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Specs offender - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Specs offender
I've broken the arm of my glasses. Again.

Okay, the last time I did this, I was 17, and was making a point about how rubbish Superman's disguise was, consisting as it did of just taking his glasses off. If only taking my glasses off could effect an instant transformation from smart geeky webmaster to dishy superhero(ine), rather than effecting a slower and less impressive translation from plain, bespectacled girl into plain, squinty girl who walks into doors slightly more frequently. As it is, the absolute best I can hope for is a gawky attempt at getting the lipstick-librarian effect, the taking-glasses-off-and-letting-hair-down moment, the why-Miss-McKnight-you're-beautiful. You be Bogart and I'll be Bacall. Or we could swap, if you prefer; I'm easy.

At seventeen, I had glasses the size of saucers, nearly-circular with dark frames, which were the closest I could get to "indie glasses" given that my parents vetoed Morrissey-style NHS glasses, Loz-from-Kingmaker-style octagonal glasses didn't seem to exist, and when I asked the optician if I could have a monocle he just laughed at me. In photos I can see that the big round glasses made my face look (more) bookish and (even more) chubby, but I don't remember ever feeling bad about them; maybe I figured the raging acne would distract people's attention from even such a spec-tacular fashion mistake. The next two pairs of glasses were variations on a theme; still round and oversized but with different colour frames.

After that I went through a fairly long period where my eyesight didn't seem to deteriorate much, and there was no way I could afford to have new frames just for fun. When my prescription was next updated and I got to choose my frames, I instinctively went to look for another pair of big round glasses. But fashion hadn't stood still for want of being watched: round glasses were over, and the new style was rectangular or oval, half-framed, slim glasses. Grown-up glasses. Sexy glasses. I was not only older but leaner and meaner, and it was time my glasses got with the program.

The first pair of frameless glasses had me squinting out of the corner of my eye for weeks, confused by the fact that I could see the edge of the framelessness in my peripheral vision. (In retrospect this probably ruined the "sexy" look, making me more louche than lush.) Two pairs later I've more or less got used to it; my glasses have even less metal surrounding the lenses, and the frames are thinner, more flexible and hence more robust. These days, on the whole, they'll bend rather than break -- a good stage to have got to, I feel.

So I was trying to twist them back into alignment like the optician had done only two or three weeks ago. (Whether due to a defect in the specs or a misalignment of my face, my glasses slowly warp to one side, sitting ever more crookedly on my face; I wouldn't normally care too much, but when I can see the top of the frames lurching drunkenly across my face as if trying to ski down my eyebrows, something is wrong.) I've done it before and it's worked as a temporary fix, but I must have twisted too far this time; the delicate hinge burst apart, beyond all hope of soldering, leaving me scrabbling about to catch the glasses, the arm, and several microscopically tiny fragments of metal, including a ball-bearing about the size of an 18-point full stop.

Now, I have a love-hate relationship with my glasses. I love being able to look up from my book looking coyly over the top of my specs; I hate having to squint over the tops of them into the rain when cycling in the standard-issue Cambridge drizzle. I like the way they define my face; I could live without the way they define my ears. I could also live without the permanent greasy patch on my nose where the nose-holding nubbins (recently fixed, as observant readers will recall) sit, but I like being able to push my glasses higher up my nose decisively, or thoughtfully, or abstractedly. Sometimes I even do this when I'm not wearing them, and the finger which is pushing the non-existent glasses has one of those I-thought-there-was-one-more-step moments, like stepping off a moving walkway. Whether I'm in a love-them or hate-them mood, though, these days I really can't live without them. I can read close-up without optical assistance, but if I'm sitting on the sofa, even the chunkiest Ceefax text is an illegible blur; and even if I was happy to hold my books two inches from my face, I couldn't drive with the road-signs similarly close. (The alternatives are a non-starter; to afford laser surgery I'd have to sell my internal organs on eBay, and as for contact lenses... Shudder. Let's just say we've tried that, me and my eyes, and we're not trying it again any time soon, thank you.)

So currently I have a choice between nerd chic, with surgical tape appropriately but ineffectually trying to bind the arm to the body, or wearing an old pair -- which means an older prescription (sufficiently different that I feel like I'm straining more to read things that I think I should be able to read) and slightly less flattering frames. I suspect the losing battle with sticky-tape will decide that one for me. Then there's the secondary choice between waiting weeks for them to fix this pair (only to have the other side break a few months later, no doubt, like with shoelaces) or getting new frames altogether (which will still take weeks, and will be more expensive in the short term, but would probably be a longer-term fix).

It's okay, there's no point to all this, really, apart from a bit of whinging and a bit of inconsequential rambling. I'll probably see what options the optician offers, and see how healthy my bank-balance is looking, and then get the new frames anyway. It's like new shoes -- for a couple of days you feel taller and sexier and better until you get used to the higher heels or the shiny patent leather or the chunky platforms or the colour. It's a drug, but a fairly harmless one. And, of course, I could stop any time I wanted. Yes.

But anway, if you see me squinting at you over the next few weeks, now you'll know why. It's nothing personal. It's just my glasses, and they're mostly armless.
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Comments
hairyears From: hairyears Date: April 13th, 2005 12:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes, you do wear glasses. Had to think about it.
atreic From: atreic Date: April 13th, 2005 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
In future, I find when my glasses need tweaking heating them up in the hair dryer first makes them more flexible and less likely to snap

(this may all be psychological because I see the optician put them in hot air in the glasses shop, but it seems to work)
perdita_fysh From: perdita_fysh Date: April 13th, 2005 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I have spare glasses now, for obvious reasons *&), and had purchased a couple of pairs within the last year or so. I don't imagine life would be so fortuitous as to have our prescriptions match (-2.25 in each eye iirc) but if you want a pair of frames to get the lenses changed in and that helps you are most welcome. I can provide photographs first to see if they're any good for you.

I couldn't wear frameless, they just got completely lost on my face, but I did have a pair with a very fine silver edge that were almost framelessy.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 13th, 2005 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
That's awfully generous of you, & thank you for the offer, but I don't think I'll need it -- just phoned the opticians and they say they can order a new arm in within a couple of days.

(No idea what my prescriptions are but I know they're different in the two eyes so no, we wouldn't match...)
lusercop From: lusercop Date: April 13th, 2005 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)
but if I'm sitting on the sofa, even the chunkiest Ceefax text is an illegible blur
errr, is that not the same for everyone - oops.

I know I should go to the optician, but, but, but

I'm also glad that you said you didn't want contact lenses - I didn't either, but last time I went to the opticians, they told me that the prescriptions were different enough that I would get headaches (due to the different sizes of image projection on my retina) if I tried to wear glasses. So I just live in a blurry haze.
lnr From: lnr Date: April 13th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)
All my life me eyes have been very different, and I know other people too. I'd have thought if they're so different from each other you'd be more likely to get headaches *without* glasses than with, but, *weird*. Worth talking to another optician? You could presumably get something that at least corrected your sight a *bit* even if not completely without having the headache effect.
lusercop From: lusercop Date: April 13th, 2005 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that what it comes down to is that the left-eye image is so fuzzy that I just ignore it. It is bad enough that I can't resolve text on my screen at a normal viewing distance.

If you think about it as a physicist, then you have a problem with the parallax caused by the double lensing. I don't think the retina images are that different in size normally, but I could be wrong.
From: scat0324 Date: April 13th, 2005 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
they told me that the prescriptions were different enough that I would get headaches

<aol> Tell them you just don't want contacts and ask them how much correction they can do with specs. Any correction is better than none, and over time, in my experience, you can get closer and closer to a perfect correction. It takes about a week of feeling woozy each time I get them to up the strength of the left lens by a small amount.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 13th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
When did you last go to the optician? The technology's always moving on, and they may be able to do something better now. Even if they can't do complete correction for both eyes, I can't believe it's better to not be able to see properly at all than to be able to see better in one eye at least. And if you're ignoring the left-eye input anyway then why not just ask if you can have the right eye corrected?

Also, you may be happy to see everything "in a blurry haze", but it surely can't be very safe (for yourself or other road users) if you're cycling with such poor vision...
lusercop From: lusercop Date: April 13th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't cycled in ages, so I hope I'm not a hazard. :-)

They basically gave me the option of wearing one contact lens - which I really didn't like or not doing anything. I chose the latter.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 13th, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's crazy -- if they're happy to give you just one contact lens, they should be able to give you glasses with a lens for one eye and just glass for the other! Definitely worth asking a different optician IMHO.
sion_a From: sion_a Date: April 13th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
glasses with a lens for one eye and just glass for the other

That's what my mum had for, oh, probably the best part of 30 years. She even had a couple of years after that with lenses of different signedness (something like -3 and +0,5).
lusercop From: lusercop Date: April 13th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I really ought to, but you know...

lusercop, useless?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 13th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the time it took you to post that, you could have phoned an optician and made an appointment...
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: April 13th, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Whether due to a defect in the specs or a misalignment of my face, my glasses slowly warp to one side, sitting ever more crookedly on my face; I wouldn't normally care too much, but when I can see the top of the frames lurching drunkenly across my face as if trying to ski down my eyebrows, something is wrong.)

For what it may be worth, you are not the only person to whom this happens - it's one of the reasons why I wear heavy plastic frames, to which it happens more slowly. Also because looking authoritative is good when you're trying to Get Things Done. Also because when first I started wearing them, affordable tech for my astigmatism correction meant lenses not much short of a centimetre thick at the edges if I wanted any peripheral vision. The only real negative is with the lights over the bathroom mirror in a few places I've stayed being a tube-shaped incandescent easily mistaken for a fluorescent by Europeans, absently putting one's glasses down on top of it while washing one's face and being distracted a couple of moments later by an appalling burning smell.

Now, I have a love-hate relationship with my glasses. I love being able to look up from my book looking coyly over the top of my specs; I hate having to squint over the tops of them into the rain when cycling in the standard-issue Cambridge drizzle.

I used to hate that, but wearing my Solar Shields - which effectively do not wet - over them solves that problem as well as the intended "reduce light levels to something tolerable" issue.

Oh, and *hug*hug*hug*, because I had a really distressing dream about bad things happening to you last night and it's a great relief to see you still here and in no worse straits than a broken glasses-frame induces.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 13th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
What are Solar Shields? Sunglasses? Can't see how you could wear them over glasses if so...

Sympathy on the dreams front. I have had very weird dreams for the last couple of nights which have left me feeling upset for no clear reason, but the only person I can identify in them is me. In one of them I was in some kind of institution -- it looked like a stately home but was definitely somewhere that I was staying and not entirely of my own volition. In the dream, somebody (I didn't recognise them post-dream) had come to visit me, and I was showing them the gardens leading up to this house, and I said "How could you not like this? It makes my heart sing. It makes me feel like I could do something," and then as I said that I just started to cry uncontrollably, and the person I was with said "You can do something," but I knew that I couldn't, not any more.

Sigh.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: April 13th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
What are Solar Shields? Sunglasses? Can't see how you could wear them over glasses if so...

Big plastic goggles designed to go over glasses, though the people who make them are apparently not doing them any more, so I'm going to have to get some people to buy up what stocks they can find in the US, as the things are easily breakable and scratchable, I must have gone through half a dozen pairs in the past decade. They cover peripheral vision much better than anything else I've found, and I need the things, ocular albinism's not a condition that will ever get any better.
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