I recently had an interesting conversation with a few awesome people. The question of the hour was this: If you had to lose one of your five senses, which would it be? The consensus on the issue varied, of course, but for different reasons. My personal verdict was that I would choose to go scentless. For me this is one of the more “luxurious” of the senses. In other words, it is not exactly a necessary tool for survival anymore. We could get along just fine not catching whiffs of Aqua di Gio or Chanel No. 5 or mmm body odor in public spaces. I might actually quite enjoy a world free of the smell of Macaroni and cheese (get over it, I hate cheese).
Major digression. Anyway, I could never ever opt out of the senses of sight or hearing. These are so imperative to living comfortably. They give us the luxuries that are actually essential to life: music, art, etc. Obviously, there are tools that enable blind and deaf people to get along, i.e. sign language, seeing-eye dogs, and whatnot. However the thought of never hearing Chris Martin’s voice again, never seeing another summer sunset, never hearing the sounds of the city as I fall asleep, never even watching a movie, would be emotionally tolling.
On a slightly different note, the concept of being blind from birth INTRIGUES me. How interesting would it be to live a day in the life of someone who understands and “sees” the things we actually observe in their own mind. They learn things without the humanly inherent visual judgment. Loving someone when quite literally you have never laid eyes on his or her face is extraordinary and admirable. Don’t mean to sound vain or anything, I swear. Work with me. Basically, you must create an entire world in your head. You could believe your boyfriend looks like James Franco…though you would not be familiar with him either. Such dilemmas. Blindness is a mind-boggling phenomenon.
Anyway, think of of how fine-tuned and almost superhuman your other senses would be: bomb squad dog scent when blind, hawk eyes when deaf. It would be like your world plus the amplification of all your perceptions around you. Like walking into a Bath and Body Works and an Abercrombie at once–talk about a nose and ear overload!
Just to clarify, I am completely aware that no one chooses to be impaired in any of these ways. I apologize for any ignorant and or inane commentary in this post but for the record it is near impossible to sound intelligent on matters like blindness where in fact you don’t know until you…well…know. Also, even though I chose my having no olfactory sense as the least dire, my heart goes out to any of you who can never smell freshly baked cookies coming out of the oven. But hey enjoy the time you won’t be spending on the elliptical machine, I suppose!
Title from “Stop, Look and Listen” by Belle & Sebastian