Making Contacts

I started wearing glasses when I was five years old. I suppose it’s all part of having the astigmatism typical to Asian eyes: everyone in my immediate and extended family wears corrective lenses of some kind.

glassesMy eyes are also incredibly bad. If it wasn’t for the rather incredible advances in lens thinning technology and high-index lenses, I would be The Coke Bottle Kid. I’ve been wearing glasses for what feels like forever, and they’ve become a part of my face. Needless to say, I feel naked and vulnerable without them on.

Today I went and got contacts.

I’ve been thinking about them for a while. My eyeglass perscription has gone so high, buying glasses is quickly becoming an event worthy of financing and six easy payments. The fact that I am still dealing with the annoyances of glaucoma hasn’t help lower my perscription, either.

The glasses I have on my face right now as I type this were over $600, and that doesn’t include the fancy pants designer frames, which I don’t have. Who wants to pay a thousand dollars for eyeglasses?

So, after finding out that a year’s worth of contacts would be under $220, I said, “why not?”

Wearing glasses, I’ve missed out on wearing all of the cheap-ass, bad motherfucker “I’m so ironic it’s cool” gas station sunglasses. Plus, walking indoors after being outside in the cold has always resulted in the spectacle of me squinting half-blind through fogged-up glasses. Let’s not even talk about trying to walk home in the rain or a snowstorm. Those rather pathetic looking eyeglass wipers almost look attractive when you can barely see through rain-splattered lenses.

I spent over an hour at the optician’s, clumsily learning what any person that wears contact lenses must do naturally every day: Attempting to put the lenses in, and attempting to take the lenses out. Apparently (and I already kind of knew this) Asians tend to have some difficulty putting contacts in because we just don’t have the ample eyelids that other races have.

Let’s not forget that the act of putting one’s finger in one’s eye just doesn’t seem as natural as one would hope. That said, I’m so used to getting probes and glowing rods and crap in my eyes because of the glaucoma, I could stick the blunt end of a summer squash in my eye and probably not blink.

After fumbling with the first lens almost a dozen times (falling on the floor, falling into my lap, getting lost in the the crotch of my pants as the friendly optician said, “I don’t think I should help you find that one”), I finally managed to get it in place. I cursed these slanted-eyes and longed for a double-eyelid.

After repeated attempts, I finally got the damn things in. Looking up at the mirror with my contacts in, the strange image of my face sans glasses stared back at me from the mirror. I thought to myself, “After 32 years, this is the first time I have never seen what I really look like without glasses on.”

Leaving the optician’s with my new contacts in place, I went to put my glasses on. “You don’t need those anymore,” the optician said with a smile. Old habits die hard.

I walked triumphantly home through a blinding snowstorm. “Ha!” I thought to myself, “No more frozen snow stuck to my glasses! I am now free from the tyranny of near-sightedness!”

Later on that evening, I asked Renée what she thought of my contacts.

“You look like a turtle,” she replied. Harrumph.

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