Eyeglasses: no longer are they made of glass, so perhaps “spectacles” would be more apt a name. As I peer down at small texts close to my face and drink from the swollen-to-bursting udders of knowledge, first the lenses in my eyes contract, then eventually my eyeballs lengthen until finally it is required that my spectacles’ lenses thicken, further isolating me from the world of light.
My Winter Solstice visit to the ophthalmologist (a phlegmatic man in his late 50′s with a handshake limper than a latex glove partially filled with beef trimmings) confirmed that yet another iteration of this process had occurred, and that I would need new lenses if I wanted the visual acuity to read the street signs three blocks away and not just two. And so today I retired the frames that I have worn every day excepting two weekends since April of 2003. Everyone I know I have seen through these frames, and all of you have seen these frames. Dozens of you have even tried them on. It was difficult to let go of them, but they are worn out and corroded.
When I embarked on the journey to find new frames, I decided that I did not like today’s frames. Current aesthetics favor thick, plastic frames. So, naturally, I set about obtaining the exact opposite: thin, gold-filled wire frames with rimless lenses, rounded at the top but cut into an octagonal shape at the bottom; and I bought some old American Optical frames from the 40′s in the “Numont” style. I recognize the concerns of buying used glasses, but, after thoroughly scrubbing them with soap and water, I deemed them just as clean as any frames that have been handled again and again by dozens of prospective buyers at an eyeglasses store. Perhaps the true contamination lies in what the previous owner saw through them. For all I know, someone died wearing these glasses, which now are forever-imbued with the afterimage of death.
I could not replace so important an article as my glasses all willy-nilly. This was an excrutiating decision, backed by no fewer than nine months of deliberation and contemplation. No amount of rational inquiry alone could bring me to this conclusion–I required the full endorsement of “raw feels,” which take months to crystallize. Also, there was a slight problem in that nobody in town will actually make the lenses for these frames, which require drilled holes in the lenses for mounting. So that was a slight hangup.
Anyway, my friends, as I set down the glasses that have truly been for the past seven years a more permanent fixture on my face than my face itself, I can only look forward to a future of seeing all of you and writing more posts from behind my ever thickening lenses.
New Glasses: When one realizes how scratched up the old ones were