I have expensive taste in eyewear. This is partly due to what the cultural sadists among us refer to as "fashion sense", and partly due to the fact that I've been wearing cheaters since age ten (I was a precocious child; the warnings about masturbation came too late) and thus appreciate the difference between well-made and cheap glasses in a visceral way; the faint impression of the nosepiece of a crappy pair I was saddled (obscure optometry pun*) with in 1967 is still visible if the lighting is right. And it's part accident: I live in the trendy little village of Broad Ripple, ** so my local optometrist is, well, trendy.
One nice thing about fashionable eyewear, aside from the fact that paying for it pretty much forces you to forgo the use of gasoline for a year, is that the modern trendy optometrist helpfully provides you with a list of celebrities who share your taste, except they get theirs gratis. I'm now a part of the Lunor family, alongside Stephen Spielberg, Ringo Starr, David Letterman, and Oprah. We have a LISTSERV group.
This made me wonder about what my first pair would have been like back in '64 if we'd have been so all-fired fucking celebrity obsessed. Here, kid, try these on. Abe Zapruder favors 'em.
The other salient feature of this place is that they have a battery of testing devices which, taken together, provide an answer to the mystery of what Josef Mengele was up to in his final years. The "patient" is laced, cuffed, or hydraulically flattened into a series of machines which contort him in various ways while all performing the identical task of shooting laser beams directly into his skull while he presses a clicker to indicate how close he is to passing out. The experience was actually remarkably similar to the time I saw Pink Floyd in 1974.
All of this occurs before they lead you, half-blind, into the exam room so you can sit in the chair while wondering if the doctor is, in fact, aware that he's scheduled to work this particular shift. This time he showed, eventually, and this time he told me that my pressure was higher than normal, although my glaucoma test was fine, and he'd be wanting to see me repeatedly for the next year to sample my baseline. I said I thought we should just meet for coffee first and see what happened. It turns out that humor is frowned upon in ophthalmology circles.
He told me very soothingly, twice, that I shouldn't lose any sleep over this, it was just precautionary. Which just makes me suspicious. Our first scheduled rendez-vous was two weeks ago. I arrived with the impression that I was just there to get my pressure checked, but instead I found myself being force-fed to half the machines again before being led, mad with vertigo, into a sound-proofed room where they keep the real torture devices. And I am now beginning to get the impression that something is horribly wrong with my eyes, there's some Malignant Monkey Growth he discovered last week and refused to tell me about before he could contact the CDC, and they're mostly interested in making sure the thing is confined to my skull for the few hours I have left and doesn't splash on anyone else when it explodes. I eventually got another pressure test (the tech actually forgot that one and I was pulled out of the exam room for it, another clue that they weren't being straight with me). So I got another dose of those eyeball-numbing drops, despite the fact that, as I tried to explain, the ones I'd gotten the previous week still seemed to be working, if by "working" one meant a continuation of the splitting headache I'd had constantly since. The tech looked at me like a nun looks at a condemned man (she was about eighteen inches away, so I could still see her) and then told me a story about her new puppy.
Several hours and no explosion later the doctor returned--I'm guessing he'd gotten the All Clear from Atlanta--and gave me some more drops, and shot another light into my eyes to see if there was anything left undestroyed, and he told me that my pressure was still high, but he now knew the reason--I have thicker corneas than previously observed in the species, which were giving a false reading. This reminded me that I had neglected to add "mutant" to my medical questionnaire.
SO they arrived last week, along with the Oakley shades (Michael Jordan, Djibril Cissé), and I've had the pleasure of trying to adjust to continual focus lenses, or gradient lenses, or whatever the hell they call 'em. I got them mostly because I felt obligated--I resisted bi-focals last time around, and everybody was so concerned about me I thought the least I could do was take their advice. And ten days later I still take 'em off to read and put them on top of my head in order to read boilerplate in public.
Which is what I was doing in the pasta aisle of the grocery yesterday. Mr. Riley has used De Cecco pasta (Jessica Alba, Christian Slater, Dom DeLuise) for the last thirty years, whenever possible, but certain shapes aren't available, so I was trying to read the fine print on some prohibitively expensive designer creste di gallo and there's a guy walking up and down and up and down and UP AND DOWN the friggin' aisle yammering non-fucking-stop into a fucking headset. And, no, he doesn't appear to work there, or be the field representative of some vendor, or to have dashed in from his job at Burger King; he's got a basket, which he is presently engaged in not filling because he's talking NON-FUCKING-STOP into this foolish piece of shit looped onto his head, and like all such people who just can't stop conducting their personal lives, ever, he's doing so at a volume you'd use to call a distant dog, and he's talking about nothing whatsoever, because if you had anything to actually talk about you wouldn't behave that way. And I'm still nursing that eyeball numb-er hangover. And I look up to give him the glare which says okay, at this point, if you were worth going to jail over the person on the other end of that foul contraption would now be listening to your internal digestive processes, and I notice that he's, like, thirty-five years old.
They hate us for our freedom.
* The bridge of pair of eyeglasses is shaped either like a saddle, or a keyhole. I'm a keyhole, unless I misunderstood the guy.
**I don't, and neither do 50% of the other people who claim to and 75% of the businesses that advertise a Broad Ripple location. The Village (more casually Ripple) was a small town on the Central Canal (actually two small towns, Broad Ripple and Wellington, one on either side) which was devoured by the cultural colossus that is Indianapolis in the 1920s. Hit hard economically in the 1950s when the first mega-mall went up a couple miles away, it bounced back as the commercial center of what passes for Bohemianism in the Middle West, and It retained its small-town atmosphere and 1920s infrastructure into the latter stages of the 20th century, when its high-powered merchants association--the closest thing it has to local governance--decided the more liquor licenses they allowed to be crammed into a three block area the better.