As Blind as a Bat But Without the Sonar

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Anecdote / Landscape / Seascape / Travel
People at "Figueirinha" Beach

People at “Figueirinha” Beach

I suffer from myopia. And by that I mean I’m literally short-sited. I usually say that without my glasses or contacts I’m as blind as a bat but without the sonar features.

I started wearing glasses when I was diagnosed which was around when I was five. I had one of those glasses with lenses that looked like the bottom of an old milk bottle. Naturally I was quite self conscious of my looks and as a teenager they acted like a bird (chick, if you’re from the States) magneto, but with reversed polarity.

Being so short-sited, through life you gather some tragic / comic stories and I’m about to share one of those.


It happened when I was around 14 (?). We were spending the summer holidays at the beach (actually the beach from the photo that illustrates this post).

We’d go quite early to the beach and I wouldn’t wear my glasses so that I wouldn’t get any tan marks on my face. Of course, without my glasses everything was pretty much a blur… How could I manage, then? Easy. If you’re that myopic you develop the capacity of reading a blur by extrapolation and get an approximate result that is accurate… at least most of the times.

I was in the sand but three steps away from the sea. This very well-built muscular adult guy, accompanied by a small child, comes next to me and addresses me whilst pointing towards the water: “Hi. The kid’s ball went into the water and I can’t swim… Would you be so kind to go get it before it drifts away?”

Today I’m quite plump, but back in those days I was very thin. The kind of thin that if you’d see me from the front you’d thought I was sideways and if I was sideways I’d be invisible. So, it was a hilarious situation. It was like having “The Rock” asking an ant to go on a rescue mission because he was not fit for the job.

I looked at the water and couldn’t see the ball due to a combination of early sun glare in the sea and not having my glasses on. I wasn’t going to give away my frailty, so I said: “I can’t see the ball because of the glare… I’ll get in the water and you’ll give me directions, ok?”.

And so we did. At a certain point I saw a person swimming quite far away. After a while I realised that what seemed a person’s head was actually the ball. So I swam and swam and finally got to the ball, being quite tired. When I turned around to face the beach I was in shock as I’d never been so far away, from a sea perspective, of course. I grabbed the ball with my arms and used it as a floating device to overcome my tiredness and used my legs to propel me back to shore.

In the mean time a mob had gathered around my departure point to watch the outcome of the ball rescue operation. Further away in the sand my mother was following the action, completely unaware that her son was the rescuer and  ranting to the people around her: “What an idiot !… risking his life like that for a stupid ball !…”.

I finally got back in the sand and delivered the ball back to the kid. The mob burst into a round of applause.

The Author

Ordinary office buffoon or, alternately, rock'n'roll soul trapped in a IT project manager body. When not fighting to deliver on time, on budget and on specification, will be chilling out with wife and daughter, enjoying a good meal accompanied with a nice wine or using his sense of aesthetic and photography training to snap some shots. And so here we are...

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