Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now 


My new peepers being set right now at Rapp Optical in Toronto.

This spring I felt I had to get a new eye glass prescription. The script I'd had for years was causing more and more headaches and were twisted so badly that they never sat straight on my nose. They were that sort of thin wire-framed type where the bottom half was frameless. The thing I liked about them was they were almost invisible. Most people I worked with often ignored them. I wear glasses everyday, but most people didn't notice, that's how invisible they were. Yet, being so slight, meant they were incredibly fragile and bringing a hand anywhere near my face seemed to result in an instant and irritating smudge. They were also uncomfortable — which sounds crazy given how lightweight they were, but the point of contact always left red marks on the bridge of my nose. Did I mention they were also crazily askew on my face, or that any attempt to straighten them resulted in popping out a lens? Did I also mention that the prescription was wrong? Still I wore them and that stupid messed up prescription for years. I was always told by optometrists that I would "get used to them". I should have stood up and poked my fingers in their eyes and said, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." Finally, one day I had a migraine of epic proportions that, if not triggered by the glasses, was not aided by the them. Instead of continuing to wear them I went back to an older pair with a weaker script that were as comfortable as an old pair of jeans.

I wasn't going to walk into the mall and walk out with something I didn't like and that didn't fit

Everyone who saw me in those glasses asked me where I got them, and when did I start wearing glasses. The really funny thing is these frames were at least 15 years old (they were the last pair I got on my NCC health plan when I worked in Ottawa) and they were the cheapest frames I'd ever bought ($125 was probably an average price in the mid-nineties) so rather than spend an eternity hunting for new frames I walked into a shop, got my eyes checked, explaining very carefully that my current prescription completely messed up my depth perception (it's like one eye was a telescopic lens while the other was a wide-angled lens). It wasn't a surprise when the optometrist said my eyes haven't weakened but my prescription wasn't right. I handed over the glasses I was wearing and a few days later it was like having new eyes.

Since then, I've been to five different eye glass shops looking for what I wanted. A heavy-ish, translucent, plastic frame, that wouldn't look silly when they went dark ("transitions" effect) and were the right size for my face. I guess you could say I was being fussy, but for once I wasn't going to walk into the mall and walk out with something I didn't like and that didn't fit just because I needed them (which is pretty much the thing that happens every time I need a pair of pants — I don't like the fit and they don't fit but hey that's okay, they were cheap).

Yesterday, I went to the last place I thought I would go to. It's a sort of boutiquey eye wear shop on College. I went in there years ago and was pretty much treated like I was a leper wearing a scarlet "A" on my chest. That was this shop's reputation. Snobbish, rude, and expensive. What I found was a cozy place with a lot more options than you'd expect and a level of friendly and helpful service that bordered on "down-home". This was "Calgarian" or "Haligonian" levels of friendliness you just don't get in Toronto, least of all from a purported "hipster" spot. OK, far too many quotation marks in that last sentence. The glasses weren't cheap, but I'm wearing ones that are really old. I still have a pair of Dad's from the 50s (or maybe the 60s) so I expect I'll have them for awhile. To be honest they really aren't that much more than the pair I wore for years and hated.

Needless to say, this is pair of specs that I don't think I'm going to go home and stand in front of the mirror regretting. Admiring, yes. Regretting, no.

Next week, my tale of the most expensive boots I've ever bought, that never fit, and wore out in just over a year of wear but looked awesome (it was like I get why women buy the shoes they do).

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