Monday, May 03, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Bare-Eyed Minus 4

A Day in the Life of a Bare-Eyed Minus 4 (or possibly a bit more, pending examination):

by All4Eyes

Saturday, January 5, 2008

9:45 AM:
I wake up, yawn and stretch, and squint at the little Baby Ben alarm clock on my bedside table (I already know it's utterly useless to try and make out the time on the clock on the wall opposite my bed (my room is about 12' by 12'), but just for kicks I make an attempt. Not only can I not make out that the numbers are even there, I can just barely even see that the clock is there, the pink rim is close to completely blending in with the white wall it hangs on). Seeing it isn't terribly late, knowing this is a Saturday and having spent the previous evening staying up late on the computer listening to music and reading old Specs4Ever stories, I consider going back to sleep. Then I happen to spot my glasses laying on the bedside table and I think "Why don't I make this a bare-eyed weekend?" That gets me excited, so I'm up out of bed.

10:00 AM:
I let the dog outside to go potty. It's chilly out (for me that is. Being in Florida it was in the low 40s (Fahrenheit), but that's cold enough for me!), so I open the door, open the screen door and let Teddy (my dog) run out, then close the screen door on his leash and pull the inside door close around me, leaving just enough of an opening to peek out but not enough to let the cold air in. Teddy likes this cooler weather, so as usual he takes his time sniffing and looking around and I try to watch him through the screen door, but I notice that because the screen is closer to my eyes and therefore much clearer than the world outside, I have to make a very conscious effort to force my eyes to "focus" (to the extent that they can, anyway) out into the yard instead of just staying fixated on the screen door. Our yard is basically a large green blur interrupted by the white blur which is the front walk, and the tree in our yard (having dropped its leaves for the winter) is just sort of a vague, gray vertical shadow. Looking across the street, I can still see the two houses there (kinda hard to miss, one being pink, the other being bright yellow. The house on the corner, btw, was purple until they repainted it-lime green!) and can even make out the white trim on them, which enables me to see where the doors and windows are. However, I can't see the shutters (on both houses they are painted a shade lighter than the house itself) at all and the mailboxes likewise have disappeared completely. Teddy barks at something and I try to see what it is. I can't see anything and for just a moment I panic, but then he calms down and I feel silly for it.

10:20 AM:
I decide to make some breakfast taquitos. It's easy enough finding them in the freezer (like most freezers, ours has its share of "UFOs" (Unidentified Frozen Objects), but the taquitos come in a bright orange box. Funny how aware I become of bright, striking colors when I'm bare-eyed). I put some on a plate and put it in the microwave. I punch the buttons to set the time and only after doing so do I realize that I can't actually see the numbers on the microwave buttons from the distance I am at (would have to bend down close), I have apparently learned the buttons by their positions. Going to get a glass of milk I pass by the stove and realize that I must also lean close to the stove to read its clock. I think to myself that bare-eyed cooking would probably be difficult, if not dangerous, as I certainly cannot see the dials for oven temperature and working the stovetop without bending quite close (I can just imagine leaning down and cooking my long hair in a pot of spaghetti!). If it weren't for my glasses, I'd have to learn to work the dials by touch, as blind people do. Actually, this is all theoretical, since I don't know how to cook anyway, glasses or no glasses. 

10:30 AM:
I settle down in the den to eat and watch some TV. OK, now we have a bit of a problem. I'm sitting about 4 feet away from the set (about where I usually sit. I tend to like to sit close even when I have my glasses on. Maybe an old habit from the years when I didn't have glasses, I dunno). I bring up the on-screen channel guide and believe it or not, I can actually make out what it says. Not clearly, mind you, and not without an intense degree of effort and a very strong urge to go and get my glasses. I really can only make it out sort of for a few seconds at a time, though if that makes sense. I squint and try different patterns of blinking and contorting my neck into all manner of painful positions and I can make out a few words, then I lose it and it all goes to a complete blur again. Even while I can read the text, it is not only blurred but also sort of double. I try closing each eye alternately, but I still see double with my left eye. Now with just my right eye I cannot make out the screen at all, everything is very fuzzy and it almost feels like what my right eye tends to do without glasses (I've noticed now however that it is decidedly unclear even with them. If I cover the left eye lots of little details go away and it's almost like everything sort of goes a little dark, then when I uncover it everything seems to snap into focus and get brighter. I'm fearing an increase in discrepancy between OD and OS rxs is looming *sigh*) is to pull its focus in even closer, like some sort of ocular version of giving up and curling into the fetal position. This is all quite uncomfortable and yet, when I really start thinking about it, I get really excited and can't help smiling, and something deep within me sort of melts, there's this wondrous, hot liquid feeling that just pours over and through me that is highly erotic. Finally I settle on a show to "watch" but mostly I just listen, not even really trying to see the show (maybe it just hurts too much), just pretty much staring at my plate, which isn't perfectly clear, either, but better than the TV. Definitely wanted my glasses badly and had to resist.

