Friday, January 11, 2013

New Eyes for the New Year

By vocation and avocation, I do a fair amount of reading.  A few weeks ago, a started to feel strain in my eyeballs, especially when I was doing the sort of light reading that had me constantly looking from the book on my lap up to the television screen while a ballgame of some sort was playing in the background--a practice that I do not recommend.  I could get my eyes to focus on those different distances, but it was taking and longer and longer.  I could tell that bifocals were in the future of this middle aged man.

My first thought was that I should go to one of those professional places instead of the "glasses and oil change" places I've gone in the past.  My eyes are my livelihood so I'd better take good care of them.  And I even went so far as to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist recommended to me.  But the next available appointment was three weeks down the road, and I'm afraid I've conditioned myself to want things quicker than that once I've made up my mind (I mean, why isn't there a glasses drive through??).

So one day I went down to the commercial center of the metropolis I call home and found the same place I had gone to five years ago.  The deal of the day was, "free eye exam, and buy one get one free complete pair of glasses."  They got me in to see the eye doctor, who confirmed that I would read much more comfortably with a different prescription.  So, since I was getting two pairs of glasses, I figured I could get one pair of bifocals for reading on the couch, and then another pair that was just distance vision (which had also slipped a bit since my last exam five years ago).  I wandered out through the hundreds of frames for a few minutes, picked a couple of pairs I thought would do the trick, and the helpful staff complimented my choices.  I was told they'd be ready that afternoon.

When I brought them home, it was time for the big reveal of the new me to my good wife.  I should preface this by saying that the fashion sense in our household has not been equally distributed.  Evidently the books I read don't lend themselves to cultivating aesthetics.  Anyway, I showed her the new distance specs, and she responded with a lukewarm, "they're OK".  It was the kind of "OK" that spoke volumes in what was not said aloud.  She was very gracious, but the grace was tinged with sadness that I was perhaps not looking my best.  Maybe they were growing on her, however, because she seemed to talk herself into the judgment that they'd be fine.  "They are not very distinctive, but they'll be fine."

Then I reach into the bag to pull out the bifocals.  My reasoning here was that they would be more effective if they were larger, so that each of the lenses would have ample space to do their respective refracting of the light waves.  I announced the new me saying something about reconciling myself to looking like a middle aged person and then looked straight at my wife through the top half of the lenses.  Her reaction was a cringe and barely audible "Oh dear" (which I don't think I was supposed to take amorously), and then she composed herself and said very calmly, "Well you weren't planning on wearing these in front of people, right?"  Not exactly a ringing endorsement of my new look.

And they didn't wear so well over the next couple of days, because I was wearing them in front of people--namely her.  I thought she looked pretty good as I looked through the glasses; the sentiment was not reciprocal.  So that sent me searching for the return policy on the franchise's website, which was very generous:  "If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your eyeglasses, return them for a full exchange."  So the next day, my good wife accompanied me to the store, and I found the same clerk who had helped me before, and I announced to her, "I'm afraid that I am not completely satisfied with my eyeglasses."  She saw my wife and immediately realized the situation.  Her compliments on my choices a few days earlier shifted instantaneously to the choices of my wife.  We found two new pairs, and it turned out that they didn't even want the old ones back (is that a bad sign?).  So I am now the proud owner of four new pairs of glasses--one of which in non-distinct, and the other can't go out in public.


Sam Ochstein said...

Oh I can't wait to see the new you, Jim! I literally laughed out loud as I read your post. Thanks for sharing these unique and funny life episodes!

Rev. Steven F. Kindle said...

Just finished reading your Century article, Cosmic Question. Wonderfully reasoned, that is, until I got to your final paragraph. Just how is it that God sustains the world? How is it accomplished "personally?" Is it simply a matter of faith, and if so, how is that any different than filling in the gaps?

Sorry, this is the only way I could find for contacting you.

Rev. Steven F. Kindle said...

BTW, these questions (in my last comment) are truly questions. I hope you will give them consideration. Thank you.