In the last three years, there has been a strange phenomenon in my personal life. At first it was subtle. I hardly noticed. But like many insidious and hideous occurrences, it grew more and more obvious.
The first time it occurred to me that something was amiss I was typing away on my computer, fulfilling my writer’s destiny but couldn’t quite make out the letters. I arched my neck back—a little better. Then I pushed my laptop further back on my desk. That was much better. Now I could…. My hand flew to my mouth as the full realization hit me.
I’ve been fortunate throughout my life. I was never dependent on glasses to see. I had slight astigmatism, but nothing a very light pair of reading glasses, which I hardly ever used, and a pair of glasses for driving at night didn’t easily fix. But now, suddenly, even my reading glasses were no longer helping me. My eye doctor, bless her early-30's-something heart, told me it was nothing to worry about—that it was very common for—and here’s where I contemplated doing evil things to this sweet girl—“people my age.”
After I finally reconciled myself to the idea of needing reading glasses, I went to our local big-box, discount store and searched for a pair. I was delighted to see they were no longer the cat glasses of my mother’s generation. (Although, in the name of being retro-cool, I wouldn’t mind finding a pair like that.) Still reluctant, I finally picked out a pair with swirling purple colors I convinced myself were stylish.
I swore I would never be the kind of person to have a pair in every room. I swore I would never perch them low on my nose and peer at people over the top. Of course, I also swore I would never again clap and spin when I danced, and as my kids can tell you, I didn’t hold on to that promise either. (When Mama jams to the 80’s tunes, it’s time to break out the spinning mirror ball!)
I now own five pairs of what I’ve convinced myself are really cute and hip reading glasses of various shades and styles. I have a pair in my purse, a pair by my computer in my office, a pair by my bed, a pair in the kitchen because you never know when you’re going to have to read a food label or a recipe, and a pair that serves as a floater.
I need the floater pair because there’s always a risk I will lose a pair. Take, for example, the time this past summer when I was frantically looking for the pair of reading glasses—my favorite pair—the pair I swear I was just wearing in the kitchen to read a recipe. I looked high and low and sent my dear children on a mission to find them. I know I just had them! My kids glanced around half-heartedly, and then my son, losing interest, went to the refrigerator to grab a snack. “Mom,” he said. I detected a slight mocking tone. “I found your glasses.” From behind the refrigerator door his arm shot up holding the missing pair of lenses. “They were with the cheese,” he said, unable to hide his laughter.
Smart aleck, 21-year-old, whippersnapper. With as much dignity as I could muster, I snatched my chilled pair of spectacles from his hand. Apparently the eyes go first.
Then the mind.
Keep writing (even if you have to squint),