I’m sitting in a restaurant with friends and everyone is animatedly going through the menu card to order their favourite meal and I just politely say, “I’ll just have what you’re having… only vegetarian!” We all settle in to a happy banter and my phone buzzes. I don’t want to be rude and interrupt my friends by picking up the phone to see who has messaged or who is calling or to check whether it is urgent or just another FB post. So I surreptitiously glance at my phone to see if it’s a call that can wait. Trouble is… I can’t really see it without my reading glasses!!! I just start to make out a four and a two and am trying to figure out whose number that might be, and poof, it’s no longer displayed on the lock screen.
I am on a train and after a whole day’s work, I want to check the FB posts or Twitter world! I need to take out my glasses to view the highly uncustomisable iPhone the font on which can only get that large and no more! I could get my glasses out, but that would be one more thing I will need to stash away carefully before getting down! So I buy a larger phone with bigger font and soon the person next to me on the train is smiling at a private chat I am having with a friend!!! Sigh….
The newest thing in my life is Presbyopia! Well, if you are under 40 you have probably already moved on to the next blog… but if you are anywhere between 40 and 50 you have sat up in your chair worn those reading glasses and read on!
If you are under 40 and still reading, let me enlighten you on this thing called the reading glasses syndrome. Inside our eyes is a lens that makes tiny movements to allow what we’re seeing to focus correctly on the back of our eye so we can, well…. see it. In this way we can look at something far away, then look down at something close and be able to see both equally well. As we age, this lens becomes less flexible and less able to make these tiny adjustments, so that eventually it becomes difficult, and finally impossible for the lens to adjust to see tiny things up close. This begins somewhere around the ages of 40-45. At first our eyes are able to compensate, but eventually most people get to the point, usually somewhere between age 40-45, where they can no longer make that adjustment and need reading glasses.
And what a pain this condition is! Though I’ve never hidden my age, I look younger, and so people tend to forget it. And to be honest the last thing I want to be doing when sitting among youngsters is fumble for those “old people” thing in my bag every time one of them shows me photograph or a funny post on FB! Reading glasses – they’re a blessing and a curse. When you need them, and have them available, they’re great. You can see what you need to see, and put them away, and not be stuck with wearing glasses all the time. But when you have to fish them out in a hurry, or tell people you can’t see that paper they’re waving in front of your face until you get your glasses out, they’re a god damn nuisance.
And to boot, it comes with loss of memory! You forget where you last saw your glasses. You wear it on the head to see far and when you have to read a contract document you look for it everywhere till someone points out that it is on your head! You get to work, leaving your glasses at home and the whole day is wasted trying to squint to read anything! And before you suggest hanging it around a chain around my neck, that just ain’t never happening ‘cos it’s just so…. well…. daggy!!!
Of course there are alternatives – get 6-8 pairs of reading glasses and place them strategically in every corner of your life! Get glasses that are plain on top, and reading on the bottom, and wear them all the time? Yuck. Or, get longer arms, so I can hold things farther away and then I could read them? Uhhhh… maybe not… How about having a personal assistant with you at all times to read things for you? No, that would be pretentious, and expensive. “One moment, please hand that menu to my personal reading assistant.”… sigh…. Naaah alternatives don’t work!
So nuisance or otherwise, this problem is here to stay! And the worst thing is this problem cannot be corrected by vision surgery (at least not yet). It’s only corrected by glasses. We need a vain baby boomer to go through this problem to come up with a permanent solution! Until then…. I will just need to buy a bigger bag to keep that dastardly glasses case and/or own five pairs, one in every corner of my life, or land up on relying on someone else to order my meal from a menu card!!!