Seems like the older we get the more maintenance we require. Today it was an eye exam. One of the more pleasurable, pain-free appointments, with all the interesting high-tech gadgetry that still manages to look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. My eyes are generally pretty good, but I have had to wear reading glasses for a while now, and the subscription changes slightly every time. I remember I used to rattle off the bottom line of the eye chart like a smug kid in a spelling bee, but now it’s three lines up and I’m a bit unsure whether I’m getting them right. I sound like a twenty-something techie working at Best Buy, ending each string of letters with a lilting question–“V A G….E….2??”
It’s in my nature to try to please, so when it comes time to choose which lens makes the letters more clear I try to sound strong and decisive, but to be honest today everything was blurry. I just came from work after proofing four reports, and now I can barely read a string of five letters! I backed away and suggested maybe I was fogging the lens, but the doctor seemed sceptical. Kind of looking at me in a way that said this wasn’t a Test test, you know? No need to get all sweaty about it!
One part of the exam she had me cover one eye, look at her nose, and asked me if there was anything missing on her face, or blurry. I got distracted freaking out in my head about something missing on her face, but fortunately for both of us everything was there. I’m also not very good at keeping my eyes wide open when an object is deliberately coming towards them, despite having been told to do so by an obvious authority figure. Teacher’s pet only goes so far, lady.
Dilation is always a trippy time. After the drops went in I was told to come back in 15 minutes, so I went to go pick out some new frames. Under the bright and frisky lights of Costco I start optimistically, then start cramming my face up towards the mirror as things get so blurry I can’t tell if the price is two digits or three before what I imagine to be the decimal point. As things get progressively more unfocused, I struggle to distinguish colors, but finally decide on two I remember trying when I could see better only moments ago, and ask the helpful Hans, with the hip glasses and hipper German accent, whether I should go with the ones with blue inside the frames for my eyes, or the classic tortoise for my hair. He likes the blue, and therefore so do I. I am in Hans’ hands from here on, trusting the total he says is on the receipt and scrawling my name somewhere near the line.
After the final portion of the exam I’m in no shape to drive, so I go grab a huge barrel of Gatorade for Nathan, then browse the books. Fuh-get about it! What’s with these words? Ditto for CDs and DVDs. I lug my Gatorade over to the clothing tables but don’t know if I’m in the right section or not; men’s or women’s? Maybe I could just climb up onto this stack of what feels like denim items and look at those signs? I begin to wonder if the dilation has somehow clouded my judgment as well as my vision, as I pick up a trendy peasant blouse in what I hope is the right size, despite the fact it will no doubt make me look like an actual peasant. One of those rosy-cheeked potato eating postcard peasants breaking a chicken’s neck off camera with a smile.
Counting my cash out blindly at the register I feel the need to tell everyone I’ve just had an eye exam and my eyes are dilated. I ask for help to see what bills I’ve laid out. I avoid direct eye contact with everyone because I know I’ve got evil looking eyes, like the nice neighbor in the movie who suddenly has gone all zombie on you and is sizing you up for some serious snacking. I make one more shopping stop, going through the same embarrassing ordeal with the money, and put on the sunglasses for the short ride home. I made it here just fine, but now I’m starting to worry about what the glasses I picked out will really look like when I get them next week.