Overall this aging business is what I would describe as an up/down affair. I do enjoy being past the years of giving a rat’s arse about what other people think; the times of doing what was expected of me, of being the person I was ‘supposed’ to be. On the other hand, yesterday I woke up and it was hard to pinpoint something that wasn’t creaking, aching, or sagging beyond recognition. Granted I have a few war wounds that render me more decrepit than the average middle aged woman, but still. I expect I’ll need a full time nurse by the time I’m 50 just to haul me out of bed in the morning.
And as if I didn’t have enough going on, a new problem has emerged. I was sitting among my young snappy coworkers when I asked for the blurry presentation projected on the boardroom screen to be brought into focus. Turns out I was the only one a little fuzzy around the edges. So I dragged myself off for a proper eye exam.
Christ almighty it was like a NASA testing lab in there. By the time the 12 year-old optometrist came I was practically blind from all the flashing lights and arrays of letters and numbers to decipher. The young doctor then showed me how clear my world could be with the addition of spectacles and I resigned myself to joining the ranks of girls who wear glasses.
Next we shifted focus to my retinas, which had been photographed and were displayed on a screen so large that even I could see them in vivid detail. I was still stuck on being deemed less than perfect, so I only half listened as he pointed out the lack of vascular abnormalities and cholesterol deposits. He spoke of the impeccable optic nerve and other banalities. Then the phrase “far better than other 46 year-olds” was tossed about and I suddenly realized this guy was something of a wunderkind. “Go on, Doctor,” I purred. He said that my retinas were absolutely perfect and even went so far as to suggest that I was “higher up on the evolutionary scale.” Naturally. “Well, my dear fellow,” I said, “was there ever any doubt?”
It was all I could do not to grab him by the ear and drag him out to the car to tell Neil exactly what he told me; to confirm once and for all my superior status. Sure, other humans may have strong legs and glossy hair; they may never forget why they enter rooms and always remember where they left their keys, but how many have retinas so pristine that they exceed evolutionary expectations? Few and far between my friends.
After trying on every pair of specs in town (turns out superior retinas have very little to do with looking good in glasses), I had decided on a pair of deeply discounted designer frames found in a sample sale at the Bay—a smart decision in keeping with my lofty position on the food chain. But then I spoke to one of the previously mentioned cool kids at work. I was told that all highly evolved creatures buy their eyewear at a local joint called Goo Goo Goggles. Of course they do.
I walked in and was immediately seduced by the terminally hip, highly knowledgeable staff. The place was full of artfully displayed specs from all over the world, everything from Danish modern to 50s vintage cat eyes worn, I suspect, by Catholic nuns while teaching Latin. When the manager casually mentioned that they only stocked one pair of each style to ensure uniqueness, I was reeled in beyond release.
I wound up with a pair of Japanese geek chic glasses that I felt instantly transformed me into Diane Keaton. Never mind that they cost about the same as the monthly rent I once paid for a charming medieval house in Burgundy. Apparently there’s a genetically gifted sucker born every minute.