12:30 PM
Went to my mother's room and sat and talked with her for awhile. She didn't seem to notice that I wasn't wearing my glasses, although she had the television on in her room, also and I was (off and on) making the same awkward (and painful) attempt to watch it as I had been in the den. But then again, she's about -3 w/astigmatism and wasn't wearing her glasses, either (she's also got cataracts, but she could read some of the text on the TV I didn't even see was there).

2:45 PM
By now this hardcore specsaholic is going through some serious withdrawal (not to mention my neck and head are killing me), so I decide a long, hot shower is in order, both to give my eyes a rest since it's something I really don't need good vision for and usually go bare-eyed for anyway, and because I'm hoping the hot water will soothe my neck a bit. The hot water does feel nice on this cold day, though I'm dreading the chill when I get out. As I stand (or rather, kneel, since I can't actually stand on my own 2 feet, literally, due to my C.P., though I tend to refer to kneeling and knee-walking as "standing" and "walking") there with the hot water pouring over me, surrounded by steam and fragrant soap and fuzzy shampoo bottles in a stall made of what I know are individual tiles, but which looks to me now like just a blurry white box, and with the strain and pain largely gone, the excited/melty feelings build up to full force. Without going into too much detail, let me just say my shower was long because I took a little more time washing certain parts than was perhaps strictly necessary, and it was hot in more ways than one. Anyway, after that I was in a decidedly good mood, as one might imagine, and really didn't mind the brief blast of cold air as I exited the shower, dried off, dusted on some perfumed powder and got dressed.

4:00 PM
OK, now what do I do? I still have several bare-eyed hours to get through before bedtime. I give a quick, squinty glance towards my bedside table, where my specs still forlornly lie. I think about how good it would feel to pick them up and put them on, feeling their cold weight pressing against my face as the world snaps into brilliant, beautiful clarity. Oooooo, I am tempted! But, I promised myself I'd AT LEAST make it through this day, if not the whole weekend. I figure since I'm nearsighted, reading might be a nice, comfy thing to do. Well, that's what I figured, anyway. I was lucky enough to find both "Arthur and George" and "The Chosen" at my local library (thank you, Thomas and Emily, for the recommendations on the Literary References thread). I tried "A and G' first, but soon found that "The Chosen", being a smaller, lighter book, was best, considering that I had 4 options for reading the book, none of which was wholly satisfactory:

1) Put the book down on my lap (with the book in this position and my head and eyes in the normal position for reading this way, the pages looked blank, I couldn't even make out fuzzy gray smears, so to read with the book in my lap required bending my head down over it and squinting, which made me hurt pretty much from my lower back up
2) Hold the book up close to my face, which tired my arms, and I still had a tendency to twist my neck and squint, anyway
3) Put the book down on a table, but even with a good, high table that brought the book pretty close to my eyes, I still found myself bending down over the table, thus causing the same pain as the first 2 methods and
4) Lay down on my stomach with the book spread on the floor. This was the best option, neck- and eye-wise, but it made my elbows sore from rubbing against the carpet. I suppose I could have gotten into bed and been more comfortable that way, but by then it was suppertime.

6:30 PM 
Supper with Mom, grilled cheese and soup. Looking into my soup bowl, I see a very strange and frankly somewhat unappetizing-looking mish-mash of browns, reds and greens. Once I taste it of course, I realize it is ground beef chunks, tomato bits and green beans, but I'm reminded of the comment someone made on Eyescene about how without glasses, all food looks like Chinese food. I don't make as much of an attempt at watching the TV as before, I just listen, and apparently miss a couple jokes (the laugh track is going and I don't have a clue what the "audience" thinks is so funny) because of this.

