I remember the first time I discovered I needed reading glasses. Sitting in yet another crushingly boring meeting I was handed a printout of a spread sheet in point 17 font. In an attempt to squeeze all the information on to one 8 by 11 piece of paper the analyst had resorted to the smallest font possible at the time, and throughly defeated the rest of the meeting’s participants ability to decipher it.
Not that this information had any importance to life, the universe and everything, but not being able to make it out did make me feel, well, handicapped. Here I was, just a moment ago ready to throw myself out the window rather than listen to yet another “operational analysis” of an insurance company’s procedures, and now I was cheated of a quick death by sudden inability to be bored to tears. Now I would have to live with “confounded” instead. I went to the eye doctor the next day and declared I had suddenly become legally blind.
He commiserated with me and announced that most patients came to him with this problem directly after a festive New Year’s eve, claiming “alcohol poisoning.” “No, my friend” he said sagely “ Tis age that has fallen upon you. Probably been happening for a long time, but you failed to notice.” I told him after that pronouncement we were no longer friends. He gave me a prescription anyway and I entered the eyeglass world.
It is a two step world. First, someone examines your eyes, often leaving you blind and un-focused in the daylight for the next few hours and then you have to go somewhere else to get that examination turned into glasses. This always seems to take at least two weeks. By the way it is unsafe to pick out glasses yourself. These accouterments will be plastered on your face for the rest of your life, changing your appearance forever. The people who sell them are no help whatsoever, always bring someone who loves you to make sure you don’t spend the next two weeks waiting to look like “Poindexter” (Unless that’s what you were going for).
Many years later I discovered that my original solution to partial blindness had begun to attack me in strange ways. Shooting pains raced up and down my arm and a couple of fingers lost feeling completely. I had always had “progressive” lenses that changed the distance focus depending on how you tilted your head. This was easy to get used to, and became completely natural in about a day. It meant I wore glasses all the time but that had the benefit of removing my chances of taking them off and leaving the somewhere, which I am quite prone to do. In fact I am so known for misplacing things that when I told one of my old friends my wife had died of cancer, I used the term “lost” and he said “Dude, that’s pretty serious. You better double check. Look Everywhere!”
The pains I felt turned out to be a common symptom of the dread malady “Computer neck” (which needs a better name) and were due to tilting my head in one position for hours and hours each day sitting in from of a computer screen. It was my graduation to two sets of glasses.
Now instead of losing them, I always seem to be wearing the wrong pair. I had this conversation with my youngest son the other day:
“How late were you up last night?”
“About one, then I went right to sleep.”
“You weren’t partying all night?”
“No, I got plenty of sleep. Why?”
“I don’t know, you just seem very fuzzy this morning.”
Lately I’ve compounded the problem by attempting to remedy an issue I encountered with my new computer. It’s a very big Mac with a 27 inch screen. I love it, however with my old reading glasses I had to slide back in forth in my chair, nose to screen to take it all in. I talked to the eye doctor about this and had my prescription changed so that everything would be in focus when sitting back in my chair. To achieve this I held the test reading card way out beyond the reach of my fingers and she used that for the prescription. It works very well, except now I can’t see anything I’m holding in my hands.
These glasses do have their benefits though, should I suddenly stand up from my chair and go for a cup of coffee upstairs or something. I rarely make it all the way up the stairs without falling into the laundry room or stepping on a cat. This cuts down on my “wrong glasses” syndrome a great deal, and has proved immensely entertaining to the rest of the family.
In my daily researches for my job as a Tech columnist I’m constantly on the look out for a new development in glasses that lets them be more flexible. Perhaps a distance sensor or something? I’m sure the cats would appreciate it.
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2013