Full Moon Fashion Maven

By Lynn Ingram

Last night I looked up at the full moons and thought how beautiful they were, perfect silver globes just shimmering up there, overlapping each other’s heavenly brilliance.

Wait a minute.

Moons?

Plural?

Okay, it was Saturday night – but no, I had not been partaking of the fruit of the vine. Still, I did see four moons up there, where there ought to have been just one.

I guess this means another trip to the optometrist.

It’s not like I’m going to need a road map to find my way. For the past few years, I’ve made more trips to the eye doctor than I have to the bathroom.

Here’s how this started. Some decades ago, Mama noticed that I either sat two feet from the television screen or squinted when I tried to watch from the couch. To the eye doctor I was whisked and home I came with glasses to remedy my severe nearsightedness. Baby blue horn-rimmed eyeglasses. Whoever designed those things should have been arrested and charged with child abuse. They were hideous. This was fifth grade, when other kids hone their skills at saying mean things. I took off those glasses. Being unable to see much of anything, except how to walk without falling down, I earned myself a reputation as stuck up. Childhood is hard. I could either be plumb ugly or stuck-up. Which would you pick?

Salvation arrived at age sixteen in the form of contact lenses. I was instructed to wear them 30 minutes the first day, then an hour the next day, with increases of 30 minutes a day until I could wear them all day. I put mine in the second I got them and didn’t take them out again for 20 years.

Contact lenses solved all my problems (at least the visual ones) until about five years ago, when they started printing the phone book in those teensy letters that require the use of a magnifying glass. Soon thereafter, the numbers on my credit cards and the ingredients list on the back of cold remedies started disappearing into lines of gray fuzz. I knew what was happening, and I knew it was not fair. I was born near-sighted, and now, as a welcome gift to middle-age, I was also now far-sighted. And I knew that the cure for having both conditions is a swear word: bifocals. Glasses with lines down the middle that shout “I am OLD.”

There had to be another way. To the optometrist I went. To me he said, “The simplest cure is a pair of reading glasses.” Not on your life. I put glasses down at 16 when I got those lovely little glass discs to pop in my eyeballs, and I was not about to pick them up again. Okay, he said, we can try two things: bifocal contact lenses or I could have a near-vision lens in one eye to read and a distance-vision lens in the other for concerts and plays. He recommended the second option, saying that it was hard to get crisp vision with the bifocal contacts. My intelligent brain knows that actual vision occurs not in my eyes but in the optic nerve, so the two-different-lenses option made sense. My Lynn brain, the one I listen to most often, couldn’t shake the feeling that I would be seeing a lopsided world. So I chose the bifocal contacts, ignoring what the doctor said about it being hard to get crisp vision with those. Sometimes, I prefer to create my own reality.

When I got my first pair, and I could read the waiting room magazines with no problem, I shouted for joy. Then I looked across the street – and I couldn’t read the letters “STOP” on that big red sign. Uh-oh. Well, try them out for a while, he said. I did. And they didn’t get better. So we sent them back for a little adjustment.

Great, I thought, when Version 2 arrived. I can read “STOP” again – only now I can only read the titles of magazine stories, hovering there above the gray mass that I suppose is the actual story. So we sent them back again.

Four times we did this. I admitted defeat and gave the distance lens and close-up lens option a try, lopsidedness be damned. They gave me the ability to see really clearly from about three feet to a hundred feet, with fuzz on anything closer or farther away. When I wanted to read, I’d close the distance eye. When I wanted to see performers on a stage, I’d close the reading eye. That got old. Fuzzy wasn’t fun. I wanted my clear vision back. It slowly dawned on me that, short of surgery, I was probably back where I started. I needed a good pair of contact lenses for distance vision – and oh, how I hate it when I have to eat crow – just as the optometrist said to begin with – a pair of reading glasses.

So I took myself to the nifty new shop with funky frames at the mall in the high-rent district. I guess the guy who designed the baby blue horn rims passed on. Maybe a fifth grader strangled him with the earpieces of those things. Nowadays, glasses come in red and purple and polka dots with all manner of bling and other adornments. That doesn’t mean they necessarily look that great on my face, but the variety is an improvement if only because it distracts. If I’ve got to wear them, I can at least do it with style. I’m going to wear specs that say “HEY! I AM LYNN’S GLASSES! LOOK HERE AT ME!”

So I got new contacts – perfect distance vision ones, just like I used to have, and reading glasses. Two pairs of reading glasses. One pair with red and purple frames, one with rhinestone-studded brown frames. And I got funky little chains to hang them around my neck. No little old lady chains for me. One of my chains is made of oval green stones etched with sea turtles (which are really too tiny for me to see, but I know they are there). The other has neon blue and pearly beads. Way cool, I tell you.

And just for the hell of it, I got a new pair of glasses, something I can use when my eyes want a break from contacts. They’re real bifocals, but if I don’t tell anybody, they won’t know, because manufacturers now make bifocals without those telltale “old lady” lines. Truth to tell, they don’t even call them bifocals now. The current euphemism is “progressive lenses.” Whatever. I know they’re bifocals. But euphemisms fit nicely with my alternate realities.

I am getting a huge kick out of my funky reading glasses. They’re cute. People pay me compliments. They are, however, not without problems. They hang around my neck, creating an accessorizing issue when I wear a necklace. I have to remember not to put my topaz pendant on my nose when I want to read. It doesn’t do me one bit of good, but that prism effect is awesome. In addition, I have long hair. I’m accustomed to unwinding my tresses from the chains that hold things like that topaz pendant, but the chains that hold my glasses, coupled with whatever jewelry I’m wearing, have lately offered some new twists. Pun intended.

And then there’s my checkbook balance. I wasn’t kidding about the high-rent location of that nifty eyewear shop. I ought to carry more insurance on these spectacles than I have on my car. Except I couldn’t write a good check to pay for it. In fact, I probably can’t write much of a check for much of anything.

But hey, I know how to fix that. I’m farsighted – and nearsighted. All I have to do is take off the glasses and contact lenses, and not only will I not be able to read the tiny balance in the checkbook, I won’t see well enough to find the checkbook to start with!

About this writer

  • Lynn Ingram Lynn Ingram would rather dance than eat three times a day – unless it’s steamed oysters that are being served. Lynn works as a clinical psychologist and part-time instructor in the psychology department at UNCW. Either or both of those jobs might account for why she recently tried to change the TV channel with her cell phone instead of the remote.

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