Blind as a bat, that’s me. In Grade 5, I told my mother I needed glasses and she promptly refused to believe me. (Had I lied to her before????) Not a single teacher noticed I squinted all the time and I wrote with my nose an inch from my page. In fact, one teacher grabbed a clump of hair on the crown of my head and yanked my head up while remarking, “You’re not that blind.” But she was wrong because I was THAT blind.
At wits’ end, and no options remaining, I cleverly forged a note from my teacher advising my mother I needed glasses — brand-new glasses. I swear it was an act of pure desperation. I was not an eleven-year-old delinquent destined for the province’s Reform School for Girls. What else was I supposed to do?
Jump ahead until May of this year, almost fifty years after the fact. I griped loudly about my glasses to anyone who would listen. Why could I not get the correct prescription? Sitting in the optometrist’s chair, I can spot an ant a mile away, but not with my brand-new, $700 glasses.
“Melda!” I scolded. “Enough is enough! Stop this foolishness right now. You are acting like a baby ― AGAIN. Put those glasses on and keep them on until you get used to them. No more wearing your old glasses. And quit that whining. You’re worse than a dozen babies. For Pete’s sake, you’re almost 60. It’s time to grow up.”
Believe me, I gave it my best shot. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. A quitter I am not! I determined to shut up and put up with my new glasses until I adapted to them. They were intended for distance, reading, and computer use. Impossible! I could not go without my computer/reading glasses. I was nearly car sick from constantly changing back and forth. More than once, I left home wearing the wrong pair.
And then my patience ran out. Utterly exasperated with my situation, I refused to put up with it any longer I could not tolerate it for one more minute, not even one more second. I booked a new eye exam at C.M. OPTICAL in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Would this be another waste of an hour and a thousand dollars?
I arrived a few minutes ahead of my appointment. I found the office staff could not have been more helpful. But what about the optometrist? I was ushered into the sacred examination room which looked like every other examination room. And then Dr. Guy Rohland entered. A young man, compared to me, a friendly, laid back, chatty soul. I quizzed him about his qualifications. (What do I know about optometry? Zilch.) I was surprised to learn Canada only has two schools of optometry — English speaking at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and French-speaking at Université de Montréal in Québec.
I told the young doctor that I find the traditional eye exam frustrating with the constant: 1-2, 1-3, 2-3 and he offered to proceed as slowly as necessary. Bonus. Do those numbers even mean anything or is it nothing more than a ruse to justify the cost of the exam? Together, we decided on my prescription strength and away I went to choose my brand-new glasses. The perfect pair of frames jumped out at me in mere minutes.
A few days later, I received the call that my new glasses were ready. I wish I could tell you they were perfect. Well, they are — sort of. The distance portion is crystal clear, but clear bifocals continue to elude me. I have to physically position my glasses in the right spot or take them off. I carry reading and computer glasses in my purse. Hey, I could put one pair on my head or on a string around my neck? Nope, just in case a well-meaning friend should suggest it. You see, I suggested this to Mom years ago when she was always looking for her glasses. She didn’t take kindly to the idea, but I looooved her excuse and will claim it as my own:
No chains for me either.
I’ll buy a bigger purse to carry my glasses.