I didn’t want to believe it. I’ve been in denial for about a year or two. But the reality is, my perfect vision is not quite perfect anymore.
At age 35, I still had 20/20 in my left eye, and 20/15 in the right! SWEET! It was like my bionic eye…”you want to know what that menu posted across the street says? I can tell you from here”…close my left eye and…ne..ne..ne..ne..ne…”the ribs are $8.99 tonight.”
But recently, at age 44, I’ve noticed that the print seems to be getting smaller in the paperback novels I love to read. And in low light, I have a hard time reading more than a page or two without a break.
So on a whirlwind trip to Kansas earlier this week, I decided to try on a pair of reading glasses in the airport gift store. I slipped on a pair of low-magnification wireframes, glanced at a nearby magazine and MY GOODNESS! It was like I was in my twenties again! The print looked huge! It was like reading a billboard covered with gossip and decorating tips.
So when the lights dimmed in the passenger cabin, I slipped on my newly purchased reading glasses, pulled out my Ann Rule novel, and started reading….and reading…and reading. It was awesome….the print looked large, and even though the night came quickly on my eastbound flight, I could read perfectly for hours. I raced through my novel, engrossed and proud of my new glasses and reading prowess. A learned scholar, studying important literature. The flight attendant taps me on the shoulder and says “would you like headphones for the movie sir” and I feel like….”Can’t you see that I am reading?…Why would a man who is reading need the headphones? Besides, when a man is reading with such fervor, you don’t disturb him. I am a reader…can’t you see my new glasses.”
I made my quick transfer in Denver, and jumped on a 737 headed to Wichita. Back on my nose went the glasses, out of my pack came the novel, and I was back in my story. Over an hour of additional reading, and no problems in the dim light.
Landing in Kansas at 11:00 PM, I put the glasses in my computer case, picked up my luggage and selected my rental car. The car attendant handed me a map, and put a big circle where my hotel would be found. I drove for twenty minutes, turning this way and that, because I knew approximately where I was going having been in Wichita many times before. But, the hotel was elusive, so I pulled into a parking lot and turned on the map light. I looked at the map and “WHAT, *rub rub rub* WHAT? *rub* HOW CAN THIS BE? Perhaps if I turn the map over? NO! looking closely now, holding the map directly under the light…..what does it SAY? Is there someone who can tell me? I am as blind as a bat!” I can not read the map without my glasses, which are buried in the trunk! My eyes appearantly adjusted to the reading glasses, and no longer wanted to function close-up without assistance. “Do I need a seeing-eye dog to lead me to the hotel? ”
I pulled into a still-open Applebees, and asked for directions, without admitting to the server that I could not read the map. She pointed the way to the hotel, which fortunately was only a few blocks away.
When I woke the next morning, I raced to the desk in my hotel room to scrutinize paperwork, and see if I could read again unassisted. Praise the Lord, my eyesight had returned. With a night’s sleep (I reasoned as an engineer) my eyes must have worked their way back to their neutral position.
On my way back to Seattle, I read much of the way home. I stopped and rubbed my naked eyes every couple pages, holding the book in different spots, trying to catch the best light I could. When the flight attendant asked if I wanted headphones, I thought about it, but decided to just watch the TV without sound for a couple minutes before turning my attention back to my book. I finished my novel, and started a new book that has slightly cleaner and more readable font. The glasses remained in my computer bag, where I hope they can remain for a few years longer!
(I told this story to a long-time colleague who cracked up and said he had the exact same expereience not too many weeks ago.)