Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Girls Who Wear Glasses

I rode home in the back of the two-toned faux wood-paneled station wagon with my face pressed against the window as I marveled at all I could see. I never realized how much I was missing walking the earth as a mere two-eyed girl.

But my awe at the miracle of sight was short lived. I was eleven when I selected that first pair of frames, and I've been really bad at it ever since. Those dorky brown rims made my life a living hell especially as I advanced to the cruel halls of junior high. My unstylish glasses were a nerd beacon, announcing to all the cool kids that a dweeb was present.

When I was fourteen I got contact lenses and my world became infinitely better. But I neglected to replace my dingy glasses with a pair to wear between lens removal and sleep. I spent those sightless moments reenacting Helen Keller's pre-teacher childhood, using my hands to clutch at familiar features of the landscape like dining room chairs and hallway walls. Thus I could guide myself from room to room without eyes.

In time my night blindness was replaced with a basic pair of specks, but I refused to wear glasses in public for many years. Then I moved overseas and started wearing my (ex)husband's military issued frames. The guys called them birth control glasses, but I thought the big black plastic Coke-bottles were kind of cool in a retro way. Eventually the temples fell off and I replaced the hinges with large ducky safety pins. My friend visiting from New York complimented me on my keen sense of fashion. Goodbye Dorkville, hello hipster.

When the Coke-bottles finally died, it was back to the eye doctor and selecting frames that screamed "goober with no fashion sense!"

Last year I finally found a pair I liked. The woman working in the vision store complimented my choice. I felt like a Warby Parker model.

When my favorite pro-football player retired, a story about him visiting an elderly fan went viral. I watched the video in horror. The sweet old lady was wearing my glasses. My frames came from the Charles Nelson Riley section.

I cannot get away from picking exactly the wrong glasses. My inner dork always leads me back to the nerd aisle. Eventually we all have to decide whether we want to see the world clearly.

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