Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So much to see

Watching Tobin has given me a real appreciation of how amazing everyday objects can be. I wish I could remember a time when ceiling fans were absolutely the most fascinating object in the room. I can vaguely remember lying on the floor trying to track the blades of a ceiling fan on high speed, but that's a different kind of experience: one that has accepted the premise that fans are more or less everyday objects. To Tobin, the fan is a constant surprise and delight. A rough paraphrase of the look on his face is: "Wow! Look at that; it moves so fast but it stays in one place and no one has to push it and it blows breeze on my face and it's just splendid. Thank you ceiling fan for the air you move and the grace with which you do it."

In addition to the wonder of the fan, Tobin seems to have noticed his feet for the first time in the last couple of days. He has enough involuntary movement that they seem to operate independently of the rest of his body sometimes. This morning, I was holding him in a sitting position when his feet caught his eye. He was tranfixed until he would slightly lose his balance. Then his foot would twitch at the movement he had to make to correct his balance. When his foot moved, he would smile at it and his eyes would get big. Then he would stare so intently that he would lose his balance again, causing him to wobble, causing his foot to move, causing him to smile . . . and so on.

I don't wish that I could be so easily distracted by my own appendages. How would you explain that to the officer after you rear-ended another vehicle? "Sorry sir, but my left foot caught my attention and I stopped looking at the road. LOOK LOOK, it's moving again!" But I do wish that I could see things with new eyes again. There are some pretty magical things around the house that I take for granted: toilets, fans, stereo equipment, television, electric light, the microwave, books, the clothes dryer, running water. The list could go on. I envy Tobin the perspective that everything is full of wonder and new. I really look forward to hearing his explanations of where the water in the faucet comes from or why the sky is blue. I'm sure his answers will be more fun than the real ones.

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