… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was when I was a much younger age, and there wasn’t a lot of wisdom or foolishness.
Sometimes I find that things that happen currently will trigger an old memory. A happy memory. Regardless of how the story ended up at the end. Memories and choices.
Such was today.
A friend … Jeanne, if you must know … was commenting on Facebook. About going to the eye doctor …
… in search of contacts that I can actually wear comfortably… And hopefully there will be the added bonus of being able to see with them!
A few more words about the consequences of not getting good contacts … along with a reference to the term many of us endured back in the day … Four Eyes … and she was off in pursuit of ocular relief.
It was at this point that my mind drifted to those days … many, many years ago … when I found myself on my own and able to make my own choices about eyewear.
Another friend who was one of the Four-Eyed group went ahead and had Lasik surgery and no longer wears glasses. Except for reading. We are, after all, a few years over forty.
After a short while the post came up from Jeanne …
Trying a new type of contact lens material….supposedly much more comfortable….
Joy, happiness, fantastic, wonderful … and then …
I’m sitting here thinking, “I have to take these out–they’re so annoying….”
Such was my experience with contacts lo those many years ago … with a twist.
For those who know me well, it is common knowledge that I am cross-eyed. Not horribly cross-eyes … after all I had two rounds of eye surgery as a very, very young child.
But I never had the third round of eye surgery.
Hence, the need for my glasses.
As soon as I was able and got up the nerve … early / mid twenties … I went to the ophthalmologist to see if there was any kind of contact that would work.
I had always gotten complements on my eyes … so as a single young woman, it made sense to want to not have my eyes hidden behind glasses.
I hate touching my eyes. Eyelids? fine. Eyelashes? no problem. Eyes? no way Jose. But if it meant that folks could see my eyes more easily, I was up for trying it.
Enter one pair of hard contacts, one squeamish young woman, and one set of … as it turns out … dryer than usual eyes.
I tried. Lord knows I tried.
In later years I tried soft contact lenses, toric contact lenses, extended wear contact lenses … all with the same results. But that is beside the point.
Contact lenses profoundly altered the course of my life. How so, you ask?
At the time of this first foray into contacts, I was also deciding that it was time to settle down and date someone … long-term. Dating being an odd term to describe me.
Other than one date in my High School Era I had never gone on any dates, per se. I didn’t date. I more likely got to know people in social settings … then hung out in more social settings … then hung out one-on-one in social and private settings. I had hung out with one gentleman all through college and for a year afterwards. But I decided that we were both better off moving on from that and from each other.
He could have the good grace to look a little less relieved when I said that to him … but I digress.
So I had narrowed the eligible young men down to a few. From mutual friends … from work … from activities … from wherever.
A man I had met in a corporate training class in Atlanta was trying desperately to get me to move to Riverside, California. “It’s warm year round. You can go an hour in one direction and be in the mountains. Go an hour in the other direction and you are on the beach. At least come out and give it a try.”
Then there was the birthday party I had been invited to attend with a woman I barely knew. There were fifteen women and two men. I quickly gave up all hopes of “meeting someone” and got involved in a game of Scrabble with two of the women and the two men.
I beat them all. Soundly.
The two men both asked me out the next week. One was a City Planner.
And then there was the geeky Son-of-the-Boss … multi-generational family business … customer … (but not mine because I didn’t date customers) … that everyone at work said was a great catch. Right.
To be honest I had a little bit of a crush on a friend of a friend of mine … a teacher.
So each week as the days went toward the weekend, I would get lots of calls asking me to go out. All of which I dutifully turned down … in hopes that the object of my affection would ask me out.
“Why, no … its only Wednesday (or Thursday). Far too early to make plans for the weekend. But thank you for asking.” And then I would wait for the teacher to call and ask me out. Which he didn’t.
Well, he finally did. And promptly stood me up.
Yes, I was a little slow on the uptake back then, too.
The choices were quickly narrowed to a) the Corporate California preppy, b) the City Planning Scrabble expert, and c) the SOB.
What does this have to do with the contacts?
Well, I wanted to look good. And the weekend ahead held at least two dates. Friday with City Planner. Saturday with SOB. And a call on Sunday from California Corporate.
So Friday I got up, got ready for work with extra attention to getting my hair (read: bane of my existence) looking as presentable as possible. It’s a time-consuming effort, best started in the morning.
After a long day of work, I continued my contact wearing into the early evening … getting myself put together for our date. City Planner came over and took me to see a Monty Python movie.
After hours of Monty … we returned to my apartment … where we talked … and talked … and talked … and talked. You know … the kind of talking you do when you are first really getting to know someone and trying to decide if they are worth shaving your legs above the knees for.
We talked … until five in the morning.
He left. I took out my contacts. And promptly fell asleep.
Two hours later, I awoke to the most excruciating pain two eyeballs can possibly know. I couldn’t keep my eyes closed because they burned so horribly. I couldn’t keep my eyes open because they watered non-stop … blurring my vision.
Although I had enjoyed the previous evening, this was not how I had hoped to feel the following day. Especially since I was leaning toward picking Mr. City Planner.
A quick trip to the Emergency Room later … and I was sent home with some antibiotic and numbing ointments. It looked suspiciously like bear grease. Very attractive.
I had severe corneal abrasions … and was told to not wear contacts for a long period of time.
So I called SOB … the geek … and tried to cancel out on my date that night. After all, a woman with swollen, bear grease laden eyes … probably not the best way to make points.
“Oh no. I am so sorry to hear that.” he said. “You must be in terrible pain.”
“Why don’t you let me come down there and cook you a nice home cooked meal … and you can just relax.”
All right, so I am a sucker for men who are nice to me. When they don’t have to be nice to me. When they seem to really mean it. And when I believe it.
So the geek … the SOB … the customer (but not mine because I didn’t date customers) … came down to my apartment and cooked me dinner. And we talked, and talked, and talked, and talked. Till about three in the morning.
I can’t tell you what he cooked for me.
I can tell you that he made a mean spinach salad with hot bacon dressing … and a great charcoal grilled turkey … and we made great Steak Diane and Bananas Foster … and …
I married him.
It seemed like such a good idea at the time.