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Have you ever set a coin on edge on a table and flicked it with your finger to make it spin like a top? If so, then you know how it looks when it loses momentum and falls over and kind of rotate/vibrates to a stop.

Imagine you are in a 9:00 a.m. meeting, and you catch, out of the corner of your eye, a teacup rotate-vibrating in its saucer on your colleague’s desk beside him.

That’s what I thought I saw happening off to the side of the man chairing this morning’s meeting. I thought I saw a teacup wibbling around in its saucer of its own accord, as though it were being shaken by a minor earthquake or a weakling poltergeist. So, of course I looked again, and realized that there was nothing amiss with this teacup, that it was sitting just as immobile and inanimate as it should, and the illusion of movement could be explained by a bright beam of morning light shining through the window and reflecting off the glossy cup’s side. When I turned my head, the reflection seemed to move along the side of the cup, which is almost certainly what tricked my eyes into thinking that the <i>cup</i> was moving.

Later in the day, on my lunch break, I needed to go to the bank. The lobby of the downtown branch I frequent has a nearly 2-story atrium which is lit by skylights, as well as by tall windows at the front of the building. Today was very sunny, so the lobby was very brightly illuminated. As I stood in front of the teller’s booth, I noticed an electric cord for some of the computer equipment which seemed to be sliding off the counter or being pulled along. I was about to comment or ask about that when I realized that once again, my eyes were playing a trick on me. The cord had a very shiny plastic covering, and once again, light reflecting off it created an illusion of motion when I glanced peripherally at it and turned my head slowly.

I have fairly shoddy vision. I am myopic, astigmatic, and in posession of an amblyopia problem. It’s this last issue that was probably playing havoc with my brains today. Because my eyes don’t work together, I have very, very poor depth perception. This adds another element of challenge to mountain biking, and pretty much renders all ball sports impossible for me. I sometimes see things incorrectly. When I was a little kid, I ran into things a lot. I had to wear an eye-patch between the ages of 7 and 8 to try to strengthen my “bad eye,” but it didn’t really help, and I still don’t really use that eye. It also tends to drift to the outside when I am tired.

So, I guess today was one of those days where there was less than what met my eye?

Edited to add that Mimi Smartypants apparently recently had a similar day where her eyes were playing tricks on her.

One Response to “Misinterpretations leading to a very surreal day”

  1. jane says:

    Hey! I’m in the shoddy vision club too!


    Perhaps I can be grandfathered in since my amblyopia is very, very, very weak and only shows up in cases of extreme fatigue.

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