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Looking Through the Fog

By Karen Bagnard
Posted: 08/18/2021
Tags: karen bagnard

- Contributed by Karen Bagnard -

With white cane in hand, TAP card in the other and purse on my arm, I climbed on to Dial-a-Ride. The driver and I exchanged “good mornings” and I swiped the TAP card. Then I found my seat, buckled up and off we went.

There was the promise of a hot day ahead in the cool morning. The air conditioning on the bus already felt wonderful as I stared out the window at the passing houses of my neighbors. Even though it was only 8:00 a.m. and “rush hour” was in full swing, my ride might only be 20 minutes to the eye doctor’s office in Pasadena.

Between the pandemic and the fact that I no longer drive, I hardly get out much at all. I’m quieter on my rides. I’m too busy looking at everything out the window. Even on the freeway I’m looking at drivers and thinking, “Yeah, I used to do that, too.” I wonder if they see me in the bus when they turn their heads and look my way. This must have been how my old dogs, Joey, Corky and Demy must have felt when they got to go for a ride in the family car.

I love seeing the old parts of town… the ones I remember from childhood. Where the new buildings stand I try to remember how it used to look. I don’t remember much. There’s always new construction going on. It’s amazing.

I marvel at the palm trees and the new buildings and the people rushing about. I can still see them. They look like they are walking through fog. The “fog” is in my eyes. It’s really a
clear, sunny morning.

I’ve come to accept the deterioration of my vision. Sometimes I slip into denial again and tell myself, “Naw, it’s not really happening.” Then I snap out of it because I can see that it is. Although I don’t know it yet, this doctor’s appointment will verify that it is. I am never surprised by it but I still hate hearing it confirmed.

I live so differently now than I did a little over three years ago. I have to plan ahead for where I need to go, hope that Dial-a-Ride has a ride available, which they almost always do, and know that I have a 20-minute pick-up window going and another 20-minute window coming home. I miss the convenience of just hopping into the car and going where ever it is I need to go, whenever I want to.

In a way, I’m still driving because I regularly dream about driving. Sometimes I’m off road and sometimes I’m driving off cliffs but, somehow, they are always fun… maybe a bit scary,
but I still enjoy them. My brother, Carl, who is blind and had to give up driving about ten years ago, told me I’d have dreams about driving. He still dreams about driving and expects he always will.

I don’t miss the car expenses, though. I wonder if I could even still afford them anymore. I miss my mechanics, Avo and his crew. They were always so nice and often gave me a ride home when my car was being serviced. One time the owner of the gas station was there and he offered to take me home. Now, that’s a story I need to write about someday!

The plus side of my life is that I have everything I need. I also have a sense of humor and a strong creative streak. I imagine and I “test drive” new art ideas. I am enjoying my home of over 47 years. I’m enjoying it more than I ever could have imagined. I am grateful for my nesting urges for they have created the loveliest nest for me. I still love having friends over to drink coffee or sip wine and enjoy good conversation.

While I may never go completely blind before my life is over, I am definitely moving in that direction. It feels like I’m in a fog much of the time so I pay attention to all that I can see and enjoy it while I can. I pay attention to the shadows of the trees and the phases of the moon and the sunlight coming through the blinds in the morning as I drink my coffee and slowly wake up. Life is so beautiful and there will always be things to appreciate and enjoy. Oddly, it’s the fog that’s rolling in that has made this clear to me.

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