9:00 PM
In my bathroom, brushing and flossing, and washing my face. I normally clean my glasses at the same time while I'm doing all this, and I decide to go on and get them and clean them now, so they'll be all nice and clean when I put them back on tomorrow morning (yes, I have figured out that realistically I probably won't be able to make it all weekend. Wish I had some place I could lock them away from myself and be forced to, like someone on the old ES polls did leaving hers at work over the weekend). Next I brush my hair, which I usually do bare-eyed (it takes awhile just to get all the knots out, since my hair is pretty long), only putting them on to look as I'm finishing up to be sure it looks OK and I'm reminded of a day when I had a friend over and he was watching as I brushed my hair (sans specs). "Wow, you're blind without your glasses, aren't you?" he asked, almost in a whisper, sounding strangely awe-struck and I said "Yes (of course, I'm not really, but I decided to humor him), how did you know?" and he said "Because you're doing this" and I looked at him, couldn't see what he was doing at first, then gave a hard squint and realized he was squinting at me! Now I realize he could have been an OO and I probably should have offered to let him try my glasses on. I'm trying to be more vigilant now for opportunities to let others try my glasses (and vice versa!).

10:45 PM 
I turn on my computer and start rereading some of the old posts about going bare-eyed. I'm squinting like crazy and have to bump the font size
up to 12 to really be able to see it and 14 to be anywhere close to comfortable and all the way up to 18 to make it out without squinting at all. And I still make tons of typos (what you're reading now has been edited with glasses on). Neck and back are starting to hurt again from bending over the blurry keyboard. Since my uncorrected acuity is worse than 20/200, I am "legally blind without glasses", as my mother is fond of reminding me and which seems to be a big deal to her. But I wonder if this is really what it's like to be truly legally blind? Somehow I doubt it, because although there has been some definite discomfort, in practical terms I've been able to do just about everything. If my vision was uncorrectable like this, yes, I would be classified as legally blind due to my poor distance vision, but practically speaking I'd hardly consider myself "blind". I would still be able to get around without bumping into anything (no white cane or guide dog required), although I'd have a problem if I was in a strange place and had to find my way around by following signs, and of course, I couldn't drive. If I were in school, I might need some help, not being able to see the board or overhead, but I wouldn't need to have printed materials transcribed into Braille or even large print (the latter would be appreciated for comfort reasons, but not necessary). If I was in a situation like I am now where using computers is a big part of my day, that might get tricky. I'd definitely have to use a larger font size and I'd probably have to stop and rest my eyes a lot, but I could manage. 
12:04 AM
Having said all that, I must also admit that after 14 hours and 9 minutes (the last hour and 9 minutes of that on the computer) without correction, my eyes are definitely angry with me. I think they (quite apart from the rest of me) are even beginning to fantasize about looking through some nice, strong -10 lenses. I figure since it's after midnight, it's technically Sunday, therefore I've technically made it a whole day without glasses, therefore it is Ok if I put them on again. I pick them up, careful not to smudge the fresh, clean lenses, slide them up my nose...Ahhhhhhhh! YES!!!! I cannot tell you how good it feels to put your glasses on after 14 hours and 9 minutes without them! The feeling of them sitting on my face again, the way my eyes feel looking through them again, not to mention how wonderfully clear everything seems. And for a few moments everything really does seem breath-takingly sharp, even though I had previously been noticing the famous beginnings of blur in the distance that signals the need for a new rx. And, soon enough I do begin to notice it again, but I look forward to recapturing that feeling of amazing clarity when I do get new glasses. It truly is one of the greatest feelings of joy I've ever known and I feel very sorry for everyone who isn't myopic. I really feel that this is one of many special gifts (alo
ng with the joy of the blur and the gorgeous glasses we get to wear) given to us lucky myopes. 

The end


  1. Anonymous6:09 am

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  3. Anonymous1:32 am

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  4. Anonymous9:50 am

    I know exactly what your talking about at the end of the story when you talk about the feeling of amazing clarity we who are myopic experience when putting on new glasses for the first time. My vision has been stable for some time now and each trip to the eye doctor I hope to be told my prescription has changed, but for several years all I hear is "no change." I truly miss the feeling. In the past each change would be kinda like the first time I got glasses and bring back a flood of memories of what that amazing day was like! I too have told friends I feel lucky to be nearsighted and that It's to bad they can't experienced what we who are nearsighted have when putting on a pair of glasses for the first time and go from a fuzzy blur to having everything snap into instant focus.