Odd News Show

Experiencing the Eclipse if You’re Blind or Have a Worse Excuse for Not Seeing It

People are worried about not seeing the solar eclipse, but for some, not seeing it is their only option. Here’s how their experience will also be ruined.

By Jason Salmon · April 8, 2024

Have you heard the one about the eclipse? Jusdevoyage/Unsplash

On Monday, April 8, millions of Americans will flock to specific parts of the country along the path of totality, to experience the 2024 solar eclipse and, I assume, some different kinds of fried food. But whether you’re able to catch the full four-minute spectacle, or later discover that even cauliflower can be chicken-fried, most of us will take for granted that the greatest impediment to our ideal experience is cloud cover…and maybe also the price gouging landlord of the Air BnB we rented - I don’t know why I have to clean the place and also pay you a cleaning fee, GaryFrancisRents!

But many Americans won’t see the eclipse at all, because they are blind. Your buddy Steve will just forget about it, and Lenny will still be passed out from the Eclipse party he threw the night before. But those aren’t the people I’m talking about.

I blame God  Marek Okon/Unsplash

People who are blind or have limited sight, don’t just have to worry about heavenly deterrents like the rest of us. They have to also rely on the cooperation of the people around them not to step on (sometimes literally) their altered experience. And if there’s anything we all know about the people around us, it is that they’re the worst. Even the people who are trying - companies catering to the blind and sight impaired to connect and enhance their aural experience to this celestial vision - might ruin it.

Lightsound, a device that emits instrumental sounds to correspond to detected light changes, might not be your cup of tea. You might think the brightest light should be less flute and more oboe. And that’s a best-case scenario. More likely, that same experience will be just fine until it is ruined by Linda from the Piggly Wiggly who is FaceTiming baby talk with her two-year-old grandchild like she does at every community event.

C'mon Linda!  Georg Arthur Pflueger/Unsplash

The fact is, an eclipse doesn’t come around that often and when it does, we try to get the full effect. For most, it’s a simple visual, but for some people, the sounds change, for others, it’s a shift of smell in the air. I’m sure there’s some touch and taste stuff in there too, but I wasn’t ready to venture where that internet research might have taken me.

Nonetheless, we know that this eclipse could be a multi-sensory experience for some, and only singular for others. But more than anything, we can be assured of the singular collective human experience - being around other people is probably going to ruin this thing for all of us.

Happy Eclipsing.