant sagging chair. Outside our neighbors did yardwork.
“Babies are ugly,” he said.
“They totally are. I came out with one eye closed and a yellow face.”
“But that’s what makes humans so unique. We love something ugly for longer than any other animal takes care of its young. I mean technically the human baby should be inside its mother until it can do stuff on it’s own. That’s what other animals do. A horse comes out ready to run.”
Whenever my eye contact with Joe wandered, I focused on the rustling tree leaves outside. The fall is coming in warm and windy this year.
Our conversation was not linear or circular, simpy scattered. The next thing I remember is talking about wearing glasses and how much of a handicap the sight-impaired encounter on a daily basis.
“You roll over to check the time in the middle of the night and you can’t. You’ve got to find our glasses, get them on your face, check the time, and then spend all the more effort getting back to sleep. I like to just roll over, look, and go back to sleep.”
“My glasses are the worst when I’m hiking. I keep pushing them back up my nose over and over as I keep sweating. And I have to wear them because I can’t put my contacts in when I’m waking up in a tent. Plus they’re so much extra to carry.”
“Do you know the thing about your senses adding up to one?”
“No.” I liked that Joe read so much nonfiction. His solid facts helped me tie down my feathery fiction-fed mind.
“I heard that everyone’s senses add up equally so that if you’ve got one really bad one, your body makes up for it by being better than average at some of the others. I have a terrible sense of taste and smell but I’ve got 20/10 eyesight,” he explained.
I didn’t know too much about the number system for rating sight, but I knew I had bad eyes. I started running my fingers over the orange wall behind me and then smelling my hand. I hoped I made up for my horror vision with super-sensory touch and smell.
“Did you ever stick your hand in those little boxes at nature museums where you had to guess what was inside? That was so terrifying!” Remembering this made me feel good, not on account of a sensory experience, but due to a retrograde run in my head back to the nostalgia of my childhood.
Joe smiled and said yes, he did remember the shocking moment when tiny fingers met the contours of deer bones and fox teeth set in jaws which once pierced skin much tougher and wilder than ours.
My Saturday morning crumbles into being, delicate and soft.