“Your prescription hasn’t changed,” my eye doctor said, pushing the butterfly-shaped apparatus away from my face. I started to relax in the orange leather seat, thinking that I would get to leave sooner than I imagined.
He pulled out a pen light and some sort of magnifying glass and after blinding me while forcing me to stare at his ear, he started pressing down on my closed lids.
“Have you been in a car accident recently?” The question made me pause; I answered no.
“Any sort of trauma? Been hit with a basketball?” he suggested. I said no to both, but started wondering what Henry does to me in my sleep that would change the shape of my eye balls. Am I going to lose them now?
Then my doctor dropped the false concern from his voice, adopting instead a tone of mild irritation. “Oh never mind, it’s because you wear your contacts too much.” He wheeled his seat back behind his desk and began scribbling in my chart, shaking his head at my irresponsibility. He told me that my over-used contacts have caused an allergic reaction to my upper eye ball area in both eyes. The name he gave it sounds like an STD gone optical. The good news is that my medical insurance will cover it, because what was originally just a routine exam (back when the sun still shone and birds chirped my name) was now an appointment to treat a medical condition.
“I’m going to prescribe you some eye drops. Use it for ten days, then I’ll see you again to check the progress. Don’t wear any contacts for the next ten days! I’m serious. I’ll know if you’ve been wearing them.”
I’m certain this was the point during the exam where I gulped. I’d have rather been getting a pap smear right then.
The conflict lies in the fact that I don’t have any glasses. I broke my last pair in an Incredible Hulkulean fit of rage, instigated by my extreme agitation of viewing the world through lenses. But I couldn’t tell my doctor this because five breaths ago I was swearing that I alternate wearing contacts with wearing my glasses.
I’m sure he could smell the stench of bullshit seeping through my cheese-clothed lie. He’s an eye doctor, for Christ’s sake. But I’m stubborn, so I left his office armed with a prescription and no eye sight. I tripped a few times on my walk home, flopped down on the couch and proceeded to panic.
How would I drive to work? How would I see who’s walking past my area? How would I spy on the creepy cleaning guy? Oh yeah, and how would I work?
I cried to Henry about it, but received no consoling. “That’s what you get. You idiot. Just go back and tell them you need to order a pair of glasses.”
“No, I don’t want to pay for them! I just spent $150 on a contact supply,” I whined.
I slapped my old contacts in right before I left for work, so that I could at least see while driving. Except that the lenses have grown ornery in their old, abused age, and refuse to stay suctioned to the curve of my eye. I blink and they ride up, like my eyes are trying to reject them. Even my EYES aren’t as retarded as me. I had to drive with my head tilted back, peering down my nose. Christina, trying to find the bright side, pointed out that at least I’ve had a lot of practice with looking down my nose.
Work was long and arduous. I took my contacts out as soon as I got there, so I had to pull my monitor as far out as possible, without knocking the keyboard off the edge. I couldn’t slouch in my seat like usual or I would be too far away to see the screen through my furious squints.
The worst part of the night was when I tried to pay my coffee bill. The lady in charge of the coffee club was gone for the day, so I was instructed to give it to her friend Sharon. I’d never been to see Sharon before, but the coffee lady told me in an email that Sharon sits near her.
I did my best to walk over to their area of the building without reaching with my arms, an inherent reflex when vision becomes obstructed, or so I’m learning. Convinced that Sharon had an office and not a cubicle, I began pressing my nose up to the first several closed doors I came upon, squinting to see the names. The third or fourth door (blindness renders me dyscalculate, apparently) was open. I know this because a bright haze emanated from within, like I had finally reached Heaven’s gates.
I could detect a blurry outline of a human situated behind what I assumed was a desk. “Sharon?” I called out hesitantly. I jumped a little at the sound of my voice, which I had raised the volume on to compensate for my lack of sight, I suppose.
“No, this isn’t Sharon’s office,” answered the voice of a man. I squinted and brought my hand above my brow, like I was trying to see into the sun. This did nothing to sharpen the man’s outline. I know, I was surprised, too.
He tried to point me in the direction of Sharon. “No, the other way,” he said, as I turned to leave. I couldn’t see where he was pointing, so I was trying to fake it. He had to correct me THREE TIMES before I finally pivoted to the right and walked right into Sharon’s cube. He probably thought I was autistic.
On my way back to my desk, I took comfort in the fact that I didn’t even know who I was acting like an asshole in front of, so when I get my sight back, I won’t even know to be embarrassed if I ever encounter him again.
Until I inadvertently found out from my friend Jenn, who works during the day, that this guy in her department just got his seat changed. His name is David and I had a brief crush on him during our Christmas party, wherein I spent a good twenty minutes taking clandestine pictures of him sitting alone and brooding. After she mentioned that, it occurred to me that the man in the office sounded like him. I tried to imagine David with a blurred face. Later, when all the dayshift people were gone, I groped my way back to that office, stood with my nose an inch from the door, and read a line of fuzzy letters that spelled out “David [Hopefully-Erin’s-Future-Surname-But-Certainly-Not-Now].”
Today, I had planned to go to Goodwill and see if maybe they have a box of unwanted eyeglasses that I can pick through, maybe find a nice old man pair or fabulously over-sized owl-frames, in the style of Brett Somers. But Henry argued that Goodwill doesn’t just collect a box of prescription glasses to re-sell. “They probably send them to old people homes,” he reasoned. But how will the poor people see?
“Here’s a thought,” Henry posed over the phone this morning. “Why don’t you just call your fucking eye doctor and tell them that you can’t fucking see?”
“Because I don’t want them to know I lied! Ooh, unless! What if I call them and say that I left my glasses on the bus yesterday and I need an emergency pair?”
“Or, why don’t you just tell them you’re a re-re who has never had glasses.” When he came home from work, I had the bean bag pulled two feet from the TV and I was lurched forward, squinting to make out the undulating forms of Danity Kane. “Is this where the blind people sit?” he asked, with a roll of his eyes.
Once I’ve woven a tangled web, the lies and deception just get deeper and deeper; there’s no turning back now. And it’s stupid things I lie about too. I mean look, I’ve been writing on the Internet since 2001. You would think that if I was so into knitting ridiculous afghans of aspersion with a distorted reality fringe, I would do a better job constructing a polished image of myself. Like, maybe I would lie and say that I went to an Ivy League, perhaps Oxford, Photoshop my pictures and pretend to be in porn. But no, instead I’m like, “Hey, I’m a fatso! And a high school drop out! I’m not even awesome enough to have a hot boyfriend!”
But glasses I’ll lie about.
Henry sad he might have his old glasses, a pair of 1980’s aviators. I really hope he finds them, because I bet they’d cover at least half of my face. Until then, Christina is sending me her glasses.
I’m starting to lose sight (ha-ha) of my initial point. Why am I doing this again? Oh right, because I’m an idiot.