They've promised to show me how to clean them, store them--even how to put them on and take them off. What my friend Robyn calls "the care and feeding" of my new eyewear.
Which is a good thing, because the fact that I need glasses feels about as natural as if I'd suddenly grown a p*nis.
It's like the doctor smiled and said "Well, whaddaya know? You've got late adult onset p*nis! It's kinda rare, I won't lie. But completely normal, I assure you. We'll get you set up with a prescription for some new underpants and you'll be right as rain. 'Course, it will take a little getting used to. But your p*nis is not very big, so it won't be a huge change. You may only notice your p*nis when you're driving at night, or in a movie theater. But feel free to use it whenever you want."
Absurd, right? But I have lived my entire life with 20/20. I've been quizzing everyone I know about that profound moment when they discovered they needed their first glasses, and most of them have rubbed their chins thoughtfully and said something like "Well, I was in seventh grade. I think. I don't really remember. Actually, I don't really remember a time when I didn't have glasses." The majority of people I've questioned who appear to be spectacle-free cheerfully admit, "Oh, I have contacts." or "I got Lasik 10 years ago."
Like it's no big deal.
Readers, I'm here to tell you, it's a big deal for me. I've told you that my eyes started bothering me over the holidays, like they had boulders in them. (They still do, but apparently that's a separate issue: Dry Eye Syndrome. I'll refrain from exercising the p*nis analogy here.) I have read many an eye chart in my day, and I could pretty much skip to "Made in China from Synthetic Materials" in 8-point font in the lower right corner. My eyes were DOPE. They looked good, and they worked good. End of story.
Except this time, I couldn't see the eye chart. Like, at ALL. Blink, blink, blink. And then a lot more blinking, to clear the tears. I couldn't even see the TOP LINE. It was better through the little paddle with the tiny holes, a lot better. But that was small comfort. I had FAILED the eye chart. Nothing would ever be the same. (Yeah, yeah, I know what some of you are thinking: suddenly growing a p*nis would be more prize than punishment. Try not to analyze things so much.)
I thought maybe if I faithfully used my eye drops 10 times a day like the doctor said, the bad eyesight would GO AWAY. I went in for a full eye exam, where I looked at a hot air balloon, got some stinging drops, and then everything went totally blurry. I was grateful to have my friend Grace in the room when that happened. She looked after me. Why do they say you can drive afterwards? I couldn't even WALK. I clutched her arm on the way to the car and then I couldn't even see my phone until 5:30 that evening. Hours after the fact, I put in some Visine and gallons of thick, yellow tears ran down my face. Is that even normal?
My retinas are fine. "Really?" I said. "I don't have blepharitis?" "No." "Keratitis?" "No." "Shingles on my corneas?" "What the @#$%&* is that?" Perhaps someone has been abusing the internet. She moved the little windows around, stood up resolutely and said "You're at 20/20!" before breezing out of the room.
20/20 with GLASSES, that is. 20/50 without. I whispered to Grace, "Is that the freakiest number anyone's ever had?" "Mine is like 300," she whispered back. Oh. And my close-up vision is fine. Which is kind of weird for my age. Then again, I've always been weird, at every age.
Following a highly scientific FB poll, I brought David and Jarrah and my internet-parsed prescription to a fancy-pants glasses store recommended by my friend Martha. In response to their polite query about my preferences, I announced, "I want something fancy." The gal didn't hesitate before producing a blue pair with floral filigree and tiny blue diamonds around the edges. I was in love. David said they looked like they were upside-down, but I wouldn't hear it. I also peeked at the price and noticed they were about a million dollars. Clearly, I was going to need a nicer purse to carry them in.
Because I started with the diamonds, it was hard to backtrack to anything "geek-chic" or (horrors) utilitarian and practical, but have no fear--I tried on frames for over an hour. I learned that I am nose pad-intolerant. I also learned that I like round, but round doesn't like me. And that anything too dark makes it look like my entire head has disappeared. Jarrah went from mildly interested to actively protesting, and David's input was limited. (He later said, "I didn't need to say, 'Um, NO' because they all looked good on you." Awww.) The owner of the shop quietly yanked away any pair I had misgivings about, until only one remained.
My glasses are French, by a company called Lafont. They are multi-colored, and have sort of...lightning bolts on the sides? They are not boring. They are not practical. They are not really the glasses of a girl who plans to wear them only driving and at the movies. But some part of me has been seeing this as a coming-out party for my eyes. They have busted the chrysalis of their past life and now they need a big-ass party.
Outside, I was seized with buyer's remorse. Not because I don't like them. "What if the reason I want really cool glasses is because I don't think I'm cute anymore, and I'm trying to hide? Or because I'm trying to compensate for not actually being cool myself??" David calmed me down in his usual fashion. "You're over-thinking this. You're cute and you'll have cute glasses." and then the really devastating truth: "Besides, it's not like this is the only pair of glasses you'll ever have."
Oh. Right. And that's the part I just can't get my mind around, Readers. The permanence of this condition. Even worse, the certainty of more unfamiliar eyes to come. And the wave of strangeness when I borrow the specs of someone else with "distance myopia" in a sports bar and discover--with an internal soundtrack like a brick dropping on a piano--that the TV across the room has words on it. Like I suddenly have someone else's eyes in place of my own razor-sharp peepers. Feels about as comfortable as getting a totally new body part. Of any kind.
Through all this unfamiliarity, this unrootedness, there's only one thing I know for sure: the new glasses are rad. And I plan to rock them, even if it feels weird at first. Hey, I'm an actor. I'll just pretend I'm playing the part of "Girl With Glasses #5." With any luck, it will eventually feel like the role I was born to play.