Thursday, March 27, 2008

death to a single-lensed dream ...

this piece of modern art is a self portrait of my eyeball taken a few months ago. in real life, my skin is a much pastier shade of translucent.

today my new eye doctor, a one-man laugh riot, said the funniest thing while standing in the same room as me.

"bifocals?" i repeated, like it was a french swear word.
"oh we'll call them pals," he poo-poo'd me. "progressive addition lenses."
"bifocals," i repeated. this time it came out more like the meatiest of luggies.

we chatted and came to a compromise: i'll stop reading the printed word in anything smaller than billboard sized and he will not yet banish me to walmart's spinning tower of unfashionable eyeware. deal? deal.

one of the weirdest things about having been birthed by people who fell in love as mere teenagers is that not only do i remember my mom's 27th birthday, i also remember the day her crossword puzzles went fuzzy and the two of us went shopping for her PAL. it doesn't seem that long ago. she was probably in her thirties ... oh. so now, not only do i bite my lip the same way and share her knees -- each puckered to look like round, cheerful little smiling faces, i, too, will soon learn how to hold my cell phone in the sweet spot where i can tilt my head back, peer down my nose and dial -- doing an interpritive dance that looks much like when our early ancestors first tried typing on computers.

when i have these little milestones en route to menopause and she seemingly stays the same age, i feel like my mom and i get closer and closer to a common peer group. [my mom makes 56 look pretty appealing. she's a cute lady. i can say that because she is not on the phone with me right now asking me what i wore to mass on easter.]

i'm sure bifocals have come a long way since the time pa ingalls built a pair for ma out of an old moonshine bottle and penny candy from the olesen's store, then sent the ole blue hair out to pasture with some kindling, a leg of lamb and the bible.

bifocals certainly can't hold the same stigma they did 20 years ago. it certainly doesn't for me. if, in 1988, you told me i'd be a 32 year old wearing a 62 year old's glasses, i'd have sprayed my bangs into a petulant peacock tailed fortress of neverending youth and said "nuh uh!"


HEWY said...

Funny story about the glasses, only your eye doctor will know.

christina said...

my eye doctor ... and the internet.

Sproactually said...

I remember as a child, my father reading the paper in his chair, his glasses off, thinking that's odd?

I fought the bi-whatchamacallits, for several years. finally I gave in. I put on my freshly minted transitions progressive eyeware and the room spun, I couldn't see but 6 feet in front of me. The eye doctor explaining it will take DAYS to become accustomed to moving my head to read things, not my eyes. Driving became a tunneled vision horror movie, not being able to see anything to my right or left, but after a few days, he was right, i could see again.

Now I can work on a computer in relative comfort, but all ready I'm taking off my glasses to read at home, and to read labels on parts at work. I need a stronger reading prescription all ready..


Miss Kate said...

I so want to meet your mother. She sounds like a hoot.

mage2001 said...

hmmm... does that make my sister old at age 17?!
she got her first pair of PALs when she was a senior in high school.
now she just doesn't wear any thing - and makes up words when she reads the "finer" print - as in cookbooks when she's making something new.
amazingly... things pretty much turn out ok. who needs glasses - period.

Tamara said...

They're not that bad...I've had them since I was 8, and now my eye doctor is trying to talk me into TRIFOCALS! We both know I'm not THAT old. And the progressive ones don't have the old-lady line, so no one needs to know.

Flenker said...

I think trifocals are the new bifocals, so you're still one step away from old person land.

Now when the joints start creaking and you have aches and pains every day, that's a preliminary sign of old age. And I've had that since I was 23. . .

nanners said...

i was told i could probably use some bifocals when i was 28 and 1 day. 28 and 1 day! my vanity rejected pearle vision's advice straightaway.

L Sass said...

Every time I see my parents, I think Damn! They are REALLY getting older.

As for myself, I am not to PALs yet, but I am starting to need the wrinkle cream. Frightening thought.

Vixen said...

I got bifocals the last year I lived in Duluth, and I sprang for the super-thin no line lenses, and they look no different than my last, non-bi-focal pair.

Although ... they took a solid week to get used to, where I completely lost depth perception and had many a curbside stumble. Just wear old pants that already have holes in the knees, and you'll be fine :)

From one ol lady to another -- S

chuck said...

Let's just hope that the people who make eyeglasses don't start meeting up with the people who make men's razors. It'd take weeks to get used to a new pair of Mach 5 lenses.

Beverly said...

I'm reading this without my glasses. My middle-aged eyes have changed. I asked the eye doctor about bi-focals, but he said for reading and using the computer, I should try taking my glasses off.
I think bi-focals would be less old-ladyish than taking glasses off to read things. Less obvious.