Once upon a time I had perfect eyesight. Better than perfect, in fact. Falconesque some might say. It’s something I took great pride in except for a brief period in about Grade 2 when I was really jealous of the kids with glasses. I really wanted glasses. I have no idea why. It wasn’t because I envied bodily defects. I suppose I wanted something that made me distinctive; made me stand out. It was a phase. It passed. The following three decades were eyeglass free and happily so.
I Need Glasses
The following three decades are now very much over. Age, that relentless stalking bastard, has finally caught me. With middle age my wonderfully perfect eyes are failing with the predictability of rust on a domestic built 70’s automobile. A few years ago, reluctantly, I started needing glasses for reading. My eyes remained fully functional for all other types of visualization so this was a minor, reasonably tolerable change to my routine. I’d simply keep my reading glasses by the bed, the only place I typically read anything, and therefore only my wife would see me wearing these tell tale ocular billboards alluding to my deteriorating vision.
For awhile this worked wonderfully but it wasn’t too long before my visual acuity slipped further and I started requiring glasses when using the computer. This provided more vexing obstacles in my attempt to hide the deterioration of my bodily temple from the world. For one, my kids would undoubtedly see me wearing the glasses. Then again, they came out of the womb thinking I was old and nearing obsolescence so my ego was well adapted to their disappointment in me. My job, however, was almost entirely conducted using a computer so hiding this from my coworkers would be tricky. Okay, impossible, but I certainly was willing to try. A skillfully laid out office can provide valuable milliseconds of warning that someone is about to enter allowing one with lightning quick reflexes to remove any offending facial implements. Unfortunately, it would seem lightning quick reflexes also go the way of falconesque eyesight in the middle years.
As luck would have it, my working days soon came to an end and I embarked on my current life as a stay-at-home dad. Without a job my eyewear would remain exclusively worn in the house and the outside world would remain none the wiser. Even houseguests would remain ignorant of my new reality since I never read to them in my bed, or elsewhere, nor do I spend much time on a computer in their presence. So while the glory days of my perfect eyesight were behind me I was at least in a tolerable transition phase whereby my worsening eyesight remained the knowledge of a select few people.
But transition phases by their very definition must come to an end which brings this little tale back to the present. Recently I’ve been developing mild headaches on a fairly regular basis. Nothing severe, but considering my health history it was enough to tweak my concern. Brief contemplation of my situation lead me to a bit of an eureka moment. I had, after all, been using my fancy, pink, dated smart phone for texting and checking up on social media which was something completely new. And that’s pretty much reading and using a computer so maybe I had reached a point where I now needed to wear my glasses all the time? This was not exactly wonderful news but nonetheless inevitable once my eyes began this journey of increasing lens laziness.
So this past week I began wearing my glasses almost continually. The only exception was when I left the house at which point I’d put on my sunglasses thanks to the spring sunshine we’ve been getting of late. Wednesday, however, was a dim, rainy day and not only did I not put on my sunglasses when I took my son to preschool but I inadvertently left my regular glasses on. It was completely unintentional. I just forgot I had them on. I suppose it was more of a reflexive mistake since my head sensed the normal feel of glasses on my head and the dim lighting conspired to make my brain think I was just wearing sunglasses outside as per usual. Whatever the reason, I was outside the house with regular glasses on and I have come to the conclusion that wearing glasses is going to get me arrested.
Mirrored Sunglasses at the Beach
Having spent most of my adult life only wearing sunglasses I’ve become accustomed to using them as a means to check out attractive females in my vicinity. Dark shades, or better yet mirrored shades, provide an almost risk free cover for getting a good long uninterrupted look at the ladies; an endeavour fraught with risk when not wearing sunglasses. It’s a wonderful thing. It was wonderful as a teenager. It remained wonderful as a twenty-something professional. And it remains wonderful as a married father of two. More so even, since increased age and the stature that comes with it makes for greater repercussions in getting caught checking out women, particularly young women.
I’ve thus become more skilled at this juvenile pursuit. I have learned not to look directly at my prey the female of interest but rather to look just to the side of her at a couple of squirrels quarreling over a nut near a tree, perhaps, or a fat guy indiscreetly scratching his groin on a park bench. I’d then coyly angle my eyes back to the yummy mummy in the yoga pants and tank top or the gorgeous university student sunbathing in the little bikini that appears to have been made from nothing more than repurposed eye patches and kite string. All hidden by my beloved shades and so nobody but I knew any better. Life was good.
But now I’m wearing regular eyeglasses in a situation that previously was the exclusive domain of sunglasses. Eyeglasses are neither dark nor mirrored. My reality has changed but my mind has yet to adjust. What’s worse, this new situation mimics the old reality precisely. My brain feels the same familiar apparatus upon the bridge of my nose, on the side of my head, behind my ears and thinks stare away you old stallion, mirrored disguise is engaged!
You actually can teach an old dog, new tricks but it takes a lot longer. I’m sure my brain will eventually remember that I no longer have mirrored shades on by default when outdoors. I’ll learn to refrain my lecherous staring or more likely, I’ll learn new ways to employ it. I’ll adapt to this new reality. Eventually. In the meantime, I will continue to find myself in situations like those on Wednesday. I was having a leisurely look at the mother of one of my son’s classmates and was briefly surprised when she looked my way before averting her eyes in seeming discomfort and glaring at the floor in front of her. An unusual reaction until I realized with the shock and horror of a shovel to the side of the head that I was donning my eyeglasses, not my sunglasses.
Luckily embarrassment was the worst of the repercussions this time. But I fear with summer upon us it’s only a matter of time before I earn myself a warning, a punch in the face, or an arrest. Leering, drooling middle-aged fathers aren’t exactly the target demographic of pretty women and their skimpy, summer threads.