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seeing can be disbelieving

I have been spending more time with my mom lately. The truth is she can’t see very well. I was the one brave daughter who told her I don’t want her driving anymore . I now have the lovely task of driving her to a myriad of doctor’s appointments. It’s a sad and cruel truth that as we get older we have to go to the doctor a lot. Who has time for such drudgery? You could say “retired old people.”  It hasn’t been so bad.  I have been enjoying the time we have together.  But today she said something I just cannot wrap my head around.

Today I took my mom to the eye doctor. We showed up for her appointment to find out her doctor had up and retired two weeks ago with no notice. Why didn’t anyone call her to tell her this before I bore two hours of traffic on the 405 and a mad dash to PCH to get to Irvine via Jamboree on time to prevent my mom from worrying too much? Would a phone call have been that much trouble?  We could have postponed this appointment. The optometrist gave her an exam anyway, and told her the left eye had improved. They took a photo of the inside of her eyes to show a real eye doctor later. The optometrist said she is okay to drive because the left eye is perfectly fine for driving if she feels okay to drive and can see well that day.

To pass the time waiting for her appointment we talked about the news. Hot topics besides my friend’s Indian Jewish wedding were Diana Nyad swimming the channel, and Ariel Castro comitting suicide in jail. My mom had heard about the heroic swimmer but not about the horrific predator.  I said It was quite a feat of timing on Castro’s part since they were checking on him every thirty minutes at staggered intervals. I told her he hung himself in his cell with his bed sheet.  She was impressed he could figure out the logistics in his cell.  But her next comment is almost too offensive to post here.  Yet I need to process this and I know she will never read my blog since she can’t figure out her computer. She said, in reference to the teenagers turned women he held in captivity and raped and abused for a decade, “Well, you know, none of those girls was very attractive.”

Silent pause then a quiet thud as my chin hit the floor.

I declared, “They were held captive for ten years! You can’t exactly expect them to look their best. They were cute when they were teens. They were pretty. Besides he didn’t choose them for their looks, he chose them because he knew them and could trap them. I can’t believe you said that!”


My mom sheepishly said, “Well, maybe I just couldn’t see them very well.”

Failing sight issues aside I can’t believe her focus was on if the girls were attractive or not. How about the fact they were horrifically victimized, suffered all kinds of heartache over their losses, and yet somehow survived. Perhaps she was just trying to make gossipy conversation like she does with her buddies at the gym. But it was unconscionable. Does she really think this way? I hope my mom can gain some real insight as she loses her physical sight.

Whether they were attractive by society’s standards is not the issue. Women should not be abused, period.  Looks have absolutely nothing to do with this.

To me the most beautiful woman in the world is the 64 year old swimmer who after her fifth attempt to swim the channel between Cuba and Florida walked solo onto the beach in Key West with swollen lips and puffy eyes and abrasions on her cheeks and with slurred speech told us to never ever give up, you are never too old to reach your dreams, and it is not a solo sport, it’s a team.  Alongside Diana Nyad I include the three women in Cleveland, Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry.