eight eyes

You would think that a blogger writing under the guise of a running carrot would be both speedy (I’m not) and in possession of keen visual acuity. Carrots, after all, allow their eaters to see in the dark and through walls and such, no? Well, no. It’s all baloney. And this carrot… Well, this carrot needs glasses.

I’ve actually needed glasses since my seedling days. And I did wear them for a while. I particularly remember a pair of bright purple frames that, in my elementary years, were the coolest. But then middle school insecurity kicked in. And in high school, that adolescent sense of invincibility. Who needs glasses? I can see just fine.

But, carrots readers, I am approaching the ripe old age of thirty. Grad school decimated not only my bank account and my sense of the outside world but also my ability  to, you know, see things. Victorian periodicals are printed in very tiny type! And my driver’s license was expiring. I had a sneaking suspicion that the vision test would not be such a breeze as it used to be. I was having nightmares of standing, humiliated, in the DMV, my forehead pressed against the greasy headrest of that enormous viewfinder, squinting at a row of letters that will not come into focus. FAIL! the DMV officer would intone, and I would shuffle out, dejected under the sad fluorescent lighting, mocked by all of those people standing in line who did not come with the proper documentation.

So I made an appointment and trotted off to get my eyes checked. I steeled myself for that annoying little puff of air meant to dilate your eyes. But as soon as I arrived, the receptionist sent me away. It seems my insurance requires that my primary care physician provide a referral. For an annual eye exam. Bah.

My regular physician was unavailable, so I instead booked an appointment with this condescending, happy-Barney-dinosaur of a doctor who withheld my referral for an unreasonable amount of time and made me undergo all sorts of evaluations and acrobatics that have nothing to do with getting an eye exam. Weight, height, blood pressure. A discussion about “how things are at home.” Questions about my exercise regime. A mind-numbing series of anecdotes about Pickles, her geriatric cat. And, finally, a brief eye exam — which is what I wanted all along! just not here! As I covered one eye with that clammy circle of plastic, we had conversation that went something like this. (The optometrist will be played by Richard Simmons. I will play myself.)

Richard “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” Simmons:  Can you read that top letter?
Me:  You mean the enormous E?
RS:  Good job!  That’s fantastic!
Me:  I’m not blind.
RS:  You’re doing such a good job!
Me:  (glower)

I don’t handle the atta-girl attitude well, especially when it’s unmerited. Or when it isn’t followed by a cookie. But I finally made it out of the doctor’s office, referral in hand. And after much hand-wringing and angsty musing and facebook polling over which frames suit my face — a face that, after trying on so many pairs of glasses, felt puffy and funny shaped and weird — I bought glasses.

So now we’re an eight eyes household over here at the Smiths. (Danny has worn glasses since he was eighteen.) It’s nice to focus on that street sign up ahead, but I’m surprised at how challenging my transition from two eyes to four eyes has been. I expected a few headaches and some disorientation, but getting new glasses has made me reevaluate my face. A lot. Lately, as I walk through the grocery store, I’m convinced that passerby are eyeing my glasses, making silent judgments. I’ve caught my reflection in a window and wondered who that strange bespectacled person is. And I’ve caught a few suspicious looks from the cats, who eye me sideways and wonder if the woman in the glasses still hands out the treats.

I consider myself a well-adjusted and reasonably confident adult-type person. I suppose what has surprised me most of all is how something as puny as a pair of glasses can make things go atilt for a moment.

Of course, I have many wonderful friends who have assured me that glasses make me a librarian-chic, academic goddess who can walk through walls and make Arby’s roast beef sammiches appear out of thin air.

Okay, I might have made that last part up. But I’m going with it.


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