Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Watching the World GO By

Here I am again, dear readers.  It hasn't been quite as long since last time around, and I hope to be back on a semi-regular schedule finally.  Today was a wonderful day, both weather-wise and in other senses of the word.  I believe I've a handle on how I want to approach these last few weeks of the term, which is a great burden off my shoulders.

So, with the weather being as wonderful as it was this evening I thought I would take a little stroll outside after dinner.  I didn't have anywhere in particular in mind, but ended up outside Weatherford Hall, one of the dorms on campus close to mine.  There's a nice wooden bench there, which I decided might get some sunshine.  As it turns out, it didn't, but I sat there anyway.

The title of this post pretty much sums up what I did, I watched, or listened, to the world go by around me.  This was a profoundly relaxing experience.  I could hear birds of several kinds, people walking by, and eventually the wind blowing the leaves on the trees about.  There were also plenty of cars, skateboards, and at least one airplane.

A part of me was hoping that someone might stop by and say hello while I was doing this.  I had nowhere in particular to go and was determined to stay around for a good length of time.  Nobody did.  I'd like to think that if I'd been doing this in, say, Georgia, someone might have.

There's a tendency in our modern society to hurry.  We think that if we don't get things done as soon as possible, the world will fall apart around us.  We don't really talk to one another as much as we used to, before the advent of cell phones.  I can imagine with curious nostalgia, for I was never there, what it might have been like in the time when the phone was a giant thing sitting on a hall table.  I'd hope we talked more with one another then, and maybe took things just a little slower.

Of course, all this might also have something to do with the age old problem I face.  I'm blind, people know that, and because they don't know how to approach me or are afraid of offending me they simply don't bother.  I hope it was perhaps a combination of those two factors, ideally more the latter than the former.

I am a profoundly old-fashioned person.  I have deep misgivings about our current dependence on technology and what it is doing to the world around us.  This is at least ironic, since I depend so much on it for my every day existence.  I would not have been able to thrive in the hypothetical world I described.

It is because I depend so much on this modernity that I intend to try and spend at least a little of every day outside, doing nothing in particular.  I imagine it'll be good for my health, and who knows, I might meet someone.  My request for you all this time is to try and do the same.  I think it will benefit everybody, blind or otherwise.  Remember also that just because I'm blind doesn't mean I'm unapproachable or easily offended.  I look forward to many pleasant encounters with you all.


  1. If not for your physical health, taking a more measured pace of life outside certainly must benefit your mental health. I know that it helps me reconnect to something more primal within myself, something that releases me from the ties of civilization and all its artificial contrivances.


  2. Hi Zack,
    Jon Zastrow here.

    I enjoyed reading your May 10 entry. I wasn't sure how to reach you. It has been awhile since we have corresponded, but this entry suggests that you are doing reasonably well, at least a month ago...

    I would like to hear from you.


    1. Dear Jon,
      Talk about a blast from the past. :) It has been too long. I admit to being very pleasantly surprised to hear from you, especially after nearly four years. I'd love to keep in touch, how should we do that?
      I regret to say this blog entry was posted more than a year ago. Things have been a rollercoaster since, and are only slowly recovering. My Dad passed away very suddenly in late August of last year, and that has precipitated a whole host of related stress, not to mention a case of writer's block as far as this blog is concerned. I hope to start it up again sometime soon, though have no idea where to begin in all honesty.
      On a considerably lighter note, I wonder how you found me here? It's funny, I hadn't looked at this blog in ages. It's nice to know someone's still interested. :)
      Keep in touch, Jon. Thank you for your thoughts and consideration. I hope to talk soon.

  3. Hi Zack,

    I found one of your comments on the King of Dragon Pass blog. From your picture I guessed you might be blind and I got curious. You linked to this blog and I have enjoyed reading all your entries! I've subscribed to it, so if you ever decide to pick up writing again you will have me as a dedicated reader.

    King of Dragon Pass is one of my favourite games and I'm thrilled that blind people can to enjoy it as well! But isnt it hard to manage resources and stuff like that? And how do you put out explorers on the map? Anyway, I'm happy that you are able to enjoy the game as well as movies!

    As for the topic in this blog entry, I think there is a many more reasons why people dont stop and talk when outside. I live in Stockholm, which is a fairly large city. As I'm 37 years old, I do have memories from before the mobile age (god I feel old as I'm writing this!). Unfortunetly I cant remember that anyone ever stopped to talk with me just to chat (and I didnt either). From what I recall, people were as stressed back then going to work, school or some other other activity. We are so busy doing stuff that we miss out on interaction. Also, many people who approach you in the street are either beggars or people trying to sell you stuff. Both beggards and sellers can be quite pushy so many people, including myself, develop an inner "shield" when in crowded areas. Sometimes you can start conversations with people asking for directions. Its a shame you miss out on conversation opportunities like that. I understand what you mean regarding our dependence on technology. If for some reason we dont get more oil or electricity we certainly will suffer. But one the other hand we might talk to each other more.

    Hope that you are well!


    1. Dear Göran,
      I was surprised and delighted to read your comment the other day, and am flattered and a little embarrassed to have a readership which I don't regularly update. Things have been somewhat crazy in life the past while, and it is difficult to muster the willpower to write. God willing, I'll find that easier next ear.

      As for your question about Dragon Pass, I enjoy playing it on the iPhone quite a bit. The map is admittedly the most frustrating part of the game, if only because I lack the context to get a sense of where things are located. I just pick a random hex which is identified as unexplored and go from there. I must give credit to Apple, though, for making the game experience possible at all. Their commitment to accessibility is a topic I've considered for a future blog post…
      As far as the topic of this entry, I fear you are right. I've not lost that sense of optimism that things will someday change, but it has taken a bit of a beating lately for personal reasons. I'm moving forward, but it's slow. I guess life can be like that sometimes.
      I hope to have more to share with you and everyone else soon, and thank you for your readership and patience in the meantime.
      All the best,

    2. Thanks for your reply Zack and a happy new year to you! Lets hope next year will be better for you and your loved ones!

  4. Hey Zack,

    I just found your blog today in the most curious of ways. As it happens, I was looking for a way to improve my Game Master skills, particularly when it comes to mapping and making things happen, and I found a comment from you in a blog post at Hill Cantons.

    Basically, I have two questions for you: Why did you stop writing and is there any chance you might start writing again?

    Your posts were quite insightful and made me consider things I hadn't thought about before... there was also a candid quality to them, more honest than naive that I really enjoyed.

    I hope you are well, and in the chance you ever see this comment, I hope you start writing again soon!

    Thank you for your time,