A middle aged American woman runs over to me ‘Excuse me, excuse me?’
I think she is going to ask me about my cane or why I am lurching around instead of walking straight but she looks past my face…she is pointing at my feet.. At my sandals actually.
‘Please’ she is desperate. ‘May I ask where you got your Merrils from?.
Holy shit think I, there are people out there that can recognise shoe brands from 50 paces. I am so impressed I walk into a pillar.
‘I got them in Canada.’ I watch her face alight with respect and admiration. I am enjoying myself. ‘They are certainly the most comfortable sandals I have ever bought.’ Actually they are. She nods and sighs as if she has just been goosed by David Tennant. . This is new territory for me. Style icon. She is still staring at my feet and then I notice her face has changed ever so slightly. A tiny drawing back of the upper lip. I glance down. I have dirty feet..and worse my toenails haven’t been painted for some time. My cover is blown. The woman awakes as if from a dream. ‘Ah yes.’. She shakes her head, trotting off. ‘Great ..err.. well done’.
My sight distorts and clouds and my brain CGI’s amazing things in to fill the gaps in my vision. I have mentioned before that I will see polar bears in the aisles of Asda or just glimpse a ten foot tall skinny man getting out of a car. The top layer of my brain knows it isn’t true so there is no sense of panic or confusion..well perhaps a slight cringe or twitch if I think I see a baby leaping at me from an open window or a tree branch that isn’t there. It isn’t even dream like. No my brain is able to understand that it is just messing around..but it is intriguing just the same.
I don’t have Charles Bonnet Syndrome as far as I aware..although so little is known about it I couldn’t be sure.. At ophthalmologist told me that what freaked out the ocular scientists was the fact that many people with Charles Bonnet syndrome would have the same hallucinations..certain dense patterns, Victorian children. Creepy. I wondered if people in different cultures and different countries have the same visions. He couldn’t say.
RNIB website: ‘Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a term used to describe the situation when people with sight problems start to see things that they know aren’t real. Sometimes called “visual hallucinations”, the things people see can take all kinds of forms, from simple patterns of straight lines to detailed pictures of people or buildings.A Swiss philosopher named Charles Bonnet first described this condition in 1760 when he noticed that his grandfather, who was almost blind, saw patterns, figures, birds and buildings that were not there. Although the condition was described almost 250 years ago, it is still largely unknown by ordinary doctors and nurses. This is partly because of a lack of knowledge about the syndrome and partly because people experiencing it don’t talk about their problems from fear of being thought of as mentally ill.’