Since Thursday last week, I’ve had to revert to my purple rimmed spectacles to live. And boy has it been interesting getting around with my specs for the first time in a long time.
At 4.25 (L) and 4.75 (R), everything is but a blur without my glasses or contact lenses. I have been wearing contact lenses full time since I was about 15, with the odd and rare spell here and there when I’ve had to revert to my glasses through eye infections and other ailments. It is therefore fair to say that the only glasses I have worn frequently in the past 20 years are my sunglasses.
I switched to contact lenses the minute my parents allowed my sisters and me to switch. I hated wearing glasses as a kid – they were cumbersome during sports, and I looked like a complete gork (a hybrid of geek and dork) all through my childhood. It didn’t help that I had a centre part and my hair and T-zone were prone to produce slicks worthy of the next Exxon Valdez disaster. As an adolescent, I wanted to look like my friends at school, none of whom wore glasses full time.
The freedom that came with contact lenses was thrilling. I could play sports without my glasses fogging up. I could blow on my cup of tea and still see the ripples. I could finally wear sunglasses and be able to see clearly. And I didn’t have to push those damn glasses up my nose every 5 minutes just to see straight.
So, why did I revert to my glasses after so many years? Ditzy me forgot to renew my prescription and ran out of contact lenses.
In their infinite wisdom, HCF Eyecare refused to order more lenses based on the prescription they held on record. It had been about 3 years since I had my eyes checked, and they felt that I needed a check up before they went ahead and ordered more lenses for me. So off I went to their George Street centre and got the full once-over before the lovely optometrist ordered my new lenses.
One of the things the optometrist did was to drop some yellow dye into my eyes to check for conjunctivitis and scratches on the cornea. At the end of the check up, without waiting for all of the yellow dye to completely dissipate from my eyes, I put my pale blue tinted contact lenses back in and strolled back to work.
My walk back to work took around 15 minutes which included a few stops: sushi shop for some rice paper rolls, Coles for afternoon snacks, paper stand for the Daily Trashigraph – at each stop, I encountered at least 1 person who gave me weird looks. I ran into my colleague Lucia at Elizabeth Street, and walked with her for the last 5 minutes back to work. The first words out of Lucia’s mouth were "are you all right?" I also saw another colleague David on the way back to my desk, who also gave me a look of concern.
It wasn’t until 10 minutes after I arrived back at work and dropped around to Gary’s desk to discuss some facilities management issues that the penny finally dropped. And the penny had to be catapulted out of a cannon at my head. I had been speaking for about 5 minutes before I realised Gary wasn’t listening to me – he seemed transfixed by something on my face. When I slowed down and asked if Gary understood my question, he asked "why is your eye bright green?"
I refused to believe him, so Gary asked me to take a good look in the mirror. Sure enough, my right eye was bright green. And no one told me for thirty minutes.
My eye was the colour of Kryptonite. Rather, my contact lens was the colour of Kryptonite. The yellow dye had stained my pale blue lens and created a radioactive sheath over my right eye. I looked hot!
Throughout the afternoon, more and more people gave me the "raised eyebrow" when they noticed my fluoro green eye. But not one person since Gary was willing to ask me outright what my story was.
After the Green Eyed Monster Thursday, I reverted to my glasses because (1) I couldn’t deal with any more weird looks, and (2) it was time to retire that last pair of contact lenses.
Today, I had more interesting experiences on the bus on my way to work. Namely that I forgot I was wearing my glasses and not my sunglasses.
One of my hobbies is people watching. I love watching people – they are so interesting, especially when they are not aware of you watching them. I have found so much amusement and enjoyment from watching people, mostly done through the dark lenses of my sunglasses.
My eyes, although small, are quite expressive. Most people can tell what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling just from looking at my eyes. Which is why I only actively people watch through sunglasses – otherwise, you’d be able to tell if I’m silently laughing or silently berating or silently exasperated at my fellow passengers.
This morning, without thinking, I started people watching. As usual, I rolled my eyes at a fellow passenger who took up his seat and half of the seat next to him – which was already filled by another person, I glared at the school kid who refused to get up for a paying passenger, and I squinted at a dishevelled passenger who looked like he was just getting home after a massive weekend.
I was caught by the hungover bloke, who promptly took off his sunglasses and squinted back at me.
I can’t wait to get my new contact lenses!