Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Man That Saw The World

Sidney Bradford went blind at 10 months of age, but regained sight on both eyes at 52.

He was the subject of many scientific tests of vision,  that demonstrated that he was impervious to many forms of optical illusion, like the ambivalence of Necker cubes or the appearance of various "impossible objects" that, to him, looked like what they are - flat figures.

However, his regaining the gift of sight left him with the vision of a world he did not know, and he preferred to work with his eyes closed, so that his hands could "see" his familiar tools.

Two years after regaining sight, he fell ill and died. Blind, he knew the universe where he lived intimately,  and was a happy man.

When he finally saw the world, its sheer incomprehensibility killed him.

Let's be honest...

We understand him plenty.


Once upon a time, I was going through Vigo with the then "au pair" guest of my brother, a well in flesh British girl answering to the name of "whatever".

As, apparently, many Brits of her age do, she was thrilled because she had finally found a kiosk selling the kind of British tabloids that her permanence in the underdeveloped Spanish swampland where we stay - her description of the Atlantic cost town where we live was along that lines - had deprived her, oh, so long and cruelly.

She immersed herself, thrilled, in the small sea of factoids in the newspaper, and left me baffled.

Don't get me wrong -  I am not a snob. Not that much, really.

It is just that I fail to see why should I care about what someone I have no direct relationship whatsoever does  in his or her personal life.

OK, it is true... I tend to use "Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodoma" as a suggestion for what to do in bed with a friend and, as a result, MY personal sex life - what almost nil of it there actually is - could not appear in tabloids for being way too risky.

I am, at heart, unadulterated XXX material - truth be said, just once every three years or so - so the fact that [insert name here] shags [other name], of [no idea] fame, doesn't solleticate my prurient side.

Anything less than a three-way with dildos, on top of a double-decker cruising London centre would make me yawn, though I have my feeble points - I kind of love when celebrities turns out to be, actually and against any prevision , pretty decent guys or girls.

Unfortunately, that number of the - whatever -  didn't run on something like "Ozzy Osbourne really loves his kids" or "Angelina Jolie does a decent job for Unesco, much better than her movies".

The cover was about some Brit Nobody cheating on his spouse with another Brit Nobody. Cheating spouses are not exactly a rare phenomenon. If I am not wrong, there were two clandestine couples alone at the bar where we stopped to get a "tapa".

It didn't struck me as anything worth noting.

I tried to communicate this impression to her, who in turn tried to explain me the importance that this guy  - some kind of tv personality - had been caught in flagrante.

The discussion wandered rudderless, as many goes, till she happened to mention a friend of hers that had decided to travel from India to Japan, and had spent the previous couple of years working all kind of odd jobs - what a twenty years old high-school drop-out can get - to save money and organize his travel.

Now, he was interesting, really interesting - for me. I am someone that has never, ever been able to act on his passions - it already costs me to admit when I have one.

People that does fascinates me - her friend, that Italian guy that went drawing anime at Tatsunoko Studios, anybody who rebuilt an ancient car or aircraft, many a professional geek - may the memory of Dennis Ritchie live forever - and scientist - long live Feynman's Bongo. People that is, in some way, at the fringes of human experience, uncommon in a statistically quantifiable way - I would say.

For her, that friend was just an odd-ball with a stupid interest, that had allowed it to overtake his life.

Which is true - it is what it means, live your passion - but there were maybe ten more "oddballs" like him in their town.

Ten, against a couple of hundred or so assorted cheaters.

So, why did she cared about yet another cheating man? The world never had any shortage of the category.

Unless she imagined when she could bring to court her own cheating man some day in the future...