My crummy eyes
For up to a minute a day I see the world as it really is – a fuzzy wash of colour with an indeterminate depth of field. I can only judge where a thing starts and ends by watching it carefully. Of course, I only do this when I’m trying to find my glasses.
Not as easy as it sounds. They are clear plastic (my second such pair), so they refract the light and get lost in the clutter. I often knock them to the floor and that usually gets me up. Putting them on, the world becomes your world and I feel like a MacBook starting up.
Keeping them on? Well, I’ve been trying to keep them on since my Dad, with his miserable twenty twenty vision, said to me, ‘maybe you should wear those things all the time? You know, help you see properly?’ He wasn’t being cruel. For 18 months I’d been popping them on in class to stare at the board. Resistance was futile. I have rugby shaped eyeballs, my brain sighs, ‘fuck this’, when asked to work out the true aspects of anything red, I see grey as green.
I am also the worst person in the world at maths, which is ironic, because as soon as I put on my first pair (Mum lobbied for a decent, non-NHS style. Cheers Ma!), I had whole bunch of geometry to master. There’s a difference between the magnified world and the real. Footballs now suddenly surged closer than they normally appeared. Despite puberty bizarrely gifting me the skill of Roberto Baggio for a brief, two months, I found playing the beautiful game like doing trigonometry with someone kicking my head in, which in a way, it usually was.
I’m sure my friend Neil would have been entirely sympathetic to my plight when we played football during lunch – if he’d known. Instead, when yet again I sliced the tennis ball we played football with (why?), wide of an open goal, he administered a frustrated shove and called me a dick. My glasses (round, gold coloured) flew from my face and bounced across the tarmac. The screw holding the right arm, frame and lens in place sheared. ‘You dick’, I said to Neil.
So after promising to ‘really look after them’, I did what any teenage boy would do; I made repairs with Blu Tack and hid the fact from my parents for as long as I could. Two weeks later, the same pair spectacularly disintegrated into my sausage and mash at the dinner table. Dad scooped everything up and went out to his workshop – where he still has the tools, skills and materials to build an engine from scratch – and quickly repaired them. Of course he had a screw! It was something he did all the time for my Mum (and still does I’m sure). But I was too wrapped up in myself, and too interested in playing the guitar like really, really well to notice. ‘You dick’, I said to myself.
I’ve now worn glasses for longer than I haven’t. I’ve had round, thin, thick, clear and half and half (they looked like the lab safety goggles in CSI Miami). One pair fell off my face in Regent’s Park and shattered neatly in two, one pair is somewhere in the surf off Goa, but despite that, they’re very much a part of me. I’ve been cajoled to try contacts (painful and a hassle), and I’ve vetoed any attempt to investigate laser surgery. You can’t polish a turd – although there are plenty of videos on Youtube that refute that claim.
Besides, I think glasses soften my appearance. I have weird eyes, and seeing as I often stare into space as part of my job, they make me look less of a loony in the office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. By all means ask someone what it’s like to wear glasses, just don’t ask to try them on. Bad style.