2006.11.01 Mine eyes have seen the glory of accessories

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I still have not found my glasses. 

Did you read my LOST ad a couple weeks ago? I wrote it quickly at 2 or 3 in the morning. I couldn’t really see what I was writing and I was too tired to know, but it generated more comments than any column I’ve ever written. Well, at least the classified ads are being read.

I continue to struggle with my feeble inadequate drugstore glasses of insufficient power. It’s a real hassle to wear bow-less glasses with a giant paperclip chain. The paperclips get stuck in my hair and when I put the glasses over my eyes they land on my eyelids which, who knew, are so greasy they leave marks on the lenses so I have to take them off, clean them, and remember to hang my head down so the lenses don’t land on my eyelids again when I put them back on. Let me tell you, the burning desire to read quickly extinguishes after going through that ordeal over and over.

My daughters discovered a temporary fix when we were in an Ann Arbor bookstore Saturday. Called a pocketlens, it’s a credit card size plastic magnifier that fits in a plastic sleeve. It works really well for reading three-inch columns in the newspaper, but not so well for reading books. And even though it barely weighs anything, my arm starts to hurt after holding it in position for awhile. Pulling paperclips out of my hair doesn’t seem so bad after half an hour of arm pain.

And, fortuitously, before I even knew the pocketlens wasn’t wholly adequate, I bought another item on Saturday—Swipes, the cutest little microfiber eyeglass cleaner “As Seen on TV” that really does a good job. So good that if I wear my glasses and use the pocketlens I can read the tiny print on the Swipes package that warns permanent damage to my lenses may occur if I don’t remove particles, dust, sand, dirt or grime remaining from previous use. Well, isn’t it a good thing I lost my prescription glasses and can experiment on my drugstore pair?

Let’s continue to focus on the good things about glasses: even more fun accessories. Dr. Cable offers an amazing array of free eyeglass cases and even though indecision drove me to select a very ugly navy blue case, I had anticipated jazzing it up with puffy paints. Well, actually I imagined my daughters would jazz it up for me as they did my stapler and tape dispenser. But I never remembered to ask Rozee and Maddie to decorate it and when we were in New York last April I bought the niftiest eyeglass case ever at the Museum of Modern Art gift store.

When closed, the case is blue with a red and yellow square on one half and a green square on the other. When you open it, it flips all the way around and then it’s blue with a green and red square on one half and a yellow square on the other. It seems to operate somewhat on the order of a Jacob’s ladder. An inadequate description, I know, but I will make it available at the circulation desk at the library if you would like to try it yourself. The case alone makes me glad that I wear glasses just so I can play with it.

And then there is my eyeglass chain purchased from a Minnesotan artist at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. It has lovely beads and wire gizmos attached to a chain, not of paperclips, but of the same old-fashioned sort that dangle from light switches and ceiling fans, only this chain is big, bright and blue. Luckily, it wasn’t attached when I lost my glasses, but unfortunately, the reason it wasn’t attached is because I broke a piece of it and have to send it to the artist for repair.

There seems to be a theme running through my eyeglass experiences...something along the lines of self-sabotage. It’s not just that. It’s an unwillingness to come to terms, to accept that my eyes ain’t what they used to be. Oh, if there’s enough light and I’ve gotten enough sleep and my eyes aren’t tired, I can usually read fairly well without glasses. But, usually, there isn’t enough light, I haven’t gotten enough sleep, and my eyes are tired.

I’m playing around with the accessories when I really need to turn myself in to the authorities and replace my lost glasses. It’s getting to that point—enduring the eye exam—that stalls me. Dr. Cable is excellent, but I just can’t stand anyone poking around my eyes. And for someone as indecisive as me having to pick between “One or two,” “This, or this,” over and over, well, frankly, I’d rather go to the dentist and see what a root canal is like.

     - November 1, 2006

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