07 November 2011


Today we were going to get sandwiches at - guess where - the sandwich place! And we were waiting for our sandwiches to come and so we stood by the counter and talked about nothing of real importance. It was really dark because of this daylight savings business, and there was only one other family in there. It was just a mom, a dad, and two little kids - a little girl and a baby girl.
We were walking out of the restaurant with our sandwiches when my mom said that they were deaf - the mom, the dad, and the little girl. The baby we don't think was. And now that I think of it, no one was talking, and the only noise in the whole place was the music, the fan from the heating system, and the baby crying. They weren't talking to each other, and they were signing to the little girl, the baby, and to each other.
And I started to think about what it would be like if I was deaf or blind. It would obviously be different because I already have auditory and visual memories in my mind, while many of these deaf and blind people don't. It's different if you have never had hearing or sight; but if you lost it, that would be light years worse.
Just think of all the things you see right now. Your computer, your hands, your clothes, the things in your peripheral vision. And the things you hear. The quiet churning of your house, machines in your house, outside noises, people talking, and all sorts of things you hear so often that you probably don't even notice anymore. I was just thinking about music and how much I would miss it if I did not hear. I listen to so many hours of music everyday. Studying or partying or eating dinner or blogging, I always have music on. Imagine not being able to hear your favorite song. Or your family speak to you. Or birds chirping, or a movie playing. Imagine not being able to see all the trillions of things we can see everyday. Some 70-80% of the bits of information we receive everyday is visual. What if we couldn't see where we were going? Or what our own mothers and fathers looked like? Or even knowing what a carrot or a dog looked like?
It's so sad, and when you think about not having those things, you realize how important those things really are, and how no matter what, your senses are so important and integrated into our minds that sadly, we fail to appreciate their full value. I might not have perfect vision (or anything close to it), but at least I can see, and with lenses I can see perfectly. And if you want, some professional can cut your cornea and reshape it via laser technology to make your vision perfect-o for good. Pretty awesome stuff.
It's almost like losing an entire part of yourself if you don't have your senses; well, at least that is what it feels like for people who have them.
Down syndrome can happen when the very first cell of a human accidentally makes one extra copy of chromosome 21. And then that cell divides into 2, then 4, then 16, then 256, then . . (then I start pulling out the calculator..actually I did that with 16x16 . . ) and that mistake is copied. Trillions of times over again. Such a small mistake with such drastic effects. And to think that for the most part, at least among my friends and family, nothing major like that has gone wrong. We were made into perfect humans, despite some hardships along the way. Don't forget that you are lucky, because nature isn't perfect and if it made you perfect, relatively speaking, then that's pretty darn lucky.

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