I have an eye infection. I’m taking antibiotics now, so it has improved a little since I took this picture of my grotesquely swollen eye.  It hurts as much as it looks as though it would, but I won’t regale you with the revolting details.

No, the point is that I have been avoiding people. I went and taught my class, of course, but otherwise I have stayed in my home with my hot compresses and whininess. I have a meeting today, and I’m thinking I need a piratical eye patch. I’m being introduced to the congregation as a new member in church on Sunday. I have another meeting on Monday.

It makes me wonder, though. If this turned out to be permanent, would I think I shouldn’t go outside? If I look like this when I’m 90, will I stay in my house and refuse to meet people? Should I, now that my everyday appearance is something that would have horrified me when I was 25, become a hermit?

Is there a rule that says that we have to meet some standard of visual appeal in order to take part in human society?

I don’t think I have this in my mind when I meet people. I have never thought, “That person is so unattractive; he should stay home.” And while my eye is monstrous looking, the whole pain and blurred vision part is a much more important part of the experience.

I don’t usually think of myself as vain. And even now, it’s not so much that I don’t want people to see me like this as that I don’t want people to have to look at something so distressing. Piratical eye patch, maybe.