Friday, December 08, 2006

Seeing A New World

Appearances can be deceiving. Especially when you are looking through new bifocals...

Yesterday I picked up my new bifocals. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was in dire need of them. What I didn't know at the time I put them on was how much they would really affect me.

My optometrist's office is in a mall. Sitting down with my back to the open storefront the technician handed me my new look at life. Once the glasses were seated on my nose, the world around me came into focus. A rush of sensory input invaded my befuddled brain. It is amazing how much one doesn't have to think about when your vision is on the fuzzy side. I could read fine print! I could see clearly small details of displays on the wall of the office. But, that was just the beginning of my being able to really see what was all around me.

The technician asked me to look out into the mall. Oh, what a moment that was. Bright colors, lights, sales signs, clothing, bric-a-brac and kiosks full of every pocket stuffer imaginable to man leaped out to me, attacking the very brain cells that had been so sheltered by my past myopia. Immediately, I became overwhelmed, dizzy, and nauseated.

I was so overwhelmed in fact, that all I could manage to reply when asked by the technician how did I like them, was "Wow". Thinking I should have ate breakfast, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and slowly exhaled as I opened my eyes again. Once more, there was an instant impact of color and clarity invading my brain. Totally awestruck, I sat there trying to comprehend what I had overlooked on my way in to the office. Did I really not see that wonderful discounted sale of clothing going on over there? How could I miss those stupefying displays of gems and diamonds at the jewelry store? Where did that kiosk of leather handbags and accessories come from? I could have swore it wasn't there when I walked in.

Instantly, my checkbook was calling to me from my purse. "It's all for sale", it screamed at me. How could I have missed all this? The technician must have become concerned about my short answer, followed by my much longer silence. Did I like the glasses - were they alright, she wanted to know. Muttering to her that everything was fine and that I just needed a moment to adjust to them, I once more closed my eyes and slowly opened them. BANG! The colors, the sales, the kiosk, the people all returned to inundate my once narrow perspective of life. And my checkbook was now shouting at me - LEAVE THIS PLACE IMMEDIATELY, YOU MUST SHOP!!

Nearly in tears, I thanked the technician for my new glasses and turned to face the mall and all it had to offer. How was I going to get through it all with my checkbook intact? When in doubt, don't look came to me. So I walked out of the office looking at my feet. Which isn't such a hot idea when you are wearing bifocals. My feet did not seem to be making contact with the floor where my eyes told me they were. Faced with a new onslaught of nausea and dizziness I once more raised my eyes to visualize the horizon. Which was a block long - full of color and more things than a body should have to deal with and remain sane and unaffected.

Not looking at my feet, I picked up the pace as I made my way through the mall. A tiny senior citizen power-walked past me in tennis shoes. Oh this is bad, I thought. I felt like I was walking on ice, shuffling through the mall because I didn't dare walk fast for fear I would trip over my own two feet or faint from being over-stimulated. "STOP! PLEEEASE STOP," came from my checkbook. I now was nearly in a panic to get to the door. Close to hyperventilating, I pushed through the mall doors and immediately was blasted by a near arctic gust of wind. Whew! I could breathe. I could see a peaceful blue sky with white puffy clouds in the horizon. I had survived the first leg of my journey into what was going to be a much brighter world.

Returning to my car, I became once more overwhelmed with the thought of the drive home. Actually, just leaving the parking slot was going to be a challenge. When I turned my head to look behind me to back out of my parking space, I did it too fast and once more nausea and dizziness came over me. Not a good thing at all. Stopping half way out, I closed my eyes once more and slowly opened them. When I did, I saw a security guard watching me from across the parking lot. Before bifocals, I wouldn't have noticed him - now I actually made eye contact with him. He's gonna come over here, I thought, if I don't suck it up and move now. How embarrassing would that be, to have to explain to the guard that I was trapped in my parking slot because of my new glasses? Easing out of the space, I prayed that those cars behind me were really where my brain was telling me they were and that my front bumper was really the distance away from the car next to me that I thought it was. I managed to not hit anyones car, and began the drive home. The first stop sign I turned to look both directions too fast and once more became dizzy. Realizing it was better to barely turn my head and let my nose lead my eyes, I began a stiff-necked drive home.

Twenty miles later, I was feeling pretty good about things all-in-all. Outside of having the dickens scared out of me the first few times a car or truck came up alongside of me (had they really been driving that close to me before?), I had made it home safe and sound. Now I know why seniors drive so slowly. It's those bifocals they wear. No longer did driving ten miles over the speed limit appeal to me. In fact, driving the speed limit is a challenge in and of itself when faced with everything flying at you that fast.

Preparing supper later, I realized I had a lot to learn about wearing bifocals. As I was cutting up meat to put in the crockpot (no frying pans, for me right now), I could have sworn the plate the meat was on was tilted. It felt stable, but the right side of the plate appeared to my befuddled eyes to be a good deal higher (nearer to me) than the left side. I picked the plate up thinking something was stuck to the bottom of it. Nothing was there. Feeling more than a little foolish, I was relieved to know I was home alone and my kids weren't witnessing my new idiosyncrasies as I learned to cook without injuring myself.

Sigh... Life is going to be definitely going to be different for me from now on. And if you think putting this to post wasn't a challenge, well think again. (Now, if I can only get that mouse to click on publish).

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 10:49 AM