In the months since I last posted an update, I’ve experienced a few milestone moments and thought I’d share. Some have been related to general life stuff, but some are exciting and relate to writing. Both merit some words. This is part one of my milestone moments update. I’ll get you caught up on the exciting writing-related stuff in part 2.
General Life Milestone: This is the Year I Get Readers
According to my eyes, I’m officially becoming Sophia Petrillo from the Golden Girls. Or, my 8th grade math teacher, who–come to think of it–looked a lot like Sophia Petrillo.
First, Let’s Back Up a Bit, to 1992
Since middle school I’ve been nearsighted with astigmatism. I actually remember the day I found out I needed glasses. It happened during 8th grade math. It was it’s own milestone moment. The school nurse was doing the hearing and vision tests, calling kids out of their classes in small batches. You know, I’m sure. You probably remember it yourself.
So, I was in math class with totally normal vision, following along with what the teacher was writing on the chalkboard. The nurse called me down to get tested. I ran through the vision test and she told me I needed glasses.
Uh, no I don’t, I thought. My eyes are fine. You don’t know what you’re talking about, Lady.
But when I got back to math class, I could no longer read what the teacher was writing on the chalkboard without squinting. I was horrified and furious. Clearly, the school nurse had cursed me because my eyes were fine until she told me they weren’t. That’s how I remember it, anyway, and we all know how trustworthy memories are. Take it with a grain of salt. Anyway…
Jump to 2020
I switched from wearing glasses to wearing contacts when we all masked up. As a teacher, the mask combined with teaching/talking equaled breath-fog clouding up my glasses all day. So, contacts.
They worked great, until…
Fall of 2022
I found myself squinting to read the text on my computer screen. The font seemed ridiculously tiny and out of focus. Leaning in closer to the screen almost helped, but it was still a struggle to read the screen. By the end of the day my eyes were literally tired. I’d never experienced that sensation before. Tired eyes. Huh. Who knew it was actually a thing and not just a turn of phrase.
Hoping the issue would resolve itself, I switched back to glasses to “wait out” the strange phenomenon. At first, everything was fine again. All I needed to do was take my glasses off and then I could read the screen no problem… Well, the text still seemed smaller than I remembered it being. But if I zoomed everything in to 125%, I could read stuff no problem with my glasses off.
Winter of 2022
At some point in December, however, I came to the startling realization that I’d fallen into the habit of not only taking my glasses off but also leaning in ridiculously close to whatever screen I was trying to read.
Have you ever seen an “old” person with their glasses hanging off the tip of their nose, their chin dipped to their chest, phone screen three inches away from their face as they tried to read the tiny print with their “old” eyes? If you have, I bet you’ve had the same thought I did. I am never going to let myself do that. Joke’s on me. I’d been doing it for months and not noticing.
Odin help me, I thought. Do I need reading glasses?
Turns out, yes.I do. Because I’m old. Which is fine. What’s not fine is how flipping expensive it will be to get bifocals. (Which have been rebranded, apparently? They’re called “transition” lenses now. Because that sounds less “old” than bifocals, I guess.)
My question is this: Why does insurance in this country cover the cost of finding out you need glasses to see clearly, but then you’re on your own if you want to actually buy said glasses? Who decided that clear vision is nonessential for good health? If I buy a new pair of glasses (frames and lenses) from my optometrist’s office, it will cost me almost $1000 dollars! If I use an online service or go to a Target or Walmart place, I can likely cut that down to $500, but still. What the heck! I cannot afford to pay $500+ dollars to see clearly.
And so, for the past several months, I’ve been living with my glasses dangling off the tip of my nose while I hold my phone three inches from my face to read my text messages and AP News articles.
Spring of 2023
My beloved partner-in-crime recently suggested I swing by Walgreens and pick up a set of readers from the spinny rack next to the pharmacy counter.
“Great idea,” I said sarcastically. “How about I pick up a couple of dangly neck straps, too, so I can look just like my 8th grade math teacher.”
A pair of readers hung around her neck on a bejeweled strap while she wore a pair of distance glasses. Each time she turned back to the chalkboard to write something, she’d switch between them. When she turned back to the room, she switched again. Just like her, I’m sure I’ll be switching back and forth between sets all day, so like her I’ll need not one but two dangly glasses straps. And just like 14-year-old me thought my math teacher looked ridiculous with her two pairs of glasses, I’m sure my 14-year-old students will think I look utterly ridiculous, too. What goes around, comes around.
Actually, there’s an oddly comforting symmetry to this year’s milestone moment. A cycle of some kind is completing itself. It feels karmic and proper, if inconvenient. I’m getting old. My eyesight is failing me. I can’t afford a proper pair of bifocals, so…
This is the year I get readers.
Which is good. I need them. I’ve been spending a lot of time at my computer this year, writing. And, if this year is any indication, I’ll be spending a lot more time at my computer moving forward, too. Exciting things are finally starting to happen. I’ll tell you more about them in my next post.
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, happy writing!