You may be saying to yourself something like, "Well, sure. Everybody wonders what it's like to be blind, don't they?" But that's not what I mean when I say that. I don't mean that I used to wonder what it was like to not see. That didn't fascinate me very much. I would imagine that just closing your eyes would give you a pretty accurate idea of what that's like. What I mean was that I used to just wonder endlessly about blind people. Does that make any sense?
What's interesting was that I didn't find out about the existence of blind people for a very long time. For my discovery I have Barney to thank. If it weren't for Barney I would have spent the majority of my prepubescent life totally oblivious to the existence of blind people.
On the episode of Barney in question - the one that clued me in - they had a blind person on the show. Of course. She was a little older than me, but of course a little older back then felt like decades or centuries older. She was basically on the show because she was blind. I don't mean that as an insult or anything; it's the truth. What they did was follow her around her house for a day with a camera to see what her life was like. It wasn't very exciting. The point they were trying to make was that blind people aren't really any different than normal people, except for the fact that they can't see, which really wasn't that big of a deal.
(So that's what I mean when I say that she was on Barney because she was blind. If she wasn't blind there wouldn't have really been any point to it. It'd just be showing a normal person walking around their house and eating breakfast and playing with toys, and I think you can expect even a five year old to figure that a normal kid is just like other normal kids.)
I think they failed with me, though. Because when I was done watching that episode, I didn't think, "Wow, she's just like me." I wondered, "Wow. How does she not fall asleep all of the time?"
Let me back up. I've always been a heavy sleeper. I was never very good at naps; inevitably fifteen minutes became a half hour became an hour became two hours. (So I guess you could say that I was too good at naps.) So I wondered how a person could basically have their eyes closed the whole day and not just conk out there and then. It's immature logic, I know, but that's what I wondered for a long time.
It didn't help that I never actually met a blind person. But that changed in middle school.