Friday, April 12, 2013

She said it would take a couple weeks, and she was right - TO THE DAY.

Before surgery, and even after, my surgeon said it would take "a couple weeks" for my brain to sort out the new input and start to regulate. I don't think she knew how accurate she was. But as of wednesday, exactly two weeks after surgery, depth has returned reliably every day. I would not say this new killer app has reached "always on" status, as it still goes away when I'm tired. But once I get my contact lens on in the morning, the world starts to go into beautiful relief. Of course we'll see what happens tomorrow, this is all still pretty miraculous and hard to believe.

In my maudlin moments last week, I had described my experience with depth similar to encountering a strange and wondrous wild bird that settles on your porch rail on morning. You put out some food for it, encourage it to stay, and bask in its presence, until it unexpectedly flits away into the horizon. You feel sad, your loneliness put into stark relief by the magical animal's absence, and can only hope that you'll be lucky enough to get a repeat visit. You think about that bird, it keeps you up at night as you relive the sight of its glimmering feathers, its otherworldly stateliness. The next day you fill up the bird feeder and wait ... and hope .... and wait ... and look! He comes back!!!

But of course, sometimes he doesn't, and that makes you wonder if he ever will again.

But since wednesday, that bird is rocking my porch rail. It's set up a nest, and gotten a little comfortable. He sits and reads the paper. We have breakfast together. He hangs out and snoozes in the sun. He still flies home at night, but he comes back the next day, and I'm like "oh hey what's up depth?"

So, yeah I'm starting to apply personality traits to a neurological sensation.  That's probably a sign of psychosis.

I've enjoyed a few runs with depth now, and it really really enhances the experience. As I've described before, I feel a lot more connected with my environment now, I feel more of a part of that whole, and with objects and people more clearly arranged in space, I feel so much more comfortable finding my place in that environment. The road or sidewalk seems to stretch out ahead much more invitingly, the flat surface of the road defining my path and drawing out my steps. Objects, cars and people pop with a dramatic clarity that makes them so much easier to take in quickly. I know I'll want an optometrist to validate this, but I really feel like my vision is more clear with depth. Edges are more well defined, everything has a hyper-real, hyper-focused quality.

I can tell with much greater detail the contours and inconsistencies in the road, which is a HUGE benefit, as it makes me much more sure-footed and aware of spots to avoid. I ran along Memorial Drive today, the Charles to my right, and really got a sense of the scale of the river stretching off to the distance. The buildings on the other side didn't take on any new quality, but they did seem more in focus than maybe they had before.

With trees and fences in such relief, it feels like I'm zooming down a trench. I thought of this more than once on my run today -

especially that classic shot right at 4:52.

As my friend Sully put it in his classic way, I was making a trench run on the Depth Star.

My favorite part of the run was when I turned left off Memorial at the Longfellow Bridge and cut into Kendall Square. The tall, dramatic buildings are at the perfect distance and scale to stimulate my depth perception in an awesome way. I felt like I could touch them.

Frankly, I want to touch everything. More than once my descriptions have sounded like the rantings of a drug-addled club kid but well, at times I do feel a bit stoned, and this new sensation invites all these goofy emotions and desires, like to put my arms around the big beautiful box truck that's careening around the corner. I won't really, but hopefully you see what I mean.

People, again, have such a great new visual excitement now. Their movements, hair, clothes, shapes, with their infinite variation. are all so interesting to look at. I feel like I'm wandering around with a super power, and think to myself "you have no idea how good you look to me".

Objects with depth seem to take on a whole new sense of scale. My previous experience with depth limited my reactions to items of very large scale. I could appreciate the awesome magnitude of the White Mountains, or St. Peter's Basilica, or a 747. Now that same sense of scale and magnitude is somehow applied to smaller objects. You've already read my description equating my bathrobe to a mountain range, and bread to the surface of the moon. The ham I referenced earlier had curves reminiscent of the Guggenheim museum. A bus going by in front of me feels like that opening scene in Star Wars (yes, going full nerd now) where the Star Destroyer slooooowly comes into frame overhead. Trees feel like cathedral columns. That sort of thing.

Navigating people while running used to fill me with dread. I'd enter Harvard or Kendall Squares and be like "oh boy, here we go", and just do my best to muddle through and not bang in to anyone. Now I feel like I've gotten an amazing power-up, I'm at level 100 of the real-life Frogger game and have the skills to go with the flow in such an easier way. I'm a water sign anyway, and feel like that affects my attitude on the world. It's now so much easier to snake among people. It's fun. It feels like a challenge, a dance routine. And my confidence is just so much higher.

So, I really do feel my brain has turned a corner and depth is much more reliable now. It doesn't introduce itself into every situation - nor should it, or else the day would get very exhausting very quickly, but when it does, it is almost always a wonderfully clarifying and organizational contribution to my experience of the world. And a rampantly beautiful one. I continue to be in awe and feel so lucky, and a bit pissed off that you all have been hoarding this beautiful depth from me for so long! :) It was probably better not to know until I was ready.

Posts are going to be a bit more sporadic over the next few weeks as I do some traveling. I'm sure that's a relief. :) That should hopefully give me lots to discuss when I do get a chance to post an update.

I'll leave you with the soundtrack to my run, a great energy boost to get me through the windy morning...

Have a great weekend. Go deep!


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