Tuesday, August 16

And The Blind Shall See, And Then Lamely Write About It

If memory serves I was the sixth person in my elementary class to be sentenced to a lifetime of wearing glasses, the first being some girl who had apparently been born wearing them and was permanently excused from kickball and other forms of violence. The two boys who had preceded me to this doom were both at the nerdy end of the Playground Pecking Order, which furthered my anxiety. But I was a reasonably robust youth, good glove man, fair range on my jumper, owner of one of the first Schwinn Stingrays with a passable wheelie distance. It was a couple years yet before those cheaters became an issue, in my introduction to the pubescent poolside mating ritual when some hot little number in a two-piece (girls my age always wore pastel-colored two-piece suits in those days with a sort of Tactical D├ęcolletage Prevention System of extra material flopping around the top) would come up to me and say, "I waved at you and you just ignored me." Explaining that without my glasses her location on the other side of the pool effectively rendered her a fuzzy blob was worse than worthless. I was slow to catch on to the fact that I should just play along. Fortunately we changed school districts when I was fourteen and I got to start over again.

I didn't have to think much about glasses until about three years ago when, having sailed along in its wake for a few years my age-related hyperopia suddenly pulled out and overtook my myopia like it was standing still, creating a condition known as dystopia. No more than six months after I'd got new glasses, and turned down bifocals, I found myself holding newspapers at arm's length and adjusting the attitude of anything with small print like I was trying to dock a space capsule.

It's only marginally annoying. I've never worn glasses to read, and my closeup vision is still sharp, it's just hard to find the focal point. I worked one summer at the Coca-Cola plant and I read the Louisiana state motto off the seal on a bottle cap that came down the return line. None of my co-workers would believe it, until the guy who took one home to read it under magnification reported the next day that I was right. I wasn't about to buy new glasses so soon, and I eventually solved the problem, at least temporarily, by buying one of those eyeglass-holding cords so I can just let 'em fall to my chest when I need to read something close up.

I wear my shades for driving, because they're polarized, and I'm not about to switch glasses in the parking lot, so I'm sure there are several local businesses where the employees know me as The Crazy Older Guy Who's Always Wearing Shades, except that now they're always hanging from my neck. I was in the produce section this afternoon and my attention was commanded by an infant, maybe just over the toddler line, sitting in a cart about twenty yards away making happy baby sounds. Mom came walking up talking baby talk back at her. I thought I recognized her as a young woman of marginal acquaintance who shops there and has a child in that demographic. And, well, you know me; something took hold and I decided to walk up behind her and say, "Boy, that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen."

I guess it's a good thing that three steps before I blurted this out I realized the Mommy in question was about four inches too short to be my acquaintance.

1 comment:

D. Sidhe said...

A good thing, yes. In my experience, mothers don't take that sort of thing so well, especially when it's true.

Don't worry about the sunglasses thing. I've got a similar reputation, I expect. Migraines make me hypersensitive to light, so I wear the damned things practically everywhere, including parking garages. Once people knock off the Cory Hart jokes, they generally just sort of ignore it.
But it takes them a *long* time to get past the Cory Hart jokes.