Through a glass brightly
When I was a teenager, I decided that I would look more mature and intelligent if I had glasses. So I told my mother that I was having headaches and wanted to get my vision checked. When the optician had me in his infernal machine and began twiddling knobs and swapping lenses, I slightly blurred and crossed my eyes. When his tests were completed, he told me that I had a slight astigmatism and should be fitted with reading glasses. I cheered quietly to myself and picked out a pair of tortoiseshell frames.
I could see fine through the new glasses but, after a while, ironically, they started to give me a headache. My mother began to badger me to wear them and so, eventually, I trod on them, they shattered, and they were never replaced.
I have always had very good eyesight. I can read a street sign from a block and a half away, that sort of thing. Most of the things that are important to me are experienced through my eyeballs: reading, drawing, watching movies, making commercials, etc.
My drawing pal, Tom Kane, is a couple of years older than me but when we go to out to dinner, he squints hard at the menu. Occasionally he remembers to bring his reading glasses along and stops just ordering the daily special. He says that his new far-sightedness doesn’t impact his drawing at all.
Patti wears glasses to watch movies or TV and is very shortsighted. So is virtually everyone in her family. My mother wears glasses, always has. She’s far sighted. I was surprised that last time I saw my father, he pulled out some reading glasses too. I had always counted on his genes.
I love to read just before bed; it help transition me to sleep. Over the last couple of months though, I’ve had to strain a little harder than normal to read. The letters are a little soft and, if I’ve had a really long day, I have to blink and rub my eyes to get decent focus. Most days, I spend a lot of hours in front of the computer screen in my office and recently have started to feel myself getting a little headache-y by mid afternoon.
Last week, I tried a colleague’s drugstore reading glasses and, pow!, everything was big and clear and bright and lovely. Damn, I guess I need reading glasses — for real this time. (Of course, my hypochondria lead me to assume that I was actually on a rapid descent into blindness and that my livelihood, hobbies, and chief pleasures would all soon be taken from me.)
I did some google research and discovered that it’s basically inevitable that, after forty, one’s lenses will start to harden and some sort of correction is inevitable. It’s called presbyopia.
Patti tells me I look sexy in glasses but I hate the idea. To go with my spreading middle and vanishing hair, I now have another pair of horn rims. I am not one of those people who obsesses about getting old, but, if I last as long as my grandfather (95 and counting), I assume I will have to come to better grip with my apparent mortality.
Of course, the day after I got the glasses, my vision improved and I stopped using them. But when the day’s been long and I’m tired, they help me more than I am happy to admit.