Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Glasses

I have been wearing glasses since I was in kindergarten. Those few memories I have of life before that magical moment I remember as being quite blurry, so I know that it was astonishing when I found out that not everyone saw the world the way that I did. Glasses were my saving grace, but they also got me picked on mercilessly (what is wrong with kids, anyway??). And I was always afraid of losing my glasses, breaking my glasses, or having my glasses taken away from me.

One of those horrible incidents happened to my son just after we moved up to Maryland. He was jumped by some kids as they all left the school bus. The driver? Looked the other way and drove off. He walked home with a black eye and his glasses shredded. His little gold wire frame glasses had been ripped apart. I found out later, much later, that the mistake that got him pounded was that a bunch of kids were all calling each other the "N" word as a part of their slang. He had never heard the word used at home (and I guess he didn't hear it in NC, either) and when he joined in, trying in his little Asperger's way to fit in, he set off a firestorm. He didn't know it was bad to say that if you were the wrong color. So they took it out on him and his glasses. I took him home and homeschooled him (while still working) until he was a sophomore in high school. Then, he was big enough that no one messed with him, and he was a little more street smart.

I've never had that happen to me, but it was threatened a lot. Big Rosie on the playground in sixth grade threatened to stomp them into the dust. Later, I was a very good friend of hers, when she became ashamed of her own behavior in the face of my politeness and refusal to fight. Later that year I was finally pushed to fight for myself -- not against Rosie but against a girl who called me a fat pig. Big Rosie was standing in line in the lunchroom, watching the whole thing, grinning from ear to ear. The principal knew me and my family well. She publicly said she was giving us equal punishment, but privately she just told me that I knew better and not to do it again. I never had to. Like my son, I soon towered over the other kids, for awhile at least.

See what a new pair of glasses will bring up in a girl's mind?? There are so many emotions connected to something like glasses. I started wearing contact lenses in the 8th grade in an effort to get noticed for what I "really" looked like, but a couple of years ago I had to stop wearing them due to eye problems. At first I actually would hear myself saying, "I'm sorry" when someone noticed I was wearing glasses instead of contacts. I felt awkward and ugly. Besides, no one knows when you change to a new pair of contact lenses. They do notice when you wear, don't wear, or change your glasses.

I have just changed from wire frames, which I've been wearing for - um? - thirty-two years? The salesperson talked me into plastic frames this time. They are chic, a tawny brown, and make me look smart (snicker!).

I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to them, as I always do with a new pair. Focusing at a distance is much easier right now than focusing up on this computer that I stare at for much of the day. But after a few days, it will happen. Before you ask me to post a picture, let me assure you that I will - tomorrow. I will be dressed nicely in the morning, and I will let Paul snap a picture for you all so you can see just how smart I look. I hope the SuperGlasses take me up a few points, because I just got my note from my interim adviser at American University instructing me to choose three courses for the fall and two alternates so I can get started with registration. I'm trusting Ken to get my spine ready for all of this driving, and I'm trusting myself to be able to do it. And the glasses? Maybe, just maybe, they'll give me that smoldering poet look.

Peace - D


Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Interesting post about glasses. I didn't realize that kids got picked on for wearing glasses, although I guess I remember hearing kids called "four-eyes" away back in school. I didn't get glasses until around age 20 or 21; can't quite recall. I need them for distance.

Every single pair of glasses I've had, I've either accidentally broken, or lost. I'm really bad at keeping glasses in their glasses case; after a week or two, it somehow vanishes and I cart them around in pockets, wrapped in paper in my purse...really really bad. Before long they are scratched, twisted..I've tried wire frame and plastic, and both have trouble staying put over the bridge of my nose. For some reason they always slide down.

The result of all this broken glasses syndrome is that I am often to be found wearing glasses in a curious state of dis-or mis-repair...held together by twist ties or tiny bits of tape. Embarassing to reveal that!

P.S. I lost my glasses...again...a few weeks ago. So I'm back to wearing an old (broken!) pair until I get around to buying new again. D'oh!!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

I just enlarged and had a good look at the cute, impish photo of you on your profile; You look like a young Hayley Mills in that photo; did anyone ever tell you that?

She made some great movies, didn't she...

People in the Sun said...

I always thought I would look good in glasses. It was just something that made sense. I read a lot and I spent time in front of my computer. Still, it didn't happen.

That's okay. Kids find things, with or without glasses. My father wore a big fury hat he got on a business trip in England, so everyone called me The Russian. Really, the things my friends and I did to others would make the kids from South Park look like Finishing School kids.

It's weird, the moment none of it matters. Years of you calling people names and being called names, and all of a sudden you stop caring.

leslie said...

I got my first pair of glasses at the end of grade 12 and I, too, couldn't believe what I could actually see! I realized that I was able to read the signs across the street! But then it wasn't "cool" to wear glasses so I got contacts - the old hard ones. Those changed eventually to the soft ones, but I was allergic to the solution so had to get a special pot that I'd boil them in every night. Finally, I went to daily disposables but when I had to get a bifocal prescription, I gave up. My eyes are sensitive and burn so I just wear glasses all the time now. You get used to them and they become part of your face, so I always make sure I'm up-to-date fashion-wise. It's almost time to start trying on new frames again. *sigh* I can hardly wait to see your new frames.

leslie said...

Oh, almost forgot! You won the Mother's Day quiz.

Momma said...

Lavinia - I can just picture you with your glasses tied together with twist ties and string. :-) You know, no one ever told me I looked like Hayley Mills - or maybe they did but I couldn't hear them from behind my father's pants leg. I was painfully shy outside the house, when I was a kid, but I'm not a bit shy now. The true self came out! Thanks for visiting my blog, and I do hope you come back.

PITS - That's true. It must be some rite of passage that we have to peck at each other in that way. Once our education or our looming independence becomes more important, the childish things go away. Thanks for your visit.

Leslie - I had no idea I'd won! Cool! I hope to get a photo taken this morning. No "Sunday Soapbox" post for me today. It's Mother's Day and I don't have the wherewithall to be upset about a thing.

Peace - D

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Happy Mother's Day to you. May God bless you and your family, today and every day.

I hope you have a terrific day!

Shrinky said...

Nothing can tear your heart out more than seeing your innocent child picked on simply because he is different from the pack. I threatened to home school my sweet Sam, but didn't need to in the end (I think I would have lost my and his loose grip on sanity if I had needed to follow through on that).

The more I learn about you, the more I am in awe (smile). I hate my specs, I never manage to keep them scratch or smudge free, thus end up permanently squinting like a half wit when I wear them. I've switched back to contacts again - and only look like I've just peeled a bucket of onions instead. There's always laser surgery, isn't there? Hmmmn..

Daryl said...

I hope you adjust to the new frames/lenses quickly .. I too wore contacs for a while (to counter the braces, too tallness and stick straight horsehair thick hair) til presbyopia took over .. now I gots me some funky no line bifocals .. cant wait to see your new specs!


Momma said...

Shrinky! Good to see you here. I don't know why anyone should be in awe of me, though I do think there should be a special kind of award for moms who have children who are challenged in some way. Without us, where would they be? They have problems only a mother could love, yeah? (And thanks for the mental image of you squinting like a "half-wit" through smeared glasses!)

Daryl - I love the new look in glasses. They have become quite the accessory! You look terrific in yours.

Peace - D

Hilary said...

I had my first pair of glasses at the age of five too. I can relate to the worrying about losing them or having them taken from you as a child. And the teasing. I still feel insecure about wearing glasses and stick with contacts. Or rather.. one contact lens. I find that with declining far-sightedness, I need one unfettered eye to look through the view-finder of my camera. Maybe it's time to go back to glasses... with bi-focals..

Good post.. and David sent me.

Maggie May said...

OOHHHHHHH! Now you have set me off too! I wore glasses at 10 yrs of age in the days of National Health ghastly styles. I was called "four eyes" & made fun of.
Today kid's glasses are trendy & hey really don't get the same kind of nasty remarks. In fact my 5 year old g/ daughter just longs to wear glasses & with our inherited short sight she will probably get her wish!
I could go on. You have given me ideas now!
Very good post. good read!

Momma said...

Hi Hilary - Nice to see you! I think you might be surprised that with glasses you can deal with the camera much more easily. It was getting to the point with my contact lenses that I had to carry reading glasses around with me all the time, and with those? I got a headache. I'm doing much better with the glasses.

Hi Maggie - When my hubby was in the Marines, he was issued a pair of glasses during boot camp that all the guys referred to as "BCDs" (Birth Control Devices)! I loved him anyway :-)

Peace - D