She was a tall, pretty blonde girl with a dazzling smile. I learned later from a friend that she had a huge crush for me, but I didn’t know at the time.
I have a distinct memory of holding her very close with my eyes closed. I still remember her perfume. The most striking memory these years later is the warmth that came from her fully developed breasts pressed tight to my teenage chest, a very new experience for me. They seemed to have an infrared set of coils rotating around each one. Their warmth left a 40 year impression. During the dance she would give off involuntary shivers that also remain in my memory. She told a girlfriend, who later told me, that she was trembling from fear of being that close to her crush. Wish I had known that, I just thought she was vibrating for reasons unknown to a 15 year old. I thought all girls must do that.
There are times when we slow dance in life and everything seems to leave a lingering memory; a memory that could be so easily overlooked in the whir of each days fast dancing.
I first started thinking about slow dancing again while watching the movie Ray, a movie/biography of the late and great Ray Charles. Ray began going blind as a child. Naturally he had to learn to do things in his world in a new way. One of the sensory adaptations that come in the blind is the sharpening of the hearing sense. This happened in Ray’s world. In one scene of the movie he describes to his future wife how he can hear a hummingbird outside an open window some distance away.
To odd behavior I confess. I began to close my eyes over the next few days in random circumstances. I tried to keep them closed and still function. It will not surprise you how difficult this can be. I found I would sometimes open my eyes involuntarily; the need to see was so profound in my sensing vocabulary. I tried showering and shaving blind. I tried to find leftovers in the refrigerator by touch and smell. At the orthodontist office I tried to figure who and how many people were in the office by isolating sounds and voices with my eyes shut.
To odd behavior I confess.
I also confess to having earned a new understanding.
We aren’t slow dancing enough in our lives. By removing one sense, I discovered there is still a wealth of sensory clue remaining. This also taught me that there is a big bundle of sensory input that is extraneous. In the ortho office I had trouble distinguishing individual voices because of the irritating pop music that came from overhead speakers. In the shower I had trouble finding my razor because of the store of commercial bathing products aligned on the shelves. There is a lot in our world that we bring into our environment because we may feel bored and disinterested with what is already present.
I have been gone from our blogland a little while. I’ve been slow dancing and being blind, and learning new ways to see. I discovered my belly button feels different in the shower when I’m blind. Food tastes better or worse, depending. Music is sharper, traffic horns are louder.
So, whatever it may be worth to you, I suggest that once in a while you remove some sensory overload. Sit on the equivalent of a rock in the wilderness listening to silence. Discover what you have missed by removing a sense you depend on. What other things can we see if we are truly deaf? What can we hear when we become blind? Are the extras meaningful? I think they may be.
I am slow dancing in
I have no idea why really, but all this reminds me of a song lyric that goes like this (paraphrased):
“Aint no use in turning on your lights babe, I’m on the dark side of the road. But don’t think twice, it’s alright.”