20/20 vision on remembering…


Now wouldn’t she have been a whole lot cuter with blue framed glasses on?  To maybe detract a little from the hair??

When I was in the 3rd grade, I wanted glasses, desperately, and to fulfill this plan, I did what any scheming 8 year-old would do and told my Mom that I was having a hard time seeing.

Seeing what?  The chalkboard?  Your books?

Yes.  All of it.  It’s all blurry.

And it was that easy.  My Mom took me to the nearest Ophthalmologist, which happened to be a few towns away, making the experience even more notable in my pretend to be weakening eyes.  I did my best to flunk the test, telling the Dr. that the blurriest lenses he tested on me were the clearest and vice versa.  I had no doubt that by the end of the day, I’d have glasses to add to my look, blue rims please.  I know this all teeters between down right strange and a bit pathetic with desperately seeking attention written all over it and I’ll confirm all three.  It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t have found the attention I craved from the corrective shoes I was sentenced to wear for a few rough years of my grade school career, but clunky black shoes trimmed in velvet in an attempt to make them attractive, simply were not cool.  At all.  And when the school dress code for girls was dresses and skirts only, they were also very hard to hide.  I dragged the toes of said shoes several blocks on the rough sidewalks on my way home from school one day, wearing holes in the toes of both of them so big you could see my socks.  It was my not so well thought out plan to get new shoes that were not of the corrective variety.  Instead of the new shoes I had hoped for, I was left with a pair of shoes with holes in the toes to wear until it was shoe buying time again, which was not any time soon.  Light blue cat-eyed framed glasses would have probably helped me get over my dumb shoes,  holes and all.

The Dr. and his machines were far wiser than my scheming 8 year-old self and miraculously I passed the test and even with extra credit as I was far sighted enough that had I needed to, my eyes could have made their way around the classroom come test time for a little help, which of course I never, ever did.  There were no glasses for me, but instead I received the consolation prize of a pair of temporary dark glasses to protect my dilated eyes in the light. They looked more like a big negative strip wrapped around my head than the glasses I had hoped for, but they were better than nothing.  I returned to school that afternoon, still wearing my pretend glasses,  and although the effects of the dilating had long since worn off, I continued to wrap that dark piece of film around my face for the next two days, looking more like Helen Keller than the 20/20 plus visioned 8 year-old that I was.  I insisted to my classmate that the eye Dr. told me I needed to wear goofy looking glasses for a few days because of the tests they had done on me. I don’t know, I might have even told them I had a rare eye disease for that matter.  It seemed to be the path I was on at the time.  I can’t help but think about my teacher looking at the girl in the classroom who with all seriousness was wearing a temporary pair of film glasses that are normally thrown away after a few hours.  She had to be rolling her eyes and shaking her head every time she looked at me, continually adjusting that ill-fitting piece of film around my ears, without even a shred of embarrassment amongst my peers.  No doubt the few kids in the class that legitimately wore glasses knew exactly what it was that I continued to  wrap around my face and tuck behind my ears, but they were kind enough to not say anything.

Last week, some 52 years later and still with good eyes and with my hopes of having to wear glasses long since faded,  I went to the eye Dr. and was told I need surgery.  My eyes are starting to catch up with my age…sigh… and although not necessary immediately, I was told that lens replacement will improve my vision immensely,  my vision that I didn’t realize was compromised.  Although I don’t have cataracts… yet… I will soon enough so the lens replacement surgery would be a proactive move.  I stopped giving the Dr. full attention upon hearing the word “cataract”.    I remember when I turned 50 and the AARP information started filling my mailbox.  AARP?  Seriously?  I felt like I had started getting some other persons mail… some old person, not me.  Cataracts make AARP sound like a subscription to Glamour magazine.

While at my recent eye exam,  my overachieving self stepped in and painstakingly tried to distinguish the letters in just one more row, feeling discouraged that I couldn’t read the bottom row at all.  I couldn’t help but think of the time I tried so hard to flunk the test to get the glasses, blue frames please, that I so desperately wanted.  Although I know this is a very common procedure, I’m still a bit uncomfortable with the idea of someone working on my eyes, making the idea of glasses sound not so bad.

I was offered  the disposable glasses when I was getting ready to leave, in case I  didn’t have “real” sunglasses with me,  and was surprised that they didn’t seem to have changed over the decades.  Thankfully, I had real sunglasses with me so turned them down.   Seriously?  I wore those in public for TWO days?  20/20 vision doesn’t necessarily mean an accurate or clear perspective when you go beyond the eye charts.  Thank goodness for maturity, even if aging eyes is part of the package.

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