Friday, May 2, 2008

Vision On

By the time I was 7 years old, I couldn't see much. With no basis for comparison, I didn't stop to question whether or not other people saw the world differently than me.

I did wonder why people were interested in television, that meaningless kaleidoscope of blurred colours. I couldn't see the blackboard at school, but that wasn't a problem. I sat next to my best friend and copied the notes from her. I guess no one noticed that I put my nose within three inches of the page when I read.

My grandmother was the first one to notice that something was amiss. We were outside, and she pointed out a large billboard to me. Not only could I not read the billboard, but I couldn't even see that there was a sign where she was pointing. She marched me home to my mother and said "Take this girl to an eye doctor!"

So it was that at the age of 8, in third grade, I got my first pair of big, thick, geek-kid glasses. I can still remember the first tree I saw with my glasses on. I could make out each individual leaf fluttering in the wind. Just one day ago, that tree would have been a fuzzy ball of undifferentiated green. I stared and stared at this new, sharp-focused world.

Over the years, my shortsightedness grew worse. My parents paid big bucks for high-index lenses because regular glass was too heavy. The bridge of my nose was bruised by the weight of my glasses before my folks finally sprang for the high-tech specs. My prescription now is -6.50 in the right eye, and -9.00 in the left. Translation: I don't think I'm legally blind without my glasses, but I can't see much either. Just blobs of colour, with very little depth perception.

Now I wear contact lenses most of the time.

Having imperfect vision isn't all bad. I'm used to the world being fuzzy and soft in the morning when I wake up and at night when I go to sleep. Being severely myopic gives me an ironclad excuse to never go bungee jumping; apparently I'm at risk for detached retinas, and a bungee jump could pop them right off. And in ninth grade, when my hyperactive girlfriend knocked my glasses off my face and then stepped on them in a fit of gangly teenage clumsiness, a special boy took that opportunity to walk me safely home, holding my hand all the way. I could have found my own way home without much trouble, over familiar ground, but I didn't tell him that. I played the helpless maiden and let him be my knight in shining armour. The cheerleader girls with perfect vision had nothing on me that day.


Claire said...

What a sweet story at the end! So cute!


Nilsa S. said...

Wow, what an interesting story. I can't imagine seeing blurs without aid. I've never worn glasses - not trying to rub it in, just saying how clueless I really am.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Wow, finally I know somebody with worse vision than me!! Except I've been unable to get contacts to fit me right... grrr... they roll around on my eyes bringing the world in and out of focus at a moments notice. Ummm... after getting taken home did you sneak back out to kick that girls ass?

Leighann said...

It's a whole new world when you can see, huh?

I love it how you gave in and let the boy walk you home. *giggle*

whatigotsofar said...

Yeah, so your friend knocked the glasses off your head and clumsily crushed them. Sure, right. It was all planned just so you could get that nice boy to walk you home. Don't try to put one past me like that. I know how you women operate.

unsigned said...

Vision On!





Karen said...

Cute story. :)

jameil1922 said...

ooh the handholder was hot wasn't he? FAB!!! at risk for detached retinas, and a bungee jump could pop them right off??? SCA-RY!!

Sparkling Red said...

Claire: Thanx! :-)

Nilsa: I know what you mean. My father has some significant hearing loss, and I'm always fascinated to hear his stories of what it's like to wear (or not wear) his hearing aids.

Ron: That's a pain about the contact lenses. I tried wearing them in high school, when contact lens technology was still in it's infancy, and I couldn't handle it back then. It's only been a year since I found contacts I could tolerate.
I didn't kick her ass, but I bet my parents would have loved to because those glasses cost several hundred bucks.

Leighann: There's a silver lining in every cloud, isn't there. Except maybe sore boobs. ;-)

Whatigotsofar: I can see where you're coming from with that theory, but the truth is that goof-girl wanted him for herself. I'm sure she cursed her own clumsiness as we walked off, hand in sweaty hand.

Unsigned: Yeah, that was a weird show, wasn't it?

Karen: :-)

Jameil: I thought he was sweet. Hot, maybe not so much. How hot is any guy at the age of 14? He was officially hot within two years. And we were still dating, so it was all good. :-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

As the Norwegians say, it's never so bad it isn't good for something. :-D

I have a co-worker who is seriously myopic. But the good thing is, he has built-in magnifying lenses so when he needs to study some detail, he peers over his glasses. (Contacts are for skiing and motorcycling. :-) )

Aurora said...

New glasses are awesome. Life in high def! Who knew it could be like that?

Sparkling Red said...

Keera: Yeah, some people have it way worse than me. When I was young and my eyesight was getting worse with every passing year, I worried at how far it might go. Would I go blind and need a white cane? Fortunately my eyes stabilized before that point. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Aurora: It was one of the most miraculous moments of my life. :-)

Jenski said...

He held your hand? That's soooo cute! I am lucky my eyesight is not bad, but it is still amazing when you get a new prescription that makes everything that much clearer again!

Nicole said...

Awww - knights in shining armor rock :)
I didn't know your eye sight was that screwed u, but a soft world in the wee morning isn't all that bad, you're right ;)