Physical Foibles

I don’t mind getting older. I don’t mind finding wrinkles or grey hairs and I find the gain of a few pounds only mildly traumatic. But what has been really frustrating me over the last little while is my eyesight.

A couple of years ago I had to get “progressive lens’” and even though they’re referred to as “progressives” we all know bifocals by any other name smells distinctly of middle agedness.


Even though my choice of frames is limited to a few borderline “trendy” pairs, I’ve accepted the fact I must wear them or be blind.

But it hasn’t been that simple.

I can wear my progressive glasses when I drive. No problem. When I teach? Not an issue. AND now reading is easier…but not in bed. In bed it’s easier to read sans eyeglasses because my head is usually askew on the pillow and therefore my pupils don’t align with that sweet spot on the lens that is meant for reading.

To use the computer my old glasses work best. And fine print on the back of prescriptions or instructions no glasses whatsoever does the trick.

Contact lenses? Fine. But I have to wear reading glasses in order to make out print. Between the progressive lenses, the regular lenses, contact lenses and reading glasses seeing has become a grand production where provisions must be made and accoutrements must be supplied and changed and rearranged according to occasion.


And don’t get me started about the movie the other night. I group of friends and I went to a fairly well attended show so we had to sit in seats situated in the front third of the theater and the screen was


oh so big.

The lights dim, the previews begin and…


I had no idea how to work the glasses. I kept nodding my head up and down slowly with no luck. Finally I figured out that if I put the knuckle of the index finger of my left hand slightly under a part of the frame, tilted my head slightly to the right, crossed my left leg over my right knee and propped my right fist under my left elbow I could see the movie crystal clear.

At least I’ve learned to be inventive.

Eye surgery is a tempting possibility. But I have to wait until my eyesight plateaus before that can happen. I think waiting for the eyesight to plateau will be the same as waiting to stop growing older so I’m not going to hold my breath.

So, I’ve learned to find some humour in this irritation because I know that down the road I’m going to have to find ingenious ways to live with other physical foibles like how to work my hearing aids without shouting and how to control my bladder.

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion. ~Doris Lessing


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