My charming, chubby engineer friend — known as Captain Adorable to a few of my acquaintances — developed a cataract in his fortieth year for some reason nobody could explain. Usually this is the age at which guys get a deflating puncture in their delusions of invincibility, but typically we are talking about a humiliating knee injury or cholesterol ratio, not ophthalmic surgery.
Whatever. It was only the one eye. The other one seems fine. Driving his two-seater convertible with the sun always hitting on one side? Beats me.
Mama Sled is an idiot, and — being deeply empathetic about visual liabilities — said “Helas! I shall drive you to the surgical theater and back.”
This, in the howling asphalt wilderness that is Northern Virginia, meant piloting the Sledmobile (vintage 1989) through lanes of SUV-driving idiots with cell phones plastered to their pasty cheeks at midday, right into the heart of the Fairfax court house district. It guaranteed one thing: nothing that happened that day was more frightening than an attempted merge just outside the metropolitan circumferential highway, the spavined halfwit in the turn lane accelerating and braking by turns, Mama Sled screeching at the top of her lungs, “Make up your little pink mind you stupid motherfucker!!!!!!!!!!”
I really don’t like driving.
Cataract surgery goes like this. The victim is invited to recline in a prep room while a series of eyedrops are administered over a ninety-minute period. Then he is whisked away to an operating theater where, in a twelve minute ritual, the curdled lens of the offending eye is, rather Biblically, plucked or rather powerwashed out through a corneal puncture and a polymerized Triumph of Technology is substituted. Thus upgraded, the affected eye can often see better than it has in years, sometimes since childhood, if you are really nearsighted. Science: it works, bitches.
I’m not sure whether the longest part was the wait with the eyedrops or the post-op recovery waiting for the drugs to wear off; probably the latter, because Cute Engineer’s cell phone, which I was guarding in my duffle, rang halfway through the eyedrop ritual. His roommate, always two bricks short of a load, had an emergency bulletin: “OMG! I’ve figured out which cat’s been shitting in the corner of the kitchen!”
CE is maddeningly unflappable. “I’m being prepped for surgery,” he said in measured tones. “Can I get back to you on this?”
When we left Fairfax he had a shield taped over his eye that made him look like a cross between Imperial Stormtrooper and Long John Silver. The whole recovery took about a month and I really, really want to clobber the son of a bitch because — with that eye anyway — he can read road signs that I can’t even see without my glasses on.
This morning in the gym the light caught his eye and an eerie sheen glanced off the artificial lens within, like the tapetum of a cat’s eye.
I am training a cyborg, Great Goddess help me.
Or a cat. One that doesn’t, at least so far, shit in the corner of the kitchen.
Well, it’s better than a fork in your eye.