lb_lee: A pencil drawing of Mac and Rogan canoodling with a little heart above their heads. (love)
[personal profile] lb_lee

Random trivia: I’m blind in headspace.  I can see some, but I’m severely near-sighted, and can’t make out any visual detail unless something is RIGHT in front of me.

For the longest time, nobody in the system realized this, and I presumed everyone else in the system was just like me.  It only came out around 2010 or so, when someone mentioned the design of the metal in stained glass we had in the House at the time, and I was like, “wait, THERE’S METAL IN THE STAINED GLASS?”

In headspace, the impairment is pretty minimal, but it’s also non-negotiable.  As far as I can tell, vision just takes too much of my mental bandwidth; if I wear my glasses and concentrate REAL hard, I can make out a bit more, but it’s pretty much never worth it.  Since there’s a weird... I dunno, headspace sense that allows me to get a sense of mass around me, I navigate fine.  I may not be able to SEE it, but I can still tell it’s there, and that’s all that matters, really.

But it means me and Rhymers have hilarious conversations because they have a bunch of system members who’re the reverse of me.  I’m blind in a sighted vessel; they’re sighted in a blind vessel.

It also means that it kinda bugs me, reading stories about blind characters who’re always like, “I can never see the details of my love’s face in crystal clear Kodak picture!  Woe is me!” I can safely say that that has never once bothered me.  I can see them well enough with my hands.  I know their scents, and the sounds of their voices, and thanks to whatever you’d call that headspace sense, I can feel the joy in their smiles and the grief in their tears.  I feel that more than makes up for my abominable headspace vision.

So you know, in case you ever wondered how I can tell what Mac’s face looks like, it’s because I rub my face all over him and use my beard as antennae.  I’m like a large hairy catfish.

--Rogan

Date: 2017-02-20 06:01 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thank you for sharing this. It was really moving to me.

I (and my body, which I am generally on pretty good speaking terms with) have okay vision. But it's not good vision without my glasses, and 'without my glasses' happens more than you might think. AND when serious sensory overload happens, my vision falls apart because I can't pick out any relevant details out of the morass of stuff and my eyes literally cannot focus, so it's like a sea of visual noise; I close my eyes 'cause it's easier. I'm also a very visual person, but the details I perceive best are different to what other people focus on. So I'm not blind, I'm not visually impaired to a significant degree as long as I have my glasses, but I spend a lot of time thinking about vision and the limits of vision, and that meant that this really spoke to me. I have to wonder how different other people's vision is from mine, but it's kind of unanswerable.

Date: 2017-02-20 10:05 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thanks, Rogan.

I don't think vision is *inherently* more complicated or higher bandwidth than other senses, but it definitely is *for me.*

Date: 2017-02-20 06:11 am (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
ROFL You are an awesome hairy catfish!

It's interesting for the few blind people in system because yes it totally works that way for them. But the rest of us come out here and common memory takes over and we do okay but there're a couple people who are like "Holy shit fuck how'm I gonna defend myself?" (Arya, I'm looking at you). But seeing people's faces never quite made it into the equation out here. We know damn well what our fiancee&'s face looks like and we didn't have to see it in kodak detail. #blind characters written by sighted people who didn't do their research!

Date: 2017-02-20 08:54 pm (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
God. That too. x.x

Date: 2017-02-20 04:01 pm (UTC)
wispfox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wispfox
I love that description, Rogan!

I'm faceblind, and have neither visual memory nor imagination: I have no idea what anyone's faces look like unless I'm literally looking at them.

I'm also really nearsighted, so what faces look like isn't really a thing I worry about. What people's expressions are can sometimes be a thing, though, so I often want my glasses for communicating with people.

Date: 2017-02-21 02:29 pm (UTC)
wispfox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wispfox
Interestingly, facial expression recognition seems to be different circuits than face recognition. I'm much better (but still deficient) at recognizing expressions than faces. :)

And yeah, it's likely that you'd have some other aspect you'd love if you were in fact unable to recognize faces!

Date: 2017-02-20 10:09 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
*clappyhands*

Yes. All faces a sort of vaguely face-shaped to me! That's not how I tell people apart!

The odd thing is, I can see expressions just fine, though not necessarily interpret them - but I can't perceive what the individual detailed shape of the face is the way people who, say, draw faces or recognize hundreds of people from photos must be able to. When I concentrate really hard, and know someone a lot, I can visualize single small details that happen to be on their face the same way I can visualize, say, their elbow, or a glass they keep on their bedside table, but I can't put it together into a face. I recognize people using everything else - hair, height, favorite clothing, context - and am still fairly bad at it.

Date: 2017-02-21 02:32 pm (UTC)
wispfox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wispfox
I mostly use voice and how people move to recognize them. :)

Although, weirdly, my faceblindness reduced in intensity in the past few years, and I'm still not sure why. I recognize people I know well with pretty good frequency, now. (still can't pick anyone out of a crowd, mind you!)

Date: 2017-02-21 02:44 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I find it fascinating to compare experiences like this.

I think I recognize people often, but I get A LOT of false positives (daily even) generally between people of the same age with similar hair. If someone I know and see often becomes someone I don't see for a few years, I WON'T recognize them any more. Unless they are my mom and dad.
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