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Michael: So you spend more time alone and, I assume, indoors. Let me pry a little further. I know you like good food, and that you're a good cook. I'd think that both cooking and getting out to restaurants would be more difficult now. Do you do a lot more of one or the other?

Joel: I still prepare my own meals, and only go out to eat socially. There are changes, sure. Fewer new recipes tried on a whim because browsing through my cookbooks is impossible. Also, for safety and convenience, I cook less on top of the stove, and more in the oven and microwave.

Michael: You recently took up with an old friend: the steel-string guitar. Does that have something to do with the loss of vision?

Joel: Sight loss wasn't my main inspiration for getting a guitar again. It was about aging. I just wanted to recapture the blues and folk music I learned in my twenties. I can't see my fingers clearly on the frets, and have to grope around a bit, but it's coming along.

Joel on relearning the guitar

Michael: One more thing: you've been a bit of a gym rat at times - do you still keep in good physical shape?

Joel: I work out at home now, three times a week. Stationary bike for aerobic exercise, plus free weights and situps. I lost patience with the stress and time that commuting to the gym by bus was costing me. And I don't have to adjust all those machines by feel anymore.
Michael: Any other significant change in how you do things?

Joel: The most profound daily adjustments don't involve the practical challenges I can master alone, but those I can't. Having to ask for help constantly. No more slipping through a supermarket to grab a few items, exchanging greetings with the express lane cashier, and getting right back out in the world again, because I can't see the products clearly, can't read the labels. I have to locate the shift manager, get someone assigned to accompany me, and have an interaction I'm not always in the mood for. To shop for clothes or attend a concert, I have to find the appropriate and available friend. There's a lot of delayed gratification, feelings of helplessness, and fear of excessive dependency. Much balance is required, sought, and sometimes even achieved.