One of those questions that always got asked late at college parties was, "Which would you rather be, blind or deaf?"
(Well, that's what I got asked. Never once did anyone ask, say, "You have a condom, right?" Although people did often ask me why I wasn't dancing. Clearly, I went to less exciting parties than the rest of you.)
I was thinking about this after I read a profile of a blind acquaintance in the Washington Post Magazine. Well, strike that. He's not really an acquaintance, but rather someone who I recognize around town; in Greenbelt, by default, you recognize people who spend a lot of time in the town center, especially if you do, yourself. It's that kind of community. Anyway, a copy of the article is posted in the building where D's nursery school is, and I read it this morning.
Interestingly, my answer to the "deaf vs. blind" question has changed as I've gotten older. Throughout high school and college, it wasn't even an issue; I'd rather be blind, no question. Music was far too important a part of my life to lose. And though I was first and foremost an actor, I had very little interest in the visual arts.
Now, music is still an important part of my life; arguably more so, since I can play both the guitar and the piano (in high school, all I could do was sing). Yet my perspective has changed; I would choose (if it were a choice) to be deaf.
I'm not sure why; maybe because I've become more interested in film and animation in recent years, or maybe I don't want to miss my children's faces. I suppose, if nothing else, it's a metaphor for how I've grown and who I've become.
Naturally I'd choose to lose neither sight nor hearing, in the real world. But you can take my sense of smell any day (he says, changing his daughter's diaper).