Glasses

I finally caved in. I knew it was inevitable. I wanted to continue living in denial, hoping that keeping things at a distance, holding things up to the light would make all the difference. Life was becoming unfocused. Seeing distant horizons a problem. It just didn’t work. I have bifocals.

Having glasses is not a new thing. I’ve had them since sixth grade. Back then they were encased in heavy black plastic frames like Buddy Holly. I had the doo to match.

The first pair was great. Being able to see things more clearly improved my day to day functioning. I didn’t have to squint at the blackboard as Sister Mary Thomas explained some of the complexities of inverted fractions. Additional side benefits came in the ability to cast sidelong glances at Corrine O’Neil two rows over without being obvious.

Of course being twelve years-old also yielded repeated breakages from pick-up games and “touch” football in front of Wilson High School. Despite repeated admonitions from mom and dad, the black frames needed replacement on a regular basis. I finally got one of those nerdy black elastic straps to hold the glasses on my head. This was after they threatened to use a stapler to attach them permanently.

In the late 60’s of course I got wire rims. Everyone had them. I took on the John Lennon look and started listening to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. They’re gone, but I still have the glasses.

Glasses are a hassle at times. Occasionally in the morning in a distracted rush, I put them down and can’t find them. Surprise – surprise – I can’t see them. Other times it’s being awakened in the middle the night to some strange noise, convinced in my somnolent state that an armed band of thugs is taking my boat. Stumbling around in the dark – trying to find my glasses, I finally put them on haphazardly so I can see out the window, only to figure out it’s just the cats scrapping with each other.

I knew when I made my appointment with Doc Thompson that I was going to hear the word. He did his usual thing with my eyes including the drops we’ve all grown to hate, and then shook his head up and down and said, “It’s time.”

Both he and the lady at the optical shop were very helpful explaining what I could expect. I remembered one thing especially. Just point your nose at what you want to see and it will come into focus. Since my nose is a rather large I had no problem with that. The hard part was moving my head up and down trying to get the proper focus. The first few days I was a bobble-head.

It’s been three weeks now since I got the glasses and it is getting easier – like they said it would. The first few days I would’ve just as soon staggered around blind as wear the things.

My level of denial has decreased. I’m living with the inevitable, but I did make one concession to diminished perception. Thanks to modern technology the lenses I’m wearing don’t have lines. A little bit of self-delusion never hurt anyone, right?

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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