Monday, 11 June 2007

Three: New glasses

Hang on, hang on, before you utter the word 'booooring', hear me out.

I started wearing glasses when I was about 11 years old.

It all started with a nervous 'tic' where I would blink my eyes at a furious pace, blinkety- blink- blink, pause, blinkety- blink- blink whenever I was nervous. The strange thing about this sort of impediment is that one is totally unaware that they have it. In an effort to help me overcome this, my parents were advised to get me glasses.

And what horrible things they were, little circular lenses encased in a thick ugly brown frame , with arms that wrapped around the ears in a cruel vice-like grip. Uncomfortable, hideous, horrible things that all the other kids laughed at. I was forced to wear them daily until one of the boys in my class shouted out 'those aren't even real, it's just glass in there!'

I went home and asked whether this was true and yes, it was. The round owlet eyes were nothing more than glass, but, wearing them had in fact improved my twitching. I took them off and, weeping copiously, flung them into my doll's pram in the corner where they remained for the next few years.

Yup, the doll's pram was the place where everything was flung. All my discarded clothes, lost bits of homework, odd shoes and of course my dolls. Every now and then my mother would come in, tip it all out and yell, 'now clean up this pig's sty'. Then it would all start piling up again.

When I was 13 and the school nurse said that I really did need glasses, I didn't believe her and they too remained in the doll's pram more often than not (yes the pram was still parked in the same corner of the room).

My relationship with my glasses has always been a love/ hate one. In my thirties I tried soft contact lenses, which were the new craze, and found to my disappointment that I had 'too many tears', so they would slip all over my eyeball and never stay put. Weeping copiously I gave up that dream too.

My last pair of glasses was very ordinary, just a pair of glasses, and then a few months ago I woke up one morning with a strange feeling inside me. I realised I was soon to be 60 and had to mark this event in some or even many special ways, thus deciding to do 60 special things before I turn 60.

I knew what I had to do. I went marching down to the nearest optician, had my eyes tested and chose a really way-out zany pair of specs. And, guess what? After hearing the price and picking myself up off the floor, I fell madly in love with them. They are so me, they are so un-me, they are so modern, they are so different from anything I've ever had before.

Every time I look in the mirror I grin with joy and pleasure. Now isn't that what having new glasses is all about. After all, our glasses r us.