I can see clearly now;I wish I could walk

Me, 1982

Me, 1982

foureyes

Me, today

Today I provide for you two pictures to illustrate my  post. It’s about my new glasses — the first prescription pair I’ve ever worn.

I consider these glasses — freakin’ progressive lenses, for god’s sake — the official end of my youth.

Friends on Facebook and in real life are always telling me: You haven’t changed one bit since high school.

Sweet things, all of you, for lying to me. I’ll take any ego-soothing lie I can get these days.

But guess what?  I have changed. No more denial. No more faking it.  It took a few doozies — most of them involving cooking disasters —  for me to stop paddling against the current of reality.

So I gave in. I scheduled an eye exam, figuring the optometrist would tell me what I already knew: I needed reading glasses.

Imagine my shock when he told me I was far-sighted and probably had been for a number of years. I counted back at least three years to when I first started noticing eye problems. Not only were my eyes “a little bit worse than most 40-somethings,” but also my work as a copy editor  had exacerbated the problem. Wearing $20 over-the-counter glasses for the last two years hadn’t helped, either.

I picked up the new lenses on Friday. Little did I know there’s a learning curve. There’s about two weeks of adjustment.

“Be careful on the steps,” the optician advised as I pulled on my coat and grabbed my new frames, case, cleaning kit and paperwork.

Did I look like a klutz to her? Maybe she should be careful on the steps, I muttered under my breath as I stumbled out the door.

Within minutes I knew what she meant: Wearing progressive lenses at first is like navigating the fun house at the county fair. Nothing is as close or far way as it appears.  The floor/ground is all-at-once right under your nose and somehow very far away. The contrast between objects near and far almost feels like a 3-D effect. Vertigo hit me almost instantly as I attempted to walk across the expansive parking lot to my car. I felt myself taking big, stiff lurching footsteps like the Frankenstein monster.

When I arrived home, I was overcome by nausea. I had to rest  for a while to get my sense of balance back.

A few days later I understand that I cannot look down while walking. I need to feel my body moving through my environment using instinct and experience rather than trying to navigate entirely with my eyes. Once I had my sea legs, I started really looking at things. Much has escaped my attention in the last few years: mysterious spatters on the walls, a lacework of fine cracks in our plaster, my Girl from the East’s ears (does no one else in this house clean ears at bath time? I thought I was but apparently my efforts were useless.)

I won’t even go into what a terrible job I’ve been doing on my eyebrows. All I can say is I hope most of my close friends have terrible eyesight, too, otherwise let me just add this: I’m not really so slovenly. I thought I was doing a good job on personal grooming and housework. That counts for something, right?

Now I’m adjusting to a piece of plastic wrapped around half my head.  I thought it would be fun. I’m sure over time I’ll forget they’re on. But now, it feels like I’m in a rocket ship, looking through the cockpit window at space junk hurtling toward me at the speed of light.

I’m working on toning down the zombie shuffle, but I may keep it until Halloween has passed.

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