The spectacles of experience; through them you will see clearly… (Ibsen)

Just back from Specsavers where, despite not needing prescription specs for everyday use, they still gave me the hard sell.

Lanark’s Specsavers…haven’t a clue who the guy is…

I have a ‘slight astygmatism’ apparently. I already knew this, I explained – from the test they’d done on me way back in 2008, when they sold me two pairs of designer spectacles which I never wore.

Effectively the test today revealed more of what I already knew – that I can see the letters on the bottom line, as long as I squint a wee bit – but I can see them without squinting when the tiny prescriptive correction is applied. The optician suggested I ‘would be advised to use prescription glasses when watching t.v. (not something I do very often) and maybe when driving at night’.

I suggested that I might prefer not to get any glasses at all. That I might, in fact, prefer to continue just the way I always have – entirely unaware (physically) of any eyesight imbalance at all and managing just fine, thank you very much, with my ‘driving in the dark’.

I could tell she wasn’t terribly happy with my suggestion.

‘Now, Mrs Stewart’ she said slowly and carefully, coming over all Primary School Teacher-ish, as she frowned at me with what I presume she thought was a careful and intelligent look, ¬†‘Isn’t it better that you correct your eyesight problem now¬†rather than leave yourself at risk of headaches and eye strain?’

She said ‘eye strain’ as though it were something I could die of. I had this vision of myself: one minute, sitting watching telly quite amiably and then, Bang! suddenly clutching my eyes as I breathed my last.

I laughed and asked (cheeky and rhetorical) – Isn’t that why paracetemol and eyelids were invented?

She looked perplexed.

And I felt suddenly sorry for her.

Look I said Let me take the prescription and go look at the frames that are out there.

Jamie was standing in amongst the racks of grim-looking frames. He had been tested too, but pronounced perfect and quickly got rid of. He looked at me as I clutched my prescription and advanced towards him.

Ha ha ha he said You need specs ya old wummin!

I looked at him. I looked at the multi-racked row upon row of spectacle frames. I looked at the prescription in my hand and then at the door.

Come on James, ya cheeky wee rat, we’re going home.