In one of a number of sardonic - or even wickedly karmatastic - moves, the universe has, some forty-something years later, decided to afflict me with a pair of eyes which also require correction. Actually, that's not quite accurate; I first started to wear glasses for reading around sixteen years ago, before being told by a second optician that I had 20/20 vision and that I had wasted my time and money on a pair of speckertakuls. "A pox on you and your entire profession, sir!" I cried as I left his gleaming shop in order to find a quiet spot where I could stamp on my glasses and exact the kind of revenge which was entirely unnecessary. As it turned out, I lost the glasses before I could destroy them (thereby depriving myself of some undue satisfaction), but the effect was almost the same.
My problem was (apparently) that as a younger man I had been very fortunate to enjoy eyesight the like of which is rarely seen this side of a shithouse rat. I always aced every eyesight test without remotely taxing myself, to the extent that testers tended to suspect that I was cheating. I was frustrated by the fact that I could usually see distant things that others could not, and if pushed to it, I could hunt tiny rodents in hay fields from hundreds of feet in the air. At night. Actually, the last part was just a recurring dream...
The slight but natural decay in my eyesight was an unwelcome sign of age (and of diabetes), and I over-reacted to it in the earliest days. I didn't really need glasses, I was just ever-so-slightly less able to focus on near objects as rapidly as I had become used to. If only that were still the case...
Rush future-ward into the present, and I sit at this computer wearing a pair of reading glasses. If I don't wear them, I can't read the screen - it's as simple as that. Wait - no it isn't! The screen is more or less at arm's length from my eyes, which is the point at which these glasses start to successfully resolve the focus point. These glasses focus objects anywhere from arm's length to foot's length away from my eyes. From that point onward, the old peepers seem to still work quite adequately (if still not quite as well as in the good old days). Hurrah! I hear you shout triumphantly on my behalf - well just calm down, Tiger; I haven't finished.
If I want to read anything smaller than keyboard lettering (for example, in a book) anywhere closer to me than arm's length distance, I must take off these glasses (Huzzah! you cry again - now look; I told you to calm down...) and replace them with another pair. Oh yes, I have two different pairs of reading glasses...one for computers, and one for books/e-readers. Or put another way, one pair for up to arm's length (after which they become immediately useless) and another for between arm's length and...well...just...sort of over there.
In the grand scheme of disabling or quality of life-limiting problems, it doesn't sound like much - and I suppose that's true; things could be worse. However, in the real word, it is a constant irritant. I watch TV - uncorrected - without any problem, for instance. Show me a photo, however, and I am suddenly frantically hunting for my specs. Inevitably, I will locate them - only it will be the wrong pair. I will then spend some time looking for the other pair, only to subsequently find them perched jauntily - and managing to do so without apparently touching my skin and therefore doing the decent thing and alerting me to their presence - high up on my head.
At work is where the pain-in-the-arse-ness shines the most brightly, however. There, I use a computer quite a lot. I am also expected to read lost of paper documents, as well as refer to listings which - oddly enough, in this era - are affixed to the walls of the office. Light levels are also somewhat variable at work. What this amounts to is a juggling act between tow sets of spectacles and my uncorrected vision. To put it another way: a rising tide of rage as the shifts wear on. I can barely contain the aggravation that my inability to see everything in all light conditions causes me. However: contain it I must.
Sometimes getting older can be so very frustrating, but at least I am finally beginning to understand what it feels like to be a specky-four-eyes.