Yesterday’s David Eagle related Google searches included ‘David Eagle disability’ and ‘David Eagle arm.’ I’m not entirely sure what the latter search query was all about, but it might be related to the fact that apparently I have a tendency to hold my arm out in a slightly idiosyncratic way. I can’t really describe what it is, as I am not conscious of it. The only time it’s ever mentioned to me is by boisterous drunk men, normally in a slightly threatening, accusatory manner, and it normally coincides with them mentioning my lack of eye contact, telling me that I’m not looking at them properly, and then aggressively asking what’s wrong with me. If I explain to them that I’m blind then they are immediately contrite, but it’s interesting how hostile certain people are to me before they realise this, assuming that I’m being deliberately anti-social or insulting to them. Most people are too polite to say anything, and most people certainly wouldn’t call me a freak to my face or act with hostility towards me, just a drunken minority. But, nonetheless, I assume that people do register these differences: the wobbling eyes, the lack of eye contact, the slightly bent hand, which, for the benefit of anyone Googling ‘David Eagle arm,’ is probably a subconscious defence posture, developed over years of having to protect myself from walking into things by putting my hand out, but I don’t know, maybe it’s something else. The wobbling eyes is probably related to my malfunctioning optic nerve, searching for types of visual stimulus that it’s not getting. But this is all just conjecture.
I wasn’t going to publish this until The Young’uns Podcast came out, but in light of the numbers of people searching for ‘David Eagle blind,’ ‘David Eagle disability’ and ‘is David Eagle autistic?’ maybe it would be apposite to publish this now. It’s a story taken from one of our gigs on tour, which addresses the subject of people’s reaction to me and my blindness. It’s been really fun and also therapeutic telling this story. I am not at all confident about myself in a visual, physical sense, nor do I have any reason to be, given that I can’t see myself and that I have no real way of assimilating normal, sighted physical behaviour, such as eye contact. Fortunately I have the ability to talk about it publicly and in a hopefully humorous way, meaning that I have a cathartic release valve that doesn’t involve getting too depressed or feeling isolated about it.
Bloody hell, I feel as if this Dollop has maybe been a little more introspective and revealing than I perhaps would have wanted, but hopefully it’s been an interesting read, and hopefully the following audio clip will be entertaining and lift the mood a bit.