Through a One Inch Window

If a stranger were to cut out a one inch by one inch square from a piece of paper, and hold the piece of paper up to me - what would that person see? 

The bulk of that one inch space would probably be taken up by my wheelchair, but even then it's not just any wheelchair. It's very clearly my wheelchair. Maybe that person would get a snap shot of the Obama bumper sticker on the back, or maybe they'd see the AmeriCorps keychain that dangles from my backpack. The person might notice the scratched up silver paint on the sides, and observe the mud & dirt free wheels. Would they notice the smudge of tomato sauce at the heel of my foot rest? Perhaps they'll get worried when they see a sneaky white wire from ipod headphones hanging dangerously by the wheels. What conclusions would the individual draw from the scene in that one inch square? 

Say they shift that one inch square upwards? Then the person would see me. A young woman clad in some typical New England fall attire. Something with leggings or tights, something sweater-related, they might see sky blue Chuck Taylor sneakers or a pair of plain gray flats, maybe something paired with a clear plastic cup and a green straw sticking out of it. If that one inch window were moved around some more, they might also see my keys dangling from the joystick. The person might notice my library card that hangs from the keyring, right next to the CVS extra care card, and what may presumably be my house key. Do they see the cap to the ball point pen that I lost weeks ago wedged in my seat? What observations would the passerby draw from these details? 

Although we do not all walk around looking out at the world and each other from the frame of a one inch square - sometimes we might as well be. Rarely do we see the whole person when first meeting someone new, or even someone we may consider an acquaintance or close friend. It's a snap shot vision that we glance at. Given time and space for conversations, we might be able to see more than just the one inch view of a person. 

So when we are staring at others, or being stared at ourselves- let's keep in mind that no matter how focused the scrutinizing may feel, our eyes do not capture the whole view. Instead, we are offered only a peeking glimpse at a slice of somebody else. 

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4 Responses to Through a One Inch Window

  1. Love this post......what a wonderful writer you are.

  2. Your words create the perfect image of what it means to be scrutinized so carefully. My girls are adults with OI and have grown up under the watchful eyes of many, many passerby. I love the way you break the experience down into small images and then pull the focus in to a whole picture. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for the comment. I'm especially appreciative of your comment as mom of kids with OI, it is comforting to know that our experiences are in a small sense universal.


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