While scientists proclaim Antarctica to be the driest place on Earth, I would have to insist that, in fact, my left eyeball is the driest location on the planet. True story.
Turns out, I am especially sensitive to altitude difference and moisture levels (or lack thereof) in the air. My skin, eyes, hair, nails, sleep patterns and appetite are all heavily affected by my current geographical location. Perhaps this is the price I pay for studying Nature as a hobby; I've gotten too close to my subject.
After two weeks at sea level - my body sucking in all the oxygen and slurping up all the moisture it can manage - I've returned home to Denver, where there are 18% fewer oxygen molecules and very little moisture. While my heart is happy to be home again in my beautiful adopted state, other parts of my body tend to rebel. The left eyeball, especially.
It is not happy here and does want to face facts. I try to point out that my right eyeball, which has endured numerous surgeries and dramas and therefore has much more of a reason to complain, does not. I also like to mention the clean air, which surely must be kinder to a certain mucous membrane I know. Then, I always point out the bevy of rugged Colorado men running-hiking-skiing-biking everywhere - they are most certainly are easy on the eyes.
No matter. Morning tantrums ensue and it refuses to stay open, even when I have important shit to do. I end up wearing sun glasses at church like a redemptive Jack Nicholson. Many a phone call I conduct with my eyes shut tight like a telephone psychic. Bright sun can feel a like a thousand white hot needles straight in my iris, giving me a special affection for snowy or rainy days. (I don't even want to talk about fluorescent lighting, which is pure sensory evil no matter where I am or how I'm feeling.)
When it is really bad, I have to pull the car over and wait out the excruciating episode. No amount of fish oil tablets (3x a day), doctor-prescribed eye drops (Restasis, 2x a day) or water gulping seems to help. One thing I've noticed, the tantrums rarely last beyond 1 p.m.
Thankfully, being half-blind actually helps my guitar playing. Now, if I could just loose some teeth, find a rickety porch and learn me some blues chords, I'd have a legitimate act.
(Eyeball Image Credit: Larry McFarland.)