For the last nine months, I have struggled with glasses which I believed had been made wrong but which the optician who measured and ordered them swore were correct. Now I know that the mid-plane of three was higher in one eye; and the right lens did not carry the ordered prescription.
While I’m waiting for documentation of the errors so that I can get a refund and then order new glasses elsewhere, I’m wearing spectacles from two years ago. They aren’t right, either; but they are less wrong. New glasses will be properly measured (one can dream) and have a correctly configured prescription for both eyes. I’ll forswear the pretty purple plastic frames in favor of the sturdy basic Kate Spades of yester-year.
In the meantime, I’m viewing the world through slightly blurry lenses covered in a permanent film caused by the decay of some fancy treatment that I let myself get talked into ordering. A permanent headache lingers behind my eyes. Driving has gotten easier but reading requires me to discard the glasses. I see the computer monitor in a pleasant haze or hunched, bare-faced and squinting. For a woman who spends a grand every year for corrected vision, I’m struggling more than one would think reasonable.
But I’m not complaining, unless you consider seeking the refund to be “complaining”. I did it in the nicest of ways, forwarding the chain of emails from last winter in which I outlined the problems that persisted despite repeated adjustments. On the last visit, I let the woman talk me into keeping the glasses.
I wanted them to work. I get serious compliments on those purple frames. People remark on the color, the shape, and the incongruity of seeing a 61-year-old crippled lady wearing such gorgeousness on her face. Oh, they don’t say it like that. But you know that’s what they are thinking. Oh, I LOVE those glasses! One waiter practically fell over himself to exclaim. How bold of you! How daring! People don’t take enough chances! He actually chortled. His cries meant that he would not have expected me to be fashionable. He wore his own purple glasses with pride but understandably: in his mid-twenties, dressed in the current expensive trend, what else would adorn his face? I didn’t mind; I took what he said at face value. I might have even preened.
I am vain about some things. My hair; the shape of my eyebrows; my slender ankles. But the rest of me causes genuine dismay when I stand in front of the mirror. So when it comes to the band of plastic, metal, and glass planted in front of my eyes, I struggle to find something acceptable. I try on every frame that meets the doctor’s criteria for width and depth to accommodate my obnoxious prescription. In the old days, I wore contacts because, as everyone knows, guys don’t make passes at lasses who wear glasses. Unless, of course, they have a knock-out chassis. (It’s an old ditty from grade school.)
This boring passage about my glasses precedes this simple truth: I’m getting old. I’ve never much cared for what I see in the mirror, and now less so. The impact of this has been that I compliment other people a lot more. The simple truth? I’ve never gotten many compliments, and the fewer I get, the more I bestow on others, because why in God’s name not? Sometimes a simple, sincere remark upon the virtues of one’s glasses and how they decorate one’s face can mean the difference between a scowl and a beaming ray of sunshine brightening the world.
It’s the seventeenth day of the forty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.