by Matt Worley
The annual eye exam in 9th grade (they did these in school...do they still do this?) labeled me partially blind. Especially from long distance. So I had to get this fixed. Not wanting glasses, I opted for soft contacts and spent the next four years or so doing the daily contact thing.
Sometimes the contact folded up and went up into my eye (this happened a few times in the first year), and the doc decided I produced a hell of a lot of eye mucous. So I had to get stronger contact cleanser. Sometimes I didn't rinse the contacts well enough and spent the day with my eyes and nose running.
One of these days at school was apparently so disheartening to one of my classmates that the next day she asked me if my parents were getting a divorce.
No no. It's just my allergies and contacts.
When I went to college, I stopped wearing the contacts. And stopped getting allergy shots. At pretty much the same time. While I couldn't necessarily recognize people over twenty feet away, I got really good at getting through life without long range vision. For over twenty years.
The last time I had to renew my driver's license, I went to one of the MVD Express places close to my job. They didn't have those electronic eye checkers, they only had an eye chart with big arrows pointing at the line you're supposed to read. As my info was verified and the guy was typing stuff into his computer, I memorized the correct line. When I had to "check" my eyes, I stepped back to the taped line on the floor and "read" the letters. Presto! New driver's license for eight more years.
After that I told people when I turned forty, I'd get glasses.
On my last vacation day before going back to work for the new year, I walked into the no appointment necessary eye doctor attached to the frame store and made an appointment for about three hours later in the day.
The exam was relatively painless. "Is A better or B? A or B? C or D? This one or this one?" Click, switch, click. Blink, close my eyes, blink.
The doc determined that my close up sight was fine, and I shouldn't wear my glasses while on the computer. He told me this three times. I nodded. I affirmed. I would not do this. I wasn't planning to do this anyway.
Picking frames is hard. I'm not sure what the glasses are supposed to look like on me. I've never been a big fan of sunglasses, either. I wear them sometimes, but I've never been a glasses fan. I knew people who wore glasses with fake lenses because they liked the look (it got them laid, or at least they thought it helped). I wasn't ever one of those guys.
But I found some that seemed fine (after trying on way too many). Realized the frame price doesn't include the lens price (per eye, even). And got the process started. The girl said they could have my glasses done in an hour (it was 4:30 by this time), but I said I wouldn't pick them up till the next day. She went into the "lab" and I heard the tech say, "In an hour?" with an alarmed voice.
So the next day after work, I went to pick up the glasses. The girl took them out of the holder and said, "These are dirty, but do you want to put them on and make sure they work?"
I took the glasses and cleaned them quickly with the edge of my shirt.
You aren't supposed to do this. I proceeded to get lectured by two people about how to clean my glasses. I felt like this was entrapment, but listened anyway. And then the girl cleaned the glasses (the right way) for me.
I think I'm a worse driver with the glasses on. I get distracted by all these things I never paid attention to before because they were blurry or fuzzed out. I'm sure I'll get used to being able to read license plates, billboards and street signs, but now I'm shocked by how clear they are. I tend to stare a little longer than one should.
But I guess that's what happens when you get old.
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