When I was told to make a wish before blowing out the candles on the cake for my 50th birthday, I have to admit that nothing ran through my mind at the time. I am very lucky in so many respects and have so much for which to be grateful. What could I possibly wish for that I did not have already?
The answer came a few days later: longer arms!
When it comes to my eyesight, here is the long and the short of it: while I can really see fine (without glasses) for a three to four foot radius, anything beyond that, I turn into Mr. Magoo and require glasses. This has been the case since around Grade 10, and with the exception of a token increase in my glasses prescription every few years, there has not been much change there.
The winds of change started blowing about 6 years ago, as the gap between my short range and long range vision started getting wider. My ophthalmologist couldn’t have been sweeter or more sensitive in gently discussing the “B” word (…bifocals) or the “P” word (…progressives) without ever shocking me into realizing that I wasn’t 21 anymore. She dropped hints and explained the options, never forcing the issue on me and she always concluded our little chat about the facts of life with, “You’ll know when it is a problem and you need that correction.”
Up until now, it really has not been a bother. If I wanted to read, or do something on the iPad or iPhone, I would usually just flip my glasses up on top of my head and do what I needed, and flip the glasses back down onto my nose when I was done.
Also, because the frames on my last few pair of glasses were a bit smaller, I got used to cheating a little and just looking down, below the frame. It worked, especially for quick little things like signing a document or looking at the time.
However, last year, when I switched to a more trendy style, a pair with a larger frame, I could not foresee the problems that would cause. With the larger frames, my cheating days were over. I simply could not see below them.
Also, I discovered that while wearing the larger frames, with the correction for nearsightedness, close items are now completely out of focus which is where the longer arms come in. To save time and irritation, instead of taking off my glasses, I find myself holding the document as far away as I can until it is in focus, which these days is about 6 inches farther than my arms will go.
I am sure that if there are hidden cameras watching me at the bank, there must be a security guard somewhere laughing their butt off at me, as I try to sign my name but slowly backing away from the table and signing with the pen dangling from the tips of my fingers.
The eye doctor suggested that there may come a day when the flipping glasses routine might become inconvenient or annoying. She was right. I am there!
My flipping glasses remind me of when I worked at “your friendly neighbourhood pharmacy” during my high school years. The mature women I worked with had the glasses choreography down to an art, as I marvelled at their beautifully seamless transitions as the glasses became part of the conversation. Taking off the glasses, holding them in one hand, leaning on the counter and staring you down spoke volumes. Holding the glasses with both hands and looking up in reflection was a staple for thinking through problems carefully. And always, stand back if their voices started raising and they took off their glasses and waved them emphatically.
Also, I vividly remember those jeweled chains they wore around their neck and the glasses would be conveniently dangling there for easy flipping back and forth. Beautiful and practical, who could ask for anything more? I sometimes wonder if there was a male equivalent I could try to introduce and “influence” it into mainstream fashion because it really is a genius idea for the frequent flippers like me.
However, I think the easier solution is to just accept the inevitable and find a time when the pace of life is a little more relaxed and deal with the adaptation phase of bifocals or progressives.
I am at the point of thinking that they are a rite of passage that go along with all I mentioned in my blog post “50 Great Things About Turning 50”. If bifocals or progressives are an easy solution to a simple (and naturally occurring) problem, why get caught up in the stigma?
I just hope that my usual rose-coloured glasses are available in bifocals and progressives.
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