Sometime approximately 8 months ago I went through a rite of passage most middle-aged people go through. I lost my capacity to read without glasses.
The strange thing is it happened virtually overnight and was so disorienting I thought something was very wrong with me. For a few days I started making everything on my computer screen enlarged, but I was frustrated because I couldn’t read anything on cans or bottles or any ingredients on food labels. I couldn’t read books. It was so sudden I thought it must be a side effect of the withdrawal and that it would pass relatively quickly.
Within four or five more days I was desperate to get some glasses. I couldn’t read anything including the enlarged writing on my computer screen. So I went to a drug store and bought the cheapest reading glasses they had. Not so much because they were the cheapest but because they were large framed. Whenever I looked through the typical reading glasses on display all I was aware of were the edges of the frames as they were super skinny frames. I don’t know how people deal with those sort of glasses without being driven to distraction. Of course it’s those glasses that are considered attractive.
In any case I went home with really ugly, unhip reading glasses with frames that looked like what people wore in the 70’s.
I figured no one would see them anyway, and I thought at that point that it was still something that was going to pass. At least the severity of it.
Well, alas, it did not pass so I ended up back, this time in a fancy, hip, health food store looking for an alternative. I was still going out from time to time at that point and I didn’t like wearing the goofy glasses in public. So I ended up with these instead, which were more expensive (a whole $13) as opposed to the $5 dollar cheapos.
They are relatively cool, but not so skinny that you can only see the frames. I don’t think they are the best glasses in the world for my face, but I love them. The cheapo unhip glasses needed washing with water and soap every few hours. These I can rub shiny clean with a cotton shirt or blanket. Items I almost always have right on me so I don’t need to go out of my way to see through a clean pair of glasses!
So now I have this new habit of keeping my glasses close to me at all times because if I don’t have them and I have to read something I panic. If they’re not on my face they are generally propped on the top of my head, like people do with sunglasses. I’m still not used to looking at something without my glasses and not being able to make out what the heck I’m seeing. I even have a hard time seeing my food clearly on my plate. And it’s still disorienting.
I actually mentioned all this to my sister and she laughed at me. She is 7 years older than me. She told me it happened to her at age 35. I was spared 8 years. It struck me in the middle of my 43rd year. Anyway, in my mind this sort of marks the first step towards official old-age. But, alas, we’re all on this path. There is no avoiding it!