I’ve been a members of the Four Eyes Club for about fifteen years now.
I vividly remember the first time I saw leaves. I was in fourth grade and oddly unaware that I didn’t have great vision. (How does one know they aren’t seeing things until they do?)
It was the day after my birthday. I had, like every year, a costume party sleepover (one of the benefits of having a Halloween weekend birthday).
I was standing at the front door with my mom as my four-eyed friend was getting picked up in the morning by her mother. Somehow the conversation led to me trying on her glasses.
And the world unfolded before me.
“Mom! I can see the leaves! Each individual leaf. The blades of grass! I can see the leaves!” I exclaimed as I looked out the door with her glasses on with eyeballs the size of saucers.
I can still remember that exact moment. That moment when the trees morphed from hazy, green trees into detailed tree trunks with layered leaves in 100 shades of green. Seeing the tiny branches and not just the big ones. Knots in the tree bark. The rustling in the wind.
I can only compare it to is looking at something under a microscope. All of a sudden you see what you never saw before. The variations in colors, the scraggling lines of texture and shadowy details.
Suffice it to say my Mom felt terrible. Shortly thereafter I went to the eye doctor and came back with my own set of frames.
While I don’t remember being devastated about wearing glasses (as some girls do), I don’t remember being too pumped about them either. I felt mildly indifferent about them.
My glasses were always hilariously tilted at a slight degree on my round face because I would read in bed at night. From lying on my side with my face on the pillow while reading my glasses slowly tweaked to sit crooked on my face. Every time I went back to the eye doctor he would straighten them out again, but it never lasted for long.
About eleven years ago I transitioned to contacts and have never looked back.
I remember walking around Marshall’s right after my first appointment when the eye doctor put them in for me. I was standing in front of a dressing room mirror staring at the clear orbs covering my eyeballs and thinking about how weird they felt. I was sure I was going to accidentally rub my eyes and lose one..
These days I can take them out or put them in in a pitch black room with one arm tied behind my back. I don’t even notice them.
I like glasses, but when I wear them I always touch my face and squinch up my nose. I wear them infrequently enough that they feel like a foreign object to me.
It’s odd to feel so dependent on glasses or contacts. I don’t think it’s something that people with decent vision will ever understand.
When I was younger I always wanted to go on Survivor or the Amazing Race, but the first hindrance I thought about would how could I deal with my vision? I certainly couldn’t wear glasses in the challenges but wasn’t sure if I could bring contacts solution. Or what would happen if I lost one?
When asked what is the greatest invention, people often respond with answers like electricity, modern plumbing, the lightbulb or the internet. Clearly all of these people don’t have bad eyesight.
I beg to differ. To me the greatest invention is glasses.
Without them I’d have to live life relatively close to a blind person.
To see is to swim in the ocean and be watch the waves coming towards you.
To be in a crowd of people and find the face of a friend.
To look at the night sky and gaze at the stars.
To look out the window and linger on the leaves on branches, the blades of grass and the birds in the air.
To wake up and see the time on the clock.
Such is the stuff of life.