Week 20: Contacts

Gangsters of the world beware: if you should ever become embroiled in a high speed car chase scenario with me, I will henceforth be a lot faster off the mark than I would have previously. Because this woman now drives without glasses.

In fact, glorious week: she now does everything without glasses.

No more fumbling for them in my handbag every time I get in the car. No more deliberating whether an art gallery is best appreciated by closely examining the detail of paintings (sans spectacles) or appraising the whole from a distance. No more pretending that some people have blurry faces because they are the victims of an alien attack rather than because they are stood more than several feet away from me.

Contact lenses, I concluded within five minutes of walking out the front door with them for the first time, are one of man’s greatest inventions. Convenience and revitalised youth quite literally at your fingertips.

This wondrous praise may seem a little excessive and old news for something so familiar to so many, but please consider: it is only relatively recently that I have accepted my eyesight is fallible. I denied deterioration for months, I even argued with my optician when he told me I was short sighted. Only when seeing into the distance started to become as pointless as trying to see into the future did I concede he might have a point. I could never though accept his recommendation that I ought to therefore always wear my glasses. Popping them on occasionally when absolutely necessary is one thing. But wearing them permanently seemed to me another surrender to a Certain Age, and an unflattering one at that.

Imagine then my relief when I was told I could move to contacts. Imagine then my despair when, upon attempting to make the move, I thought myself too stupid to do so.

For it turns out putting contact lenses in is immensely difficult. The little devils are determined to cling on to your finger no matter how hard you persuade them to leave it, or else they curl up into useless rolls, or drop into the sink when they have no business to be dropping anywhere. And how many times already have I had to endure that awful suspense of firmly pressing the floppy thing against your eye and slowly withdrawing your finger, hoping, praying, that it comes away lens-less – a suspense almost invariably climaxing in disappointment. What I could really do with is for a miniature World War One era airman to sit inside my eye and shout “CONTACT!” whenever the lens is correctly positioned.

Instead of which little hero my only guidance came from an optician’s assistant, a woman born to the job of instructing people how to use contacts by virtue of her remarkably large protruding eyes, into which blood-shot pools I stared for half an hour this week as she dropped in lenses, skated them over her eyeballs and pinched them out again with enviable ease. If she weren’t quite so dexterous perhaps I wouldn’t have felt like a Boris Johnson on the Buffoon-Scale, as I fiddled for ten minutes to get one lens in, only to then become convinced I hadn’t put it in at all as I was damned if I could find the bugger to get it out again.

Fortunately, ineptitude is no barrier to passing the tutorial session, and after I had eventually got a lens in and out of each eye I was sent on my merry way. Although it took me a few days to summon the nerve to insert my contacts on my own, I have finally, via much swearing, done so, and I am henceforth determined to be a good little pupil and practice with my lenses daily. Because while driving with glasses is annoying, driving with fake designer shades is cool. Particularly in car chase scenarios.

And if that weren’t reason enough, then perfect vision will I suspect be an invaluable aid when undertaking next week’s new thing…

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About georgina2013

I work in digital humanities publishing and when not setting myself silly challenges am the sort of person who loves good books, good coffee, new places, historic places, old comedy, jazz & Radio 4.
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