There are a lot of little signs along the way to middle-agedom. The first time a bag boy at the grocery store calls you ma’am, the first time you don’t get carded trying to buy a drink at a cool club, the first membership invite from AARP you get in the mail a good twenty-five years before you could even possibly imagine retiring and horror of horrors, when you suddenly realize that your arms are no longer long enough for you to read the menus at trendy restaurants any more.
There used to be a cute little trattoria that shall remain nameless in Minneapolis that was so very dark inside that you had to borrow the teeny tiny votives from all the people at the tables surrounding you just so you could make out what was on the appetizer list. Not to be mean but thank God the restaurant burned down a few years ago because I am not sure there were enough teeny tiny votives in the whole dang place for me to be able to see anything on the menu now. In fact, I would probably need night vision goggles and I think those are kind of expensive and not very attractive and I am kinda shallow that way.
Spending seven hours a day looking at screens of various shapes and sizes does not help a whit with the failing eyesight situation so what’s a poor formerly almost perfect vision person to do? Find a lovely magnifying glass à la Little Edie of Grey Gardens* fame? As much as I admire Little Edie’s eccentric style (hello Marc Jacobs!) toting around a giant magnifying glass to status meetings and social events where there are menus around seems a little unwieldy. Instead I have succumbed, like so many others before me, to the wonderful world of readers.
The last time I had my eyes checked I let them talk me into progressives (bifocals for those unwilling to announce to the world that they need bifocals) and the experience was not good. Every time I turned my head I felt like I just got off the Trabant and it is my life’s goal to never get on the Trabant or any other stupid ride that just goes around in circles ever again. This was no way to live and so needless to say I never wore them and started wearing Eyebobs and while I am a huge fan of Eyebobs (frames way funkier than any Costco/CVS/Target frame could ever dare dream to be) it still did not make reading comfortable. This was a problem for someone who used to win prizes in school for reading the most books every year (I still have the leather bookmarks to prove it) and usually finished anything but the truly Dickensian in a single sitting. Now I barely read a book a month and still have a brand new copy of The Girl on a Train staring at me, wondering why I have not yet gotten on board, especially when I have already paid the fare.
Not only that, those suckers cost me a boatload of money (I have paid less to fly to Europe, not even in the off-season) so it was with more than a bit of reluctance that I went back to the very same place for an eye exam. Turns out wearing readers without accounting for astigmatism was not helping with the eye strain so after my totally free eye exam that cost me over a hundred dollars it was time to pick out some new fun frames.
When Prince made Apollonia cleanse herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka he forget to tell her how much it cost to do anything within a two block radius of its borders, including trying to find a pair of frames with lenses that cost less than some people I’ve known first cars (it was a different time back then people, long before college dorms had granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and private bathrooms for everyone). Seriously, I tried on a pair of frames, kept behind a locked case that cost $3600 and no they were not made out of moon rock brought back to Earth by Neil Armstrong. Thankfully I did not even like them that much because a large part of the reason I am in the 99% is because I tend to like too many things that the 1% do and that I can’t really afford which is what keeps me in the 99%. That and not being an heiress, thanks Mom and Dad.
But this time I was not going to be such an easy mark for those fancy 1% frame pushers, no this time I was going to comparison shop and so I hopped in my car and drove away from the not-at-all pure waters of Lake Minnetonka and into Minnetonka proper where there are malls with eyeglass chains and a girl can get a pair of glasses that might not be made out of moon rock but do say Dolce & Gabbana on them nonetheless. (She probably still won’t like the new version of progressive lenses but can always swap them out for prescription readers so she can hopefully catch up to that train real soon.)
*You have seen this movie right? Please say yes as it is perhaps the best documentary ever of a non serious subject and was made into an award-winning Broadway play and not-so-terrible-as-I-imagined-it-to-be HBO movie with Drew Barrymore as Little Edie. (available to stream on Amazon Instant)