Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's a flat, flat, flat, flat world

No, I will not be seeing Beowolf. I have heard that it is a horrendous movie and the fact that it is 3D holds no sway over me.

It's kind of interesting how a person can have something amiss about themselves for years and when they finally figure it out, it's as if a warm beam of understanding shines down on them from the heavens above.

I'm pushing forty, pushing quite hard in fact, and it wasn't until a year or so ago that I finally realized half the reason why I am such a klutz. Now, I have had eye exams from many doctors, and I have taken the motor vehicle eye test and many times failed miserably. Not in the actual "are you blind as a bat" arena, but more in the "are you flat as a mat" arena. It goes a little like this:

Doctor: Look at this picture of a house fly.
Me: OK
Doctor: Try and grab the edge of its wing.
Me: It's a picture
Doctor: Ahh, yeah. Can you see the edge of its wing?
Me: Should I be able to?

Did the doctor say anything after that??? No, he just put the photo aside and scribbled something in my chart. Well, the I thought. That was weird!

And the two or three times in my kid-hood that I had the opportunity to see a 3D movie, I was less than impressed. I watched and became confused. How the hell was 3D any different than any other movie? And for all you people that enjoy 3D movies, here's a little observation: the plot of 3D movies suck. They rely on their effects and when you can't see their effects, you start to pay attention to silly things like plot. I repeat, this is a mistake.

So, I have spent my entire life falling down stairs, tripping on curbs, ramming my shoulders into the wall as I try to navigate corners, and basically having a whole host of bruises on my body at any one time. I played soft ball as a kid and being in the outfield was not only humiliating, it was downright dangerous. For some reason, I was a great catcher and pitcher. I sucked at every other position.

And I got used to being the butt of everyone's joke when it came to being a klutz. I have always wondered what I would say to the nice police officer when he stopped me for public intoxication when I haven't had a drink in months..."Sorry officer, not a drunk, just a klutz!" I have actually run into light poles while walking through the parking lot at a grocery store. Just me, a lot of room to walk, and a damn light pole...a recipe for disaster.

So, imagine my reaction when I was listening to MPR last year and I heard a woman talking about how she was such a klutz, how she could never understand the concept of 3D movies, and how it was hard to walk down a flight of stairs. She discovered late in life that she could not see things in 3D. The world was flat to her and it was, at times, hard to navigate. She described how she saw things and when I heard her talk, I was floored. I thought the way I saw things was the way that everyone saw things. I sat there with my mouth open, totally unable to comprehend that what I was seeing for the past 38 years or so was not what other people saw.

And to top it all off, my eyes focus at different levels. This means that if I actually "look" out of both of my eyes at once, the image that I am looking at jumps up and down by a few inches. My eyes don't work together and rarely do I even use my left eye. I can physically feel it when my vision shifts from right to left eye and it's a little weird. Often, I have to rub my eyes to get rid of the odd feeling and then people ask "Are you in pain?". No, my left eye is just kicking in, that's all.

And the most frightening thing? I have navigated 1000 foot liquified natural gas tankers in the South China Sea and ambulances in busy urban environments. I was passed on all my vision exams by doctors that have no concept what it is like to see things in a flat world. The only eye doctor that raised any concerns was when I had a military physical and after realizing I didn't have 3D vision, he asked in a worried voice "You don't have any hopes of being a pilot, do you?"

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