I have been to the moon and back, plumbed in bathrooms and more besides, and all in my sleep. I normally undertake these activities in an orderly fashion in the seconds before I wake up. These days, my adventures have become more numerous because I am no longer a spring chicken and prone to waking up a lot, which involves dreaming a lot.
Just before the light came up and I woke up this morning, I had cause to telephone John. John is an upholsterer I haven’t seen for more than twenty years. He hadn’t changed a bit. After having patiently listened to my plea for a 65cm blue velvet cousin cover and new upholstery on an old button back nursing chair, he asked me if there was anything else I needed. I said that what I was really after was a set of casters and a gun. He seemed a bit surprised. “I thought you were practically blind.”
“I used to shoot an air rifle,” I said. This was an exaggeration. As a child my brother and I had unfettered access to a lead pellet air rifle that we were pretty free with. In the interests of sibling longevity, I gave it up.
“I’m thinking of taking up target shooting,” I explained.
I noticed he was nodding thoughtfully on the other end of a large Bakelite phone with a long curly cord, before agreeing to supply several meters of upholstery fabric, casters and, of course, a gun.
Having put in my order, I woke up and drank a pot of tea. Then I went on line and to my joy, I have discovered that there is an aspiration to make acoustic shooting for blind people a Paralympic sport. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzctZml7Js.
The public went wild for the 2012 Paralympics. If the question is disability the answer is sport. “Gone blind. Never mind. You could become a Paralympian.”
It might be a bit late in the day, but I could conceivably be on track to be a gun shooting Olympian, assuming my hearing holds up until then. If that fails I can always turn myself into a geriatric #Violet-Elizabeth Bott and “thcream and thcream, at the injustice of it, till I’m sick”. Imagine that as an Olympic sport.
I am not an Olympian. I have never been in the park, let alone on the track or on the plinth. I did come third in an egg and spoon relay race in 1974, though the fact of my performance is lost to history. It might never have happened. No shield was ever engraved or presented. I’ve made my peace with that.
Elite sports are not for everyone. It’s enough to compete for a seat on the bus if you are unsure where the seat is, and you are doing it blind because it’s rush hour, and a tremendous hush has descended on the #159. Come to think of it, navigating your way to work blind would be an excellent competitive sport. It would turn notions of what it is to be an Olympian on its head.
Being gloriously average has its advantages. I’m free to go back to bed for a good snooze and further adventures in upholstery or space travel. If sleep were an Olympian sport I’d be the last person to get picked for my team, On the up side, there is always hope of improvement without having to stand up. No ear guards are required and it’s rich in experiences from driving ice trucks to making bolognese. Being a dreamer has never left me in any doubt that being gloriously average has got its advantages. You might say it’s something to aspire to.