Okay, it's bad enough that attractive young women are calling me "Mister" and "Sir" and "Gramps" but I guess the Universe wanted to remind me that no matter how bad it is, it can always be worse.
This year I decided to re-up my vision insurance plan through work, since everyone in the family wears glasses. It's been a year and a half since my last vision screening, longer for the women-folk in the family, and you're supposed to get that stuff done yearly. Factor into the equation that both my pairs of glasses are abused to the point that I squint through the haze of pits and gouges more with them on than without, so it was high time. I packed up and left work early today, got my white cane and dark glasses, slipped Belle into her service animal harness and went to the new eye doctor.
A tiny detour. The last optometrist I went to was a retired prison warden. Either that or he got his doctorate from a Heidelburg dueling and advanced masochism academy. "Brusk" does not begin to describe the man's attitude, but I'll give him this--he was efficient. Eyes dilated, seven words exchanged, you were in and out in ten minutes or less or your next beating and eye exam were free. New glasses firmly jammed in place you'd be thrust into the street blinking and gasping in the light like a blind cave fish suspended in front of a lighthouse.
So yes, I dropped him like a spoiled bratwurst. Found this new guy, hoped for the best and hit damned close. Very friendly, very social, and even dangerously close to quitting time he was willing to sit and chat and tell me what was going on with my eyeballs. He even had this astounding machine which was in essence an eleven megapixel digital camera for taking photographs of...wait for it...the back of your eyeball.
Technology is freaking astounding. A perfect two hundred degree photograph of a part of me that I never thought to look at, a part of me that I figured I'd have to endure the eye-cutting scene from Un Chien Andalou to experience, and honestly I didn't feel the need to see it in the first place but there it was. The inside bits of both of my eyes, instantly displayed for my extended (and scalpel-free) perusal on a twenty inch LCD monitor. Healthy, I was told, except for a tiny portion of one blood vessel that was hemorrhaging in a small spot. I wanted to tell him it was because he'd fired a fifty thousand lumen flash right into my unsuspecting iris, but memories of Herr Doktor Sabre kept me silent.
I can still see the flash. *shiver*
Then he drove the nail into my coffin. Gave me the news that I'd been dreading to hear. Seems the exam-and-cutlass-up-the-joxie optometrist I'd gone to last had made my choice in corrective vision appliances for me without bothering to involve me in the decision making process. He assigned me glasses that gave me moderately good distance vision mixed with moderately good up-close vision and left it at that. Seems I need something different.
Bom bom BOMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
Bifocals. Invented by Ben Franklin because he was tired of changing his glasses depending on if he was outside overlooking his extensive tobacco plantation or stepping out to the shacks to pick out a slave girl for the night. Bifocals. So named because of that huge, horrid bulging Coke-bottle secondary lens at the bottom of each pane of glass that screams to the world "Look! An OLD guy!"
This new doctor never actually CALLED them bifocals, strangely enough. I guess that word is no longer in vogue amongst spectacle purveyors. Apparently the new terminology is "progressive lenses," so called because the huge gash across the middle of each lens is hidden and the strength increases as you cross the surface of the lens from 'blind' to 'way freaking blind.'
I was still stunned as the perfectly coifed, tanned and crafted salesgirl gave me all the technical warnings about my first time wearing "progressive lenses." Words like "swimming effect" and "severe nausea" and "can't ever go back EVER, Sir" floated through my hearing but all I could hear was "bifocals," which to me sounds an awful lot like "grave."
*sigh* Just call me "Grandpa Irrelephant."