Let me ask you this: when was the last time you heard, or you uttered the words, “I have an eye infection”?
My guess is that you are going to say: not since I was 5-years-old … for both questions.
Because, yes, who actually contracts an eye infection over the age of 5? Well, dear readers, your noble blogger here does. I am 33-years-old and this past week, I was waylaid by an eye infection.
Why am I telling you this? Not because I am planning on launching into an overly descriptive monologue on the physical symptoms and side effects of an eye infection, but because said infection did lead to two amazing discoveries.
Let me explain. First, I am completely and totally and 125% contact-dependent. I wear contact lenses all day everyday, and my vision is so poor, I literally cannot function without my lenses. I have a pair of glasses, but that prescription is so old, I might as well not have them. And you might ask, why don’t I get new glasses? Well, the short answer is I can’t. My vision is so bad, it is no longer correctable in glasses. The prescription I have is the best the eye doctors can do. And let me put it this way: it’s not good enough.
So, eye infection comes along and suddenly I’m without contacts. For days. And days. And worse yet, the infection itself caused sensitivity to light, so not only could I not see my hand in front of my face, but I also had to navigate everything in the dark. Which sounds like a great premise for a horror movie, but also meant no visual entertainment options for me. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t watch TV. I couldn’t work on a computer.
Which is where Amazing Discovery #1 comes in. With no way to entertain myself visually, I knew I could only entertain myself audibly. So I decided to try podcasts for the first time. I know, I know. Where have I been? Podcasts have been around for what? 20 years? Well, I’ll admit – I have always been a little biased against podcasts because I have never done well with listening for entertainment. I can listen to music of course, but when I put music on, I zone out. And I always believed that if I listened to something that required paying attention, I would still zone out, and I’d miss what I was listening to. That’s what I do. I zone out. The one time I tried to listen to an audio book, I zoned out. Big surprise. So I never even gave podcasts a try.
Until this past week when I realized I needed some form of audio entertainment. And I. Fell. In. Love. How could I have lived sooo long and not tried them before now?? They are amazing. Wonderful. Insightful. Entertaining. I probably don’t need to laud their benefits to you, but I am in awe. I started my podcast obsession with The History of England. And I became so fascinated so fast, I listened to 8 episodes in one day. And I didn’t zone out once.
Now, a week later, I am up to 6 different podcast subscriptions and I listen to them on my bike rides to and from the train station.
Which brings me to Amazing Discovery #2. Contact-less and mostly blind meant no bike rides. An entire 6 days without one. How did I survive? By trying something else, and enjoying it. Not as much as bike riding but a close second.
I know. What a thrill, right? But hear me out. I used to be an avid walker. In my days before I discovered the magic of a bike ride, I walked everywhere. Well, let me be a little more specific. When I lived in San Francisco (almost 6 years ago now), I walked everywhere. SF is a very pedestrian city. A 5-mile hike in SF will take you from one side of the city to the other. Seriously. So I walked to and from work, to and from friend’s houses, etc… It was all the more appealing since parking in SF is far scarier than any horror Hollywood can dream up. But then I moved to LA, almost 6 years ago now, and walking went out the window along with all my other physical activity efforts. Why? LA is not a walking city. I mean, you can walk 5 miles in LA and not even pass by a Starbucks. Not to mention the charm, the scenery, the thrill of walking in SF is not here in LA. When walking in SF, it felt like you could reach out and touch. Walking here in LA? Everything feels so closed off, or if you can reach out and touch, you probably don’t want to.
Ultimately, it’s not the same experience. But after 2 days of being mostly blind and feeling like a hibernating bear, I knew I had to do something if I wanted to maintain my sanity. And since there isn’t much to look at while walking around urban LA, I decided to give a walk a try. I could see enough to follow the sidewalk and determine if the traffic lights were green or red. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, as it turns out: not much. It was great. I shoved my ear buds in, dug the ol’ walking shoes out of the closet, and hit the streets. Four miles and an hour fifteen later, I felt like a new gal. Not to mention the stabbing pain of shin splints. But as I say, that kind of pain is good pain. I’ll take it. And I’ll do it again. In fact I did last night. An almost-5-mile walk this time AND with podcasts blaring too.
A great option not just for days when I’m mostly blind but also for days that my poor beloved bike is in the shop …