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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

New Glasses.

Today I finished reading The Namesake through the lenses of brand new glasses. I went home to my parents house for the first time in two years and took advantage of it to go to Eyemart for new specs.

First thing in the morning, I sit down at that damn glaucoma machine to have air puffed into my eyes. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArgh. Thanks to my older brother, I can’t handle the millisecond of air. Why? Once upon a time, a Christmas eve at my grandparents house, we sat at the island in the kitchen. He covered a piece of paper in salt and pepper and held it even to my eyes. “Don’t blink.” he said.

I looked at him and didn’t blink. Then he quickly blew the salt and pepper into my eyes. “Why didn’t you flinch? Why didn’t you blink?” It never occurred to him how much I trusted him and did not expect this type of tom foolery from him. “You told me not to.”

Then he grabbed me and took me into the green bathroom next to the stairs. He put my head in the sink and washed the salt and pepper out of my eyes.

Lesson Learned. I am now one of the best flinchers in the midwest. The optometrists and techs hate that I’m a great flincher. I can’t stop my eyes from fluttering at hummingbird speed. I have no control. Sorry. I don’t.

After the biannual torture of the glaucoma test, I am led into an exam room. This is the first time I don’t have the Sopranoesque Opthamalgist. Once upon a time, he was somewhat attractive to me. He was an avid bodybuilder, wore too much cologne, silk shirts, gold chains, under a white lab coat. Today he was there, but did not do my exam. Today he just seemed slimey. His once 6 pack stomach has made room for a pony keg. He keeps his hair slicked back and wouldn’t be out of place at Tony and Tina’s weddings or stuffing dollar bills into the g string of a stripper at a seedy nightclub. For ten years or so, this was the guy that put me in glasses.

After getting a clean bill of health and minimally stronger prescription, it was time to pick the frames. When I first started with glasses, this was much easier. I barely needed glasses and am nearsighted. So I would put pair after pair on, stand a bold three feet from the mirror and judge them. I also always had my sister and mom in tow to judge the frames. Today with my strong prescription and nobody to help me pick, I tried on 60 pairs of glasses. I refused the assistance of the tech and stood 6 inches from the mirror. Trying to judge if the Armani glasses looked good. Imagining what they looked like without the price tag on the left and the security tag on the right. I carried the blue Armani glasses around and then looked at the wire frames. I was certain I wouldn’t buy the same frames I’d been wearing for four years. Two pairs of glasses in a row, nearly identical.

I tried some Bebe black frames, but dismissed them. I liked them, but don’t spend enough time sulking in coffee shops in dark 501s to wear them. I tried some silver frames that barely skimmed the top of the lense. These disappeared into my face. After 14 years of glasses, I don’t want them to disappear. I want a statement. If I wanted invisible glasses (and didn’t flinch so damn much) I’d wear contacts.

Eventually (with the help I’d earlier refused) I settled on a pair of Kate Spade glasses. Probably the most expensive deisgner anything I’ve ever bought. More expensive than my winter coat or last pair of boots. I’m 27 and live in Chicago, I can spend more than $19 on a pair of glasses. Right?

$300 and two hours later, I forgot to get my glasses straightened or adjusted. I was so concerned that the lenses had the wrong prescription, that I didn’t even look in the mirror. Lucky for me, cute but agitated boy behind the counter straightened them and they fit.

After turning left handed circles in my chair, I decided the glasses would have to do. I had a plane to catch, after all, and will be home in December. If there is a problem, I’ll deal with it then. Or my brain will adjust and I won’t have to worry.

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