I Can See The Light

lightWay too much of it, actually. I have just made the Year’s Most Dangerous Drive, to wit, the three miles straight down a suburban two lane road from my opthalmologist’s after having gotten the annual hit of belladonna for the ocular inspection.

The bit of corneal dystrophy I have got inclines me to slight dazzle anyway; I’ve become an aficionado of wraparound sunglasses since it became symptomatic. Throw some pupil-dilating drops in, and every reflective surface or unshaded window acquires an almost palpable fulgurous aura. This is light that doesn’t just reach your eyes — it reaches into them and feels like it’s forking out whole helpings of vitreous humor.

But my refraction is neither worse nor better, meaning I am in the same fix I have been in since I was about four years old, if not younger: to wit, without glasses I need to hold things up to my nose and I can’t recognize you at a conversational distance. Since I got to bifocal age my “reading prescription” has amounted to correction at the statutory limit for nearsighted legal blindness. Opticians get wrapped around the axle trying to sort it out.

I get a huge laugh out of this, actually. My contemporaries in their multitudes are whining or uttering humorous self-deprecations, according to temperament, about how “it’s hell getting older” and “all of a sudden you can’t see anything.” Snort! Snicker! Age doesn’t make glassesany damn difference to me, bucko, I’m the kid who couldn’t see the fucking blackboard in first grade. Does anyone remember back to the days when a thick eyeglass lens was, well, thick, a half inch of lead crystal whose matte-finished edges protruded fore and aft from any frame ever made?  And slid down your nose slowly and statelily, especially in hot weather, so that you acquired a permanent tic from shoving the glasses back into place? Do we remember when the plastic frames were brittle and the metal frames bent and when some asshole hit you in the back of the head with a dodgeball or volleyball — which is the kind of thing kids all love to do — they flew off and you had to crawl around on your hands and knees to find them? (It’s a good thing that I started out with a native attraction for physical exertion; I could either climb trees to get away from the little bastards that were my contemporaries, or beat the daylights out of them, and I tried both, turn about.)

Nowadays they have featherlight durable frames and polycarbonate lenses that bend light with half the thickness required of glass, and sometimes I can actually forget that I’m blind as a senile raccoon on a three-day bender.

Hell getting older, my size-nine foot. This deal is improving all the time.