This is not a broken wing, but just a lovely reminder of
the beauty of unbroken!!
Lately I have been feeling a bit like a bird with a broken wing. Not that I could ever fly of course, that is saved for the realm of dreams. But, when it seems as if your very senses are abandoning you, you do feel kind of defective or broken going about your day…at least in those moments when it gets in the way of the normal functioning we might take for granted, like answering the phone or walking in bright sunlight without the light scattering uncomfortably through the diffuse haze of a cataract.
So with two senses on the fritz, the 80% hearing loss and the clouded cataract vision, I was particularly susceptible to the themes in a movie I stumbled upon one insomniac night on Netflix. And as I prepare myself for cataract surgery next week, I find myself thinking a lot about these precious tools by which we engage and interpret the nature of our existence. Other than the hypothetical question most people ask at one time or another, “If you had to lose one of your senses which would you choose?”….or “between vision and hearing which would you rather give up if you were forced to choose?”…we pretty much don’t think about what is working fine.
The movie I stumbled upon is entitled “Perfect Sense.” I think I found it browsing the International Film section. Here is a blurb about Perfect Sense off of the Rotten Tomatoes site: “A hit at Sundance ’11 and winner of the Ediburgh Film Festival’s prize for Best New British Feature, the amazing genre creation directed by David Mackenzie stars Eva Green and Ewan McGregor as witnesses to the end of the world– strangers who form a desperate romantic connection in the face of an apocalyptic epidemic of sensory loss.”
The title for me did not reveal at first the themes in the movie, as I wondered what made perfect sense to do or to happen. But, it didn’t take too long for the first wave of sensory loss to occur in the film to realize the thematic spin. The movie at its heart is a love story but set in a situation where people were losing their senses on a global scale, one by one. The first to go was the sense of smell followed by the sense of taste. The female lead is an epidemiologist trying to figure if it was a virus or disease or what was happening to everyone. The male lead is a chef in a restaurant. As smell and taste are important to dining out, the restaurant was in serious trouble and considered closing. But, as each sense was taken people seemed to simply adjust and get used to it before the next loss would hit with turmoil anew. There was a scene I liked where the chef was eating something crunchy and then something smooth and you see a light switch go on. You knew in the absence of taste and smell, he was thinking texture. I liked the idea that when we dine out, it is not just for the taste of food, but the companionship of others and shared experience. Experience shared trumps the vehicle detecting the experience.
In the story an event would occur before a loss, such as the world being consumed by a raging spate of uncontrollable gluttony with scenes of people tearing raw meat off of bones and stuffing all kinds of things into their mouths with the loss of taste in its aftermath. Raging anger takes over the world with fighting in the streets, lovers saying the utmost in unkind, hateful words to each other…and this preceded the third loss which was hearing. And, this is when our lovers become separated. He is hit by the impulse first and she runs away from the hateful bombardment of words. Her anger phase happens after that, and ultimately they frantically seek each other out. But, they nearly miss, he is looking for her but can’t hear her car, and she can’t hear him calling out after he sees her driving away. Finally, he runs out into the vacant street and she somehow turns the car around and sees him. She gets out and they run into each other’s arms and the world goes dark.
Perhaps the event leading up to a particular loss adds a philosophic element to the story, not just physical. If we are screaming hateful things at each other, do we deserve to lose hearing, do we want to lose hearing? I think maybe it is more about what is the most important thing we do with our senses. We need them to protect us…see danger coming, feel the heat of a stove….but maybe what is most important is how we touch each other and that is the ultimate connection….the ultimate solace.
But, for me right now, it makes perfect sense to do the thing I dread, which is having a doctor operate on my eyes. And, while I am AWAKE!! Yikes! In reality I can’t wait to get rid of the obscuring fog and thickness of my existing lenses. I want to once again see for miles and miles and take clear sight for granted!! Though it won’t be nearly as much fun as buying a new lens for my camera and a heck of a lot scarier. These new lenses must last a very long time and as a product are a true gift of modern medicine giving sight, where in the past, affected individuals slowly and irrevocably lost their vision.
Signed: Anxious in Lighthouse Point,
PS: Please feel free to tell me of all the people you know who had cataract surgery and thought it was easy peasy